EU Project Researches Lighter Hydrogen Tanks
The Fibremod project has seen the development of a model that can simulate the ageing of carbon fibre-reinforced hydrogen tanks. It is hoped the results will help produce lighter and cheaper tanks.
The hydrogen tanks used in fuel cell vehicles are made of fibre-reinforced composite materials and in many cases are currently oversized in order to fulfil safety regulations. As part of the EU project Fibremod (Fibre Break Models for Designing novel composite microstructures and applications), twelve partners from industry and science have developed a simulation tool to optimise the design of composite cylinders for hydrogen cars. The model can simulate the behaviour of a material based on individual fibre breaks, which allows predictions to be made as to how strong the containers will be.
This means the simulation can reduce the wall thickness of the pressurised containers to a safe minimum. This helps to save weight and cost. "This model allows us to provide manufactures and those setting regulations with detailed information and advice that will improve the design of lightweight compressed gas containers," says Georg W. Mair, Project Manager at the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung. The simulation tool is validated using empirical data from the BAM, which are based on analyses of the bursting strength of pressurised containers made of composite materials and on non-destructive testing methods for detecting the smallest of breaks.