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Civil-Comp Proceedings
ISSN 1759-3433
CCP: 77
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping
Paper 97

Optimisation of Fibre Arrangement of Filament Wound Liquid Oxygen Composite Tanks

R. Barboni+, G. Tomassetti* and M. de Benedetti+

+Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Rome "La Sapienza", Rome, Italy
*Italian Aerospace Research Centre, Capua, Caserta, Italy

Full Bibliographic Reference for this paper
R. Barboni, G. Tomassetti, M. de Benedetti, "Optimisation of Fibre Arrangement of Filament Wound Liquid Oxygen Composite Tanks", in B.H.V. Topping, (Editor), "Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Civil and Structural Engineering Computing", Civil-Comp Press, Stirlingshire, UK, Paper 97, 2003. doi:10.4203/ccp.77.97
Keywords: fibre arrangement, cryogenic tank, optimisation, composite tank, reusable launch vehicle.

Liquid Oxygen (LOX) tanks represent an important percentage of net weight and cost of any Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV). Moreover they play structural and thermal and propulsive roles at the same time.

The transition from metal to composite is then considered an obliged choice. In this study, a FEM-based non-linear programming procedure has been developed in order to both increase payload (by decreasing tank mass) and improve aerodynamic and controllability (by increasing global flexural stiffness).

Reusable Launch Vehicles are considered a necessary development to decrease costs for access to space. A large number of different propulsive outlines have been proposed recently. However they all are based on liquid hydrocarbon or hydrogen and oxygen at cryogenic temperature. LOX cryogenic tanks represent the fundamental structural component of the entire vehicle: this means that they constitute a relevant percentage of dry mass and cost of a RLV. LOX composite tanks will operate at cryogenic temperature (<-183oC). This leads to important interactions between the structural and the thermal problem. Compatibility between composite and LOX is thought to be guaranteed by elastomeric liners.

In this study the problem of designing a CFRP filament wound cylindrical tank with minimum mass and maximum stiffness has been solved. Mass has to be reduced in order to increase payload. Global flexural stiffness has been considered to be a critical aspect of the cohesion between the tank and the rest of the vehicle. This parameter has been measured in this study as lateral displacement of a node of control caused by lateral load. Great attention must be paid to interlaminar stresses that can induce delamination phenomena.

V. Peypoudat, "Cryogenic Composite Tanks Key Technology for Reusable Launch Vehicle", Eads launch vehicles, Saint Medard-en-Jalles, 1999.
H. Kevin Rivers, "Cyclic Cryogenic Thermal-Mechanical Testing of an X- 33/RLV Liquid Oxygen Tank Concept", Nasa Langley Research Centre, 1999.
J.T. Dorsey, D.E. Myers, C.J. Martin, "Reusable launch Vehicle Tank/Intertank Sizing Trade Study", Nasa Langley Research Centre, 38th Aerospace Sciences Meeting & Exhibit, 2000

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