NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Use of Raman Spectroscopy and Delta Volume Growth from Void Collapse to Assess Overwrap Stress Gradients Compromising the Reliability of Large Kevlar/Epoxy COPVsComposite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels (COPVs) are frequently used for storing pressurized gases aboard spacecraft and aircraft when weight saving is desirable compared to all-metal versions. Failure mechanisms in fibrous COPVs and variability in lifetime can be very different from their metallic counterparts; in the former, catastrophic stress-rupture can occur with virtually no warning, whereas in latter, a leak before burst design philosophy can be implemented. Qualification and certification typically requires only one burst test on a production sample (possibly after several pressure cycles) and the vessel need only meet a design burst strength (the maximum operating pressure divided by a knockdown factor). Typically there is no requirement to assess variability in burst strength or lifetime, much less determine production and materials processing parameters important to control of such variability. Characterizing such variability and its source is crucial to models for calculating required reliability over a given lifetime (e.g. R = 0.9999 for 15 years). In this paper we present a case study of how lack of control of certain process parameters in COPV manufacturing can result in variations among vessels and between production runs that can greatly increase uncertainty and reduce reliability. The vessels considered are 40-inch ( NASA Glenn Research center, Cleveland, OH, 44135 29,500 in3 ) spherical COPVs with a 0.74 in. thick Kevlar49/epoxy overwrap and with a titanium liner of which 34 were originally produced. Two burst tests were eventually performed that unexpectedly differed by almost 5%, and were 10% lower than anticipated from burst tests on 26-inch sister vessels similar in every detail. A major observation from measurements made during proof testing (autofrettage) of the 40-inch vessels was that permanent volume growth from liner yielding varied by a factor of more than two (150 in3 to 360 in3 ), which suggests large differences in the residual stress gradient through their overwraps. This resulted in large uncertainty in true fiber stress ratio (fiber stress at operating pressure divided by fiber stress at burst) which governs lifetime. The vessels were originally designed with tight safety margins, so it became crucial to develop a non-destructive evaluation (NDE) technique to directly measure the overwrap residual stress state of each vessel, and to identify those vessels at highest risk of having poor reliability. This paper describes a Raman Spectroscopy technique for measuring certain patterns of fluctuation in fiber elastic strains over the outside vessel surface (where all but one wrap is exposed at certain locations) that are shown to directly correlate to increased fiber stress ratios and reduced reliability.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Kezirian, Michael T.
(Boeing Co. Houston, TX, United States)
Phoenix, S. Leigh
(Cornell Univ. Ithaca, NY, United States)
Eldridge, Jeffrey I.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
May 4, 2009
Subject Category
Composite Materials
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
50th AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures(Palm Springs, CA)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
No Preview Available