What is fire sleeve? Why should I use it? When do I need it?
BY CAROL CARPENTER & BRIAN CARPENTER
WHAT IS FIRE SLEEVE? Fire sleeve is a thickly woven tube of fiberglass
covered with a high-temperature iron oxide–silicone rubber compound,
manufactured under di;erent brand names. Aviation fire sleeve is typically
thicker, with denser inner glass fiber than industrial grade, and it o;ers
higher insulation values, increased strength, and enhanced abrasion resistance. It is able to withstand continuous exposure of temperatures to 500°F
(260°C), up to 2,000°F ( 1,090°C) for 15-20 minutes, and up to 3,000°F
( 1,650°C) for 15-30 seconds.
WHY USE IT? ;e most obvious reason to use fire sleeve is for fire protection,
but many builders elect not to use it. For example, it would be uncommon to
see it used on an ultralight with a two-stroke engine operating in the open
air. Most ultralights don’t use fuel lines that are capable of withstanding any
heat. Nor do they need to. ;e potential for a fire is relatively remote. For
cost, simplicity, and weight, designers may elect to use simple polyurethane
fuel line or automotive fuel line. A two-stroke engine will usually quit after a
failure, long before the potential for a fire (in this case the engine quitting
may be a good thing).
FIRE SLEEVIN’ The correct way to make sure your fire sleeve is wrapped and secured correctly.
Applying heat wrap tape
High-temperature fire sleeve wrapping is a simple, clean way to terminate the ends of the fire
sleeve, especially when the ends of the hoses are
not uniform or when there is an unusual clamping method.
Band clamp ready for installation
The band clamp is the most popular method of
securing fire sleeve. As the nut is turned, it simply
rolls up the end of the band material and cinches
down around the end of the fire sleeve, making
a fireproof seal.
Oil-soaked fire sleeve
Improper securing of the ends of fire sleeve
can result in oil and fuel contamination.
Do not install or reinstall any fire sleeve that
is fuel- or oil-soaked.
When using safety wire we recommend using
0.041-inch stainless steel safety wire with at least
two wraps around the ends. *Note in this
demonstration the end remains exposed. In real
usage it would be fully covered.