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Center Innovation Fund: MSFC CIF

Evaluation of Carbon Composite Vessels Fabrication using Ionic Liquid Epoxies for Cryogenic Liquid Containment

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Evaluation of Carbon Composite Vessels Fabrication using Ionic Liquid Epoxies for Cryogenic Liquid Containment
The intent of the work proposed here is to ascertain the viability of ionic liquid (IL) epoxy based carbon fiber composites for use as storage tanks at cryogenic temperatures.  This IL epoxy has been specifically developed to address composite cryogenic tank challenges associated with achieving NASA's in-space propulsion and exploration goals.    Our initial work showed that an unadulterated ionic liquid (IL) carbon-fiber composite exhibited improved properties over an optimized commercial product at cryogenic temperatures.  Subsequent investigative work has significantly improved the IL epoxy and our first carbon-fiber Composite Overwrap Pressure Vessel (COPV) was successfully fabricated.  Here additional COPVs, using a further improved IL epoxy, will be fabricated and pressure tested at cryogenic temperatures with the results rigorously analyzed.  Investigation of the IL composite for lower pressure liner-less cryogenic tank applications will also be initiated.  It is expected that the current Technology Readiness Level (TRL) will be raised from about TRL 3 to TRL 5 where unambiguous predictions for subsequent development/testing can be made. More »

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