Innovators at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed several new designs and methods of fabrication for composite and composite-overwrapped tank vessels. These exciting new designs significantly improve a tank’s structural integrity against impact, abrasion, harsh environments and fire.
NASA’s technology transfer program is offering this intellectual property as a technology commercialization opportunity.
The technology portfolio includes several designs for composite tanks capable of transporting liquefied natural gas or other cryogenic liquids. Important for aerospace needs, the new designs can also be used in established commercial applications, including propulsion systems, as well as in new and growing fields, such as natural gas transportation.
NASA’s innovations offer advantages over many currently available composite vessels, which are easy to damage by impact and do not perform well in high-temperature or cryogenic conditions. In fact, many of these standard vessels cannot meet stringent auto industry standards for natural gas and hydrogen containment.
NASA’s innovations offer more robust solutions, using a unique combination of fibers and resin systems that result in superior resistance to impact damage and extreme environments while remaining lightweight and cost effective.
These new designs enable production of composite vessels that can be used in many commercial applications, including:
- Pressure-fed propulsion systems
- Natural gas and other fuel transportation
- Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) tanks for emergency responders
- Storage tanks for fuels, gases and cryogenic fluids
–By Karen Hiser