“We have steel wire wrapping a steel liner,” says Doug Deeken, operations VP at Bristol, Va.-based WireTough Cylinders.
The result, he says, is a Type II compressed natural gas fuel tank that weighs as much as 10% less than the competition. The modulus of the 0.35mm steel wire matches that of the liner, Deeken says, so there is better load-sharing between the liner and the reinforcement. “We can use a thinner liner without worry,” he says – and despite the use of a metallic wrap, cylinder weight is reduced.
The wire – radial tire cord quality – is applied via continuous winding as glass fiber would be in a conventional Type II cylinder. It’s consolidated with an epoxy material and covered with a protective mesh.
“It’s very ductile,” Deeken says of the resulting structure. “It’s not brittle.”
The firm emphasizes that the strength of its tanks is independent of the epoxy material.
WireTough manufactures CNG cylinders in nominal 12-, 14- and 16-inch diameters. Lengths range from 28 to 76 inches, with water volumes of 60 to 200 liters.
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