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Prototyping lightweight composite LOX and IPA tanks for LV4.

The good: the current PSAS CF airframe technology seems to offer fantastic tank factors if they can be used as propellant tanks, even given extremely conservative mass growth assumptions. This could give us the mass ratios to get LV4 above the von Karman line. Early conceptual design analysis for LV4 suggests that 280x700 mm modules are optimal.

The bad: Composites are hard...

  • Lack of established design criteria for composite tanks
  • Galvanic corrosion of composites in contact with metals
  • Composites degrade under extreme temperatures
  • Composites degrade in the presence of mositure
  • Difficult to detect defective adhesive bonds in composite structures
  • Difficult to maintain hermetic seals
  • Difficult to incorperate cutouts
  • Significant problems with CTE mismatch when used in conjunction with metallic structures

The Ugly: Proof-of-Concept Composite Fuel Tank designed and built by 2017 PSAS Capstone Team. Currently undergoing testing and refinement.

Summary of 2017 Tank Capstone Project Design Artifacts

  • Analysis

    • Calculations (Hand Calculations and Python Scripts)
    • Finite Element Analysis (Code, Results, and Documentation)
  • Design

    • CAD (Current and Archive)
    • Design Ideas
  • Documents

    • AIAA (Paper Abstract)
    • Materials (MDS and Property info
    • ME492 (Capstone Docs)
    • ME493 (Capstone Docs)
    • Research Documents (Literature Review Documents)
    • OSGC (Oregon Space Grant Award Info)
    • Presentations (Resources for project presentation)
    • Resource Documents (How Tos and Readme Docs for Git, Jupyter, etc.)
    • Safety (docs related to chemical safety)
    • Team Documents (Team Agenda, Meeting notes, Contacts, etc.)
    • Templates (Experiment Templates)
    • Doc Readme and Standards of Documentation
    • Media (Photos and Videos)
  • Manufacturing (Procedural documents)

  • Testing (Test results and procedures)


Prototyping lightweight composite LOX and IPA tanks.



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