Project Description

Cryogenic Hypersonic Advanced Tank Technologies

In future aviation and particularly in hypersonic systems (vehicles under study are LAPCAT, FAST20XX and the SpaceLiner), new propellants will be used such as liquid hydrogen, liquid methane and possibly liquid oxygen. Some studies in Europe are investigating advanced vehicles with these fuels for passenger transport. Currently the question of cryogenic propellant storage inside an airliner has not been addressed in comparable detail.

The Cryogenic Hypersonic Advanced Tank Technologies (CHATT) project is part of the European Commission’s FP7 and one of its core objectives is to investigate Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) cryogenic pressure tanks. Four different subscale CFRP-tanks are planned to be designed, manufactured and tested.

ALE’s key role in the CHATT project is to design one of the four tanks. The knowledge and expertise on dry filament winding is used to manufacture a carbon fiber tank with a polymer liner. The challenge in the design process is to meet the requirements on propellant permeation, thermo-mechanical loads and chemical loads. An extensive literature study was performed by ALE in order to trade off the possibilities concerning material selection, tank concepts and development, insulation and analysis tools. Another challenging aspect is designing sealing that can withstand cryogenic conditions (-196 °C).

The in-house software PresVes is used to create the winding pattern for the filament winding machine at ALE. Strength and stiffness analyses are performed with Finite Element software Abaqus. The final burst tests at room temperature are also performed in-house.