Jamie Willson December 26, 2017

Composite materials are revolutionizing the aerospace and manufacturing industries for quite a while now. The commercial use of these filaments –coiled pressure vessels are on the rise. In order to assist pressure vessel manufacturers, there is a need to develop design tools that are very similar to those used in the design of metallic tanks.

There are several fabrication techniques from which you could make complex structures from composite materials; few of the conventional techniques include winding, coiling or reeling.

This process is both brilliant and simple. The major operation here involves winding stripes or tightened filaments that are filled with thermo setting resin around a chuck or cylindrical mold. Rotation control is the main technique. The chuck rotates along its axis as the vehicle containing the fibers or carbon moves in a straight horizontal direction, putting the materials around the chuck in the desired pattern.

The most popular and effective methods involve the use of glass fibers or carbon which has been coated with synthetic resin while winding. The main function of the resins is to transmit stress between the fibers and also acts as the glue to hold the reinforcing fibers together. Resins also protect the fibers from environmental and mechanical damages. When the rotating chuck is fully covered and the thickness desired has been achieved, it is then transferred into a special oven so as to make the resins solid. This is referred to as the curing phase.

In this phase of production, it is very critical that you master the control parameters so as to be able to guarantee high-quality standards for any built part depending on its intended future use.  When the resin is totally cured and very stable, the process is concluded by withdrawing the chuck. This process results in hollow parts that are shaped perfectly, designed for a specific purpose and fabricated to suit the exact customer needs. This process is used to make cylindrical products like fuel and chemical storage tanks, motor cases, pipes, masts and pressure vessels.

Filament winding process is not only highly customizable; the process adapts entirely to automation mainly because the filament’s tension and stress can be controlled. When a higher tension is applied to the fibers, it results in products that have increased strength and rigidity; lower tension produces final products with greater flexibility.

The orientation of these filaments should be carefully controlled such that the various layers can overlap properly. They are best placed in the opposite direction from the former coats.  The angle at which the lower layers are applied will determine the properties of the end products. If the angle is higher, the product formed will offer a higher resistance to compression, whereas, if the angle is lower (referred to as a closed system), the resulting product will offer a greater resistance to traction.

If the desired structure would require a considerable amount of resistance and high physical properties, they should be made with epoxy resin. Polyester resin is better suited for several extended applications. This wide range of materials covers a broad spectrum of hi-tech properties that fit seamlessly into the basic requirements of pressure vessel manufacturers.

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