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Review of Current State of the Art and Key Design Issues With Potential Solutions for Liquid Hydrogen Cryogenic Storage Tank Structures for Aircraft ApplicationsDue to its high specific energy content, liquid hydrogen (LH2) is emerging as an alternative fuel for future aircraft. As a result, there is a need for hydrogen tank storage systems, for these aircraft applications, that are expected to provide sufficient capacity for flight durations ranging from a few minutes to several days. It is understood that the development of a large, lightweight, reusable cryogenic liquid storage tank is crucial to meet the goals of and supply power to hydrogen-fueled aircraft, especially for long flight durations. This report provides an annotated review (including the results of an extensive literature review) of the current state of the art of cryogenic tank materials, structural designs, and insulation systems along with the identification of key challenges with the intent of developing a lightweight and long-term storage system for LH2. The broad classes of insulation systems reviewed include foams (including advanced aerogels) and multilayer insulation (MLI) systems with vacuum. The MLI systems show promise for long-term applications. Structural configurations evaluated include single- and double-wall constructions, including sandwich construction. Potential wall material candidates are monolithic metals as well as polymer matrix composites and discontinuously reinforced metal matrix composites. For short-duration flight applications, simple tank designs may suffice. Alternatively, for longer duration flight applications, a double-wall construction with a vacuum-based insulation system appears to be the most optimum design. The current trends in liner material development are reviewed in the case that a liner is required to minimize or eliminate the loss of hydrogen fuel through permeation.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Mital, Subodh K.
(Toledo Univ. OH, United States)
Gyekenyesi, John Z.
(N and R Engineering Cleveland, OH, United States)
Arnold, Steven M.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Sullivan, Roy M.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Manderscheid, Jane M.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Murthy, Pappu L. N.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
October 1, 2006
Subject Category
Aircraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 489.02.07.03
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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