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Super Lightweight Metal-Composite High-Pressure Vessels

#3964


Investigation and Development of the Technological Scheme of Manufacturing Super-Light Metal-Composite High-Pressure Vessels

Tech Area / Field

  • MAT-COM/Composites/Materials
  • MAN-MAT/Engineering Materials/Manufacturing Technology
  • NNE-FUE/Fuels/Non-Nuclear Energy
  • NNE-OTH/Other/Non-Nuclear Energy

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
13.04.2009

Leading Institute
MISIS (Steel and Alloys), Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • State Enterprise Krasnaya Zvezda, Russia, Moscow

Collaborators

  • Midland Metals International Inc., Canada, ON, Toronto

Project summary

High-pressure vessels can be used in motor vehicles operated on compressed natural gas, e.g., methane; in mobile gas-filling vehicles; in local-action fire-fighting systems; in household appliances and agricultural equipment; as well as for transportation of gas compressed up to 32 MPa (320 atm) in tankers of various capacities.

This project proposes a more advanced technological scheme for production of high-pressure tanks, which consists in the use of a comparatively new metal-forming method – running punching, i.e., deformation of metals with the displacement of the local deformation zone. This makes it possible to increase their quality and reliability by improving the geometrical characteristics of tanks (decreasing their out-of-roundness, ellipticity and wall-thickness variation), to provide for the absence of anisotropy of the metal properties (lengthwise and crosswise), to reduce the required forces many times and to cold deform even high-strength metals and alloys with the degree of strain of up to 60%, simultaneously increasing significantly (15–30%) the strength properties of metal. Therefore, at the same pressure of gas it could be possible to reduce significantly the tank’s wall thickness, i.e., its weight, or at the same wall thickness to increase the pressure in the tank, i.e., to increase the amount of pumped-in gas. It is important to note that deformation with the variable deformation zone increases the plastic properties of metal simultaneously with the increase of its strength properties, which is impossible to achieve using the traditional metal-forming methods. This enhances the safe operation of tanks owing to their shatterproof breakdown. Besides, we propose to use basalt roving as the load-bearing winding, which is not done in the West. Use of cheaper basalt fibres instead of glass-fibre roving will not only decrease the cost, but will also increase service life and decrease the water-absorbing quality both in the fabrication of tanks and in their operation.

The proposed technological scheme for production of tanks also provides for such additional advantages as low weight, corrosion resistance, use at low temperatures, safety, reliability and comparatively low cost of fabrication (225–275 roubles per litre of volume depending on gas working pressure (19.6, 24.5 and 31.4 MPa).

Successful realization of this project is based on involving highly qualified specialists, doctors of science and PhDs, as well as on the use of high-power unique metal-forming equipment for running punching, which is not available in the West. In particular, there are two high-speed hydraulic presses of 10 MN force with the stroke of up to 2500 mm, which were fabricated by the technical specifications developed by the performers of the project.

The aim of this project is the development of a technological scheme for production of high-pressure (19.6–31.4 MPa) vessels with aluminum liners of 50 up to 560 litres in capacity. Herewith, we will achieve a high geometrical accuracy of tanks, increase the strength and ductile properties of metal, reduce the consumption of metal and production costs.

Uniqueness of the offer. The proposed method of fabricating tanks by metal forming with the displaceable deformation zone has not been used in world practice. Besides, a novel aspect is the use of basalt fibres as the roving, which will increase service life and reliability of these tanks.

Materials used. The method can be used for various metals and alloys. In the project, studies will be conducted on aluminium and aluminium alloys. Of interest is the use of this method for production of tanks from hard-to-form and low-ductility metals and alloys.

Description of the proposed method. The method includes the following main operations:

  • incoming inspection of pipes;
  • control of the mechanical properties;
  • cutting pipes to length;
  • grinding (if required) the inner surface of workpieces;
  • calibration pipes by running punching;
  • wrapping the necks on specialized machines;
  • mechanical treatment of liners’ necks;
  • grinding the liner’s surface;
  • control of liners’ geometry;
  • tests of liners;
  • winding the roving on the liner on special winding machines;
  • drying and polymerization of the tank;
  • acceptance tests of tanks by test hydraulic pressure on special stands, periodic and qualification tests;
  • fabrication of cases;
  • fabrication of the binding;
  • assembly of cases, tests by working pressure of air;
  • sealing into the container and transportation to the finished products storage.

From the commercial point of view, the proposed method will make it possible to reduce consumption of metal by 10–15% and production costs by 10–20%. An approximate calculated price of a tank depending on its volume will make from 6 to 9 USD per litre of volume.

During implementation of the project, following basic tasks will be decided:

  1. Comparative analysis of the quality of supplied aluminum pipes.
  2. Study of the materials of load-bearing composite shell of the vessels3. Comparison of the methods of cold calibration (with the variable [moving] deformation zone) of initial pipe workpieces.
  3. Choice of the ways of forming the liners’ caps and necks.
  4. Assessment of the performability of specialized equipment.
  5. Development of the technological scheme for fabrication of lines by running punching.
  6. Determination of the rational parameters of liners’ heat treatment.
  7. Analysis of the techniques of winding the load-bearing winding for high-pressure vessels.
  8. Assessment of the performability of aluminum liners without winding and as a component of the tank.
  9. Fabrication of a pilot batch of high-pressure composite vessels and study of their properties.

Expected results:
  1. The method of calibration (deformation) of pipe workpieces by running punching
  2. Significant improvement of the geometrical characteristics (reduce ovality, ellipticity, wall-thickness variation)
  3. Increase of mechanical properties, enhance of residual plasticity, absence of the anisotropy of the metal properties (longitudinal and transverse)
  4. Development of new technological schemes for manufacturing metal composite vessels with aluminum liners up to 560 litres in capacity and a working pressure of 19.6, 24.4 and 32.4 MPa, intended for rescue workers, local fire-fighting systems and motor transport.
  5. Development of compressed gas units with metal composite balloons 120–185 litres in capacity and a working pressure of 24.5–31.4 MPa, intended for gas tank refuelling trucks with the volume of transported compressed natural gas 2500–4500 m3.


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