FCT Water Detection
Use with you fuel fill station, the capsule with turn blue when water is detected
For: Jet A1, Kero, and diesel fuels only!
FCT have earned a well-deserved reputation for clever products of the very highest quality, with their UAT’s (Ultimate Air Trap’s) being used in large numbers of jets all around the world, including several owned by this writer.At the recent Jet Power show, the owner of FCT, Saleem Siddique, presented one of his latest developments, a water detector for use with jet fuels. As is well known, the fuels we use for our jet models can at times contain water, as Kerosene, the main constituent, is hygroscopic, thus able to absorb water from the atmosphere, condensation etc. Any water in our fuel is of course not going to help reliable operation of our miniature jet engines, and in fact jet fuel can contain water in three forms, dissolved water, water suspended in the fuel as an emulsion, and free water. As water is heavier than Kerosene or Diesel fuels, any free water will settle to the bottom of a fuel container, so could in theory be separated, but at the same time, being at the bottom of the container means that it will be the first liquid pumped from the container into the model’s fuel tanks, potentially leading to a turbine flame-out as it reaches the engine. At the same time having dissolved or suspended water in fuel will affect both reliable running and potentially encourage corrosion over a longer period of time, neither of these outcomes being good news for our miniature turbines.Presented in the new and very nice FCT packaging, the new water detector is of similar appearance to the larger UAT units, but is significantly smaller, and has a single fuel connection at either end, whilst the vitally important detection capsule is fitted into a small clamp which is at the end of a short shaft, which is itself part of a removable threaded insert in one end of the unit. A further 6 spare water detection capsules are supplied together with the unit, whilst in the unlikely event that more are required, these can be obtained from FCT.Beautifully produced, with superb machining and with an extremely professional appearance, this new unit lives up to the very high standards set by FCT. It is designed to be left fitted to the fuel container/fuelling station, the water detector being installed inline from the fuel pick-up, so that all the fuel being pumped into the model passes through the unit, ensuring that any water present will be detected. In the event that there is water in the fuel, the detection capsule will change colour from yellow to green to blue, in which case the fuel should either be discarded or carefully filtered to remove the water.The detection capsules are very sensitive to the presence of water, with as little as 15 parts per million being enough to turn the centre of the capsule yellow/green, with 30ppm being enough to turn it fully green. At higher concentrations of water, the capsule colour changes again, turning blue, which becomes darker the more water is present.To carry out a thorough test the unit was mounted onto my Jet Cat Fuel station – usefully it fitted neatly onto one side using a couple of the existing threaded inserts in the side of the Fuel station, with just a small amount of filling having to be done to extend the slots in the water detector mount. As a first test, I ran pre-mixed fuel through the water detector to check that this fuel was dry (without water), which I was pleased, but not surprised, to find was the case. I then decanted 500cc of fuel and used a syringe to add small amounts of water to this fuel, before pumping it through the Fuel station. Starting with a mere 1cc of water, this was mixed thoroughly into the fuel, and once pumped through the water detector the capsule colour was seen to have changed colour, appearing yellow/green, confirming the presence of water in the fuel. Adding further water resulted in the capsule colour continuing to change through green until at around 4cc of added water the capsule was turning a strong blue colour. By the time 5cc of added water was present the capsule was fully dark blue, the difference in colour being very obvious.Of course, this is a very crude test, and only tests for the presence of free water in the fuel, but it does prove that the detector works effectively, and gives me confidence that all the fuel I use in my models is free of water, eliminating any potential problems. After all, how many of us have had unexplained flameouts, which could possibly have been caused by water in our fuel? Use of this new, simple but clever unit removes one more variable that can affect reliable operation of our model turbines, and this has to be a good thing!