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Fuel Contaminants

Fuel Contaminant

Particle Technology offer a full range of fuel contamination testing materials, these products are used to test the reliability of components within critical fuel and hydraulic oil systems in the aerospace and automotive sectors. Test contaminants are a mixture of the typical debris that is found within a fuel system, from iron oxide (rust) to carbon fibre rods, graphite epoxy composite and fire suppressant foam.

Fuel Contaminant Image
All fuel contaminants are supplied with a certificate of conformance. Each of the components can be supplied individually or we can supply the contaminants at the correct weight and mixed in the correct proportions for your applications, ensuring that all of the contaminant is present in the correct quantity for your test.

The list below summarises the most common fuel contaminants that we produce, however other contaminants can be made on request to suit your particular application. For example metallic contamination supplied to ISO 16232 size classifications.

Contaminants (view range)


  • SAE AIR 4246 A.1 – Arizona Contaminant

    Very common test dust used across many industries for filter testing. This contaminant is a good approximation for general environmental dust found across the world. Measured using Coulter Counter, as specified in ISO 12130-1 A2 & A4.

  • SAE AIR 4246 A.2 – Iron Oxide Fractions

    Iron oxide (Magnetite and Hematite) constitute the largest fraction of most fuel contaminant mixtures. The iron oxide powders are supplied in different size ranges but are all less than 20 µm.

  • SAE AIR 4246 A.3 – Cotton Linters

    Milled cotton linters represent fibres that are typically found in fuel systems. Fibres present a unique challenge for many components, clogging filters or wrapping around moving parts. The cotton linters are processed at particle technology and verified using optical microscopy to ensure a consistent product.

  • SAE AIR 4246 A.4 & A.5 – Crushed Quartz

    Crushed quartz is used to simulate coarse components in fuel contaminant (A.4) and also as a test contaminant simulating sand ingestion, typically into jet engines (A.5). All quartz fractions are manufactured from high quality raw material and each fraction is then verified.

  • SAE AIR 4246 A.6 & A.7 – Iron & Aluminum chips/filings

    Iron and aluminum chips simulate the metal contamination that can come from within the fuel system. The material is manufactured to ensure that the size and shape of the particles are representative of particles found in real world applications. Particle sizes are verified using sieve fractions, it should be noted that due to the shape of metal filings, particles with the longest dimension greater than that specified can be retained on a sieve/mesh.

  • SAE AIR 4246 A.8 – Carbon Fibre Rods

    More recently carbon fibre has been used to in the production of aircraft, this necessitated the inclusion of the carbon fibre rods as a fuel contaminant. Particle Technology use a bespoke process to create the carbon fibre in the size ranges specified. Determining the particle size of a fibre is very difficult, Particle Technology use image analysis to measure the length and width of the fibres.

  • SAE AIR 4246 A.9 – Graphite Epoxy Composite (GEC)

    In addition to carbon fiber rods, the latest revisions of fuel contaminant specifications have also included Graphite Epoxy Composite. This contaminant is different to carbon fibre rods, it is made from cutting and milling sheets of GEC and then classifying them into the correct size ranges. GEC contains carbon fibre but also materials such as the glues that are used in making the composite material.

  • SAE AIR 4246 A.10 – Explosion Suppressant Foam (ESF)

    Electrically Conductive Explosion Suppressant Foam (ESF) is used in fuel tanks where the possibility of fuel tank explosion exists, this foam can break down and become entrained in the fuel supply. Particle Technology cut and chop the foam before classifying it so that all of the particles are distributed between 1 – 100 µm.