New type of pressure tanks made from carbon fiber reinforced plastics for fire extinguishing systems in aviation
From 2018 on, the extinguishing agent used for many years in cargo compartments of aircrafts will be prohibited for newly-registered aircraft due to the environmental risk. Nitrogen is to be used in conjunction with water mist as an alternative. Lightweight pressure tanks are therefore needed to store the nitrogen.
As part of the MAI Tank research project, innovative pressure tanks made from carbon fiber reinforced plastics are now to be developed and studied. The focus is on the efficient production process with fiber-thermoplastic composites. Compared to pressure tanks previously available on the market, the production process can be made more efficient and the application range can be increased due to the modular construction of the container. Another advantage of the new manufacturing process is that the required sealing layer can be now connected to the cylinder tube laminate in a single step.
Figure: Modular structure of the new tank construction
In order to carry out the tasks efficiently and purposefully, three competent partners from research and industry have come together in this joint project. Based on pre-established targets, the pressure vessel is dimensioned on calculations by the company Voith. The new manufacturing process and a suitable joining technology will be developed and tested in the laboratory at TU München. Following this, Voith will establish the necessary plant systems and produce the demonstrator. This demonstrator will be tested extensively by the equipment manufacturer Gauting.
If the project succeeds in developing a pressure vessel which can be produced cost-effectively on a large scale, it could have a wide spectrum of applications, not only in fire-extinguishing systems. In future, these pressure tanks could be used as energy stores, gas tanks, piston accumulators, and hydraulic cylinders.