How Are Bonding Jumpers Used on Aircraft?

Modern aircraft feature an immensely complex electrical system that supports vital avionic equipment and in-flight entertainment systems. With a combination of both AC and DC buses, as well as an intricate network of monitoring devices, nearly every region of the aircraft is integrated with electrical wiring or other similar components. However, despite the robustness of these systems, there are many parts of the airplane that are not meant to encounter electrical currents and must be protected. In this blog, we will discuss bonding jumpers, those of which are used throughout an aircraft to preserve non-electrical surfaces, and to provide a means of grounding.

The electrical system of a commercial jet generally consists of an alternator, battery, bus bar, voltage regulator, and a series of bonding jumpers. The alternators are engine-powered devices that provide a bulk of the electricity during in-flight operations. Additionally, batteries are used to provide power for engine starts and may be used as a backup power source in the rare event of alternator failure. Additionally, if the engine is running with low RPMs, it is common for the alternator to not produce sufficient power to support operations, necessitating battery usage. In order to connect the electricity-demanding components to the primary electrical system, a bus bar is installed to ensure simple wiring and reliable operation. Finally, voltage regulators are implemented throughout the electrical system to prevent the battery from being depleted and protect components against overvoltage.

Bonding jumpers are bi-polar conductive components used to create a safe pathway for electricity and to prevent non-powered regions of the aircraft from receiving damaging current. These elements are designed to have very low impedance to promote current traveling down a path of least resistance. In a non-aviation electrical system, such as those found in a residential or commercial building, grounding is facilitated by a series of cables that connect to the ground. Of course, such a configuration is impossible in an aircraft, so other means are required. It is necessary to ground an electrical system because, as electricity naturally flows from one device to another, it may cause a spark or fire. Additional risks are posed to maintenance crews servicing the aircraft, with improper grounding increasing the chance of a potentially fatal shock.

Bonding jumpers are installed on the aircraft in locations that frequently produce stray electrical charges, such as hinges and bearings. Since these components regularly experience friction as part of routine operations, they are prone to creating static electricity, which may produce a spark if untreated. With grounding jumpers applied, excess static electricity has a route by which it may travel. 

Since aircraft components face additional environmental challenges, such as corrosion and fluctuating temperatures, aviation bonding jumpers must be explicitly designed to resist these elements. As such, the bonding jumpers used on aircraft are frequently made from an aluminum alloy since it is naturally corrosion-resistant, reliable, and durable. However, if two unlike metals are bound together using a jumper, an additional fastener is also applied to prevent corrosion that may occur between the terminal and jumper.

If you are looking for a great deal on quality bonding jumper components, or any other aviation equipment, look no further than NSN Purchasing. We are an AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accredited distributor dedicated to providing customers with the best purchasing experience and products possible. Additionally, we are the only independent distributor to maintain a strict NO CHINA Sourcing policy, ensuring every order is fully traceable or comes directly from a leading manufacturer we work with. Contact our team at any time if you have questions, or begin the purchasing process immediately by submitting an RFQ form found throughout our website.

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