Gilmour Space consortium to build linerless composite cryotanks: “This is about sovereign capability”

Gilmour Space and University of Southern Queensland have commented on their successful CRC Project application, which will develop the capability to produce linerless composite tanks for space.

The collaborative project is valued at nearly $12 million, and supported by a $3 million CRC-P grant. It links Gilmour with Teakle Composites and University of Southern Queensland. They will develop filament-wound tanks delivering up to 30 per cent weight savings.

“We are grateful to receive this funding, which will allow us to develop world-class composite materials and components for our orbital launch vehicles – making our rockets more efficient and reducing the cost of access to space,” said CEO and co-founder of Gilmour Space, Adam Gilmour, whose company aims to offer commercial flights in 2022.

“This is about sovereign capability – knowledge, skills and advanced facilities which will allow for the growth of the space industry and associated supply chain,” added Professor Peter Schubel, Executive Director of the university’s Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences.

Linerless or Type V composite tanks are the state-of-the-art in pressure vessels.The fifth generation and lightest type follows all-metal, metal and hoop composite overwrap, metal with full composite overwrap, and polymer liner with full composite overwrap.

Gilmour‘s tanks will be up to two metres in diameter and carry liquid oxygen as a fuel oxidiser, which will combine with the company’s 3D printed rocket fuel. The cryotank must hold liquid chilled to 183 degrees celsius (or below).

As reported by @AuManufacturing, USQ has been investing heavily in composites technology recently, including announcements of $500,000 in new test and measurement equipment in September and what’s reportedly the country’s only dual-ring industrial-scale fibre braider in November.

Round 8 of the CRC-P grants, announced on Monday, also featured nine collaborative projects focussed on plastic recycling technologies.

Picture: A Type V pressure vessel built by Infinite Composites Technology (CompositesWorld)

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