Damage and permeability in tape-laid thermoplastic composite cryogenic tanks

D. M. Grogan*, C. M. Ó Brádaigh, J. P. McGarry, S. B. Leen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work presents a combined experimental and numerical approach to the design and analysis of tape-laid thermoplastic composite cryogenic tanks. A detailed material and defect characterisation of automated tape-laid CF/PEEK is undertaken using optical micrography and 3D X-ray CT (computed tomography) as well as cryogenic testing to investigate damage formation. Resulting material data is used as input for a novel XFEM (extended finite element method)-cohesive zone methodology which is used to predict intra- and inter-ply damage in an internally pressurised cryogenic tank. An optimised tank lay-up is presented and analysed using the numerical method to ensure resistance to microcrack formation and fuel leakage through the tank walls under operating loads.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-402
Number of pages13
JournalComposites part a-Applied science and manufacturing
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2015


  • B. Defects
  • C. Finite element analysis (FEA)
  • D. Non-destructive testing
  • E. Lay-up (manual/automated)


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