The storage and transportation of cryogenic fluids (temperatures below -150 oC) is important in a range of industries. In addition to the low temperatures of the fluids, transport vessels may be expected to withstand high external temperatures. One example is in the aerospace industry, where high temperatures typically arise due to the air resistance experienced as the vessel travels at high speed through the atmosphere. In general, the most costly part of a cryogenic tank is a metal inner liner. Adding to this, metal layers are easily damaged by impact and add considerable weight to the vessel.
What it does
We have devised a cryogenic tank that removes the need for such a metal lining without reducing the strength or impermeability of the vessel. As an added bonus, the vessel is manufactured in a simple 2-step process with standard fibre-composite manufacturing techniques.
How it works
The vessel itself is composed of an inner and an outer layer. The inner layer is formed first, by infusing a fibre pre-formed structure with resin. The outer layer is formed by encapsulating the inner layer with further wound fibres and resin. The materials used for the inner and outer layers are different, with the inner layer materials designed specifically to withstand mechanical strain at cryogenic temperatures. The outer layer materials, conversely, are designed to withstand harsh external conditions, including impacts and high temperatures.
Fig. 1: The envisaged shape of the cryogenic vessel (left) and the 2-layer construction of the vessel formed of an inner and outer layer in intimate contact (right).