NASA has awarded HyPerComp Engineering, Inc. an exclusive license to commercialize a new generation of tougher and safer composite pressure vessels.
The technology is the result of collaboration between NASA and HyPerComp under an SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) contract producing a jointly held patented technology which promises to radically expand the safe operating envelope of high performance composite pressure vessels.
Applications for the vessels range from automotive hydrogen fuel storage and improved breathing apparatuses for homeland security to gun-fire survivable fuel storage tanks for military vehicles.
Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah states, “”For decades, Utah businesses have led the way in turning aerospace technology into important innovations that improve everyday lives. Small businesses like HyPerComp are critical to Utah’s economy, creating jobs and boosting our state’s bottom line.””
HyPerComp has developed a “”benign-failure-mode”” capability, which greatly reduces the likelihood of catastrophic pressure vessel failures resulting in injury or death. This technology has demonstrated the ability of a composite pressure vessel to survive the impact of a 50-calibre bullet round at 4,500 psi. The benefit of such a capability is readily evident in the form of increased safety for all users of high-pressure fuel and oxygen storage who must operate in a environment exposing them to ballistic and other impact hazards. The decreased risk of injury due to fragmentation, explosion and “”sympathetic detonation”” of highly pressurized storage cylinders is of great potential benefit for the military across the board.
In addition to enhanced robustness, the technology results in a significantly lighter composite pressure vessel than any other currently on the market. The benefits of this lighter technology are not simply extended range for vehicles using such storage cylinders, but less weight for firefighters and “”first-responders”” breathing apparatuses. The combination of robustness and reduced weight produce lighter and safer commercial storage systems for alternative fuel automobiles and buses, as well as lower operating costs and safer storage for all users of high-pressure cylinders.
HyPerComp will undertake the commercialization of this technology and henceforth make it available to both commercial industry and the defence community. HyPerComp Engineering, Inc., is known for its filament winding and other advanced composites technology in addition to being a NASA designated “”Small Business Technology Showcase Firm”.
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