With lavatories, kitchenettes, and various other fluid systems now being very common on countless aircraft models, there is an ever-increasing need to manage fluids while up in the air. Once fluids are used by any means, they need to be drained out of the system in which they are present, and this is done with the use of a drain valve. From the removal of oil from an aircraft to the draining of lavatory water, drain valves ensure an easy and clean solution for all fluid removal from systems. In this blog, we will discuss how drain valves work and their overall purpose in varying applications, allowing you to better understand their importance.
In order for any fluid to be drained from any aircraft system, the respective drain valve will need to be opened. While some aerospace drain valve installations require a tool such as a screwdriver for manual opening and closing, others will not. For some drain valves, simply pushing on the assembly or twisting it will cause it to open, allowing for fluids to drain out as needed. When manual intervention is not required, an automatic drain valve may be relied on. These are highly beneficial when fluid needs to regularly be drained during flight.
While an automatic drain valve may seem like the best choice, it depends on the application in question. For example, the purpose of an oil drain valve is for the means of changing oil when it begins to age or become contaminated, so these valves will only be opened on occasion. In these instances, a maintenance worker will manually open the oil drain valve, allowing for the old oil to escape the system with the help of gravity before new oil is added.
Aside from how the valve is operated, there are also other various considerations that one should make before committing to a particular purchasing decision. For example, aerospace drain valves may come in a number of materials, and it is crucial that the right material is used for the fluid in question. For example, if a fluid poses the risk of corrosion, then a valve material such as brass may be an optimal choice for its high corrosion resistance and durable construction. Meanwhile, other materials that are lighter in weight may be more sufficient if corrosion is not a concern.
Furthermore, aviation applications often call for standardized components for FAA compliance, and so one may be restricted to approved options. There are many manufacturers who specialize in FAA-approved drain valves, and purchasing such options can guarantee high performance and reliability. As a last consideration that one should make, drain valves will often vary in the size of their threaded, and some may even be devoid of such features. To guarantee an optimal fit, one should determine what type of threading will match their assembly.
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