About the project
Polymer matrix composites are a core light-weighting technology across virtually all transport sectors (aerospace, automotive, marine), providing a vital element of net-zero carbon objectives. Many forms and scales of hydrogen storage will be required for a complete hydrogen economy, with highly pressured gas cylinders (in the range on 500-700bar) inevitably being required for decarbonising transport.
As part of a 10+ year track record of successful projects, the University of Southampton and Luxfer Gas Cylinders are offering a PhD post to develop innovative designs and design strategies for extremely lightweight ‘Type 4’ cylinders (cylinders using only polymer and polymer composite construction).
This project takes a fundamentally structural perspective, examining the mechanical performance of the walls and liner materials of Type 4 cylinders, and corresponding implications for gas permeability. There will be a balance of experimental and modelling aspects, with a view to improve and validate finite element (FE) modelling of Type 4 cylinders. The models will therefore be able to inform optimisation of current designs (reducing mass for a given level of gas containment) and inform more radical design concepts for the future.
Working as part of a well-established group of PhDs and doctoral researchers, this PhD project will focus on analysis of cylinder failure processes (leak and burst under static and cyclic conditions) via X-ray computed tomography (XCT), building on many years’ experience within the nationally and internationally recognised Southampton µ-VIS lab.
The project will involve sophisticated experimental work (e.g. X-ray imaging and mechanical testing) using newly-installed state-of-the-art facilities.
Subject to external travel regulations, the project will involve site visits to Luxfer in the UK and North America.