Pressure Vessel Dome reinforcement

Learn more about our demonstrator!

This part is a process mock-up demonstrator showcasing the use of Fiber Patch Placement (FPP) technology on pressure vessel dome reinforcements. In this case study, a generic pressure vessel geometry was used. The generated dome reinforcement replaces multiple helical layers of the winding layup resulting in reduced overall material consumption and weight of the vessel. The material used in this application was wide towpreg tape using T700 carbon fibers. In real application, the dome reinforcement remains uncured and the reinforced liner moves to the next process step where it gets overwrapped with the winding technology of choice (wet winding or towpreg winding). For demonstrating purposes, this exhibited part was cured without an additional overwrap.

Process: How was this part produced?

This simplified mock-up demonstrator was manufactured using our SAMBA Pro lab system with 10 robotic axes, following the FPP process:

  • Provide the carbon fiber material (38mm wide towpreg tape)
  • Automatically cut 180mm long patches, in this case with a laser (ultrasonic cutting options also exist)
  • Inspect each patch twice by vision cameras for quality control (shape, size, alignment)
  • Place the cut patch directly onto the liner using the form-flexible Cevotec patch gripper

During manufacturing, the dome reinforcement was laid-up directly on the dome-shaped tooling, according to the designated orientations, defined during virtual product development with Cevotec’s software ARTIST STUDIO. During the automated lay-up, no intermediate compaction or debulking step were necessary.

Finally, the reinforcement was bagged and cured for exhibition purposes only. When dome reinforcements are used on real composite pressure vessels, the curing step is omitted and the dome reinforced liner moves to the next process step of composite overwinding.

Results: What is special about it?

This demonstrator showcases the unique strengths of Fiber Patch Placement technology:

  • Layup directly on the liner (metallic or polymer) without the need for a separate mandrel and additional process steps
  • Dome reinforcement orientations are no longer limited only to geodesic paths (winding process limitation). FPP is not restricted by friction/slippage so any orientation strategy of the local dome reinforcement can be realized.
  • Within the ARTIST STUDIO design suite and its dedicated pressure vessel features, the laminate designer has full flexibility in defining the desired laminate architecture

The benefits featured on the final vessel are:

  • Weight reduction, by removing underutilized winding material from the cylindrical region
  • Reduced cost, by using less carbon fiber material on the part
  • Improved overall storage efficiency.

Relevance: Which components are featuring similar challenges?

This mock-up dome reinforcement demonstrator is a representative geometry of a Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel (COPV). COPVs vary in diameters, length and operating pressures. Any pressure vessel can receive this dedicated dome reinforcement. However, the cost effectiveness depends on the aspect ration L/D (length over diameter). The higher this ratio the larger the economic benefits are.

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