Fluid Transfer Vessel

The Los Alamos National Laboratory is charged with solving national security challenges. Our sponsor challenged our team to design a lightweight vessel that will deliver a fluid that is incompatible with most vessel materials. Due to the fluid's incompatibility, we were required to have the fluid completely sealed via a stainless steel capsule. This capsule will eject the fluid using pressurized gas, without letting the gas mix with the fluid.

Our solution is a thin stainless steel vessel that is inside a larger aluminum vessel. Compressed air between these vessels crushes the steel vessel, pushing out the fluid. This design made a large difference by reducing weight and the pressure required, helping maintain a safer work environment.

Previous designs weighed upwards of six pounds, and required an operating pressure of 1000 psi. Our new design weighs only 0.79 pounds, and operates at 250 psi. This benefits our sponsor because low weight is a primary objective.

These safe, low pressures and weights were achieved by rethinking original design ideas. Stipulations were made that carbon fiber winding would need to be completed for an outer pressure vessel. This was suggested in order to maintain a low enough weight while still containing pressures upwards of 1000 psi that would actuate thicker inner vessels. Simplicity warranted that if a thick inner vessel crushes under high pressures, thinner and lighter inner vessels would similarly crush under lower pressures without cracking. Maintaining a thin inner vessel and lowering thickness requirements of the outer vessel proved key in reducing weight and increasing desirability for the end user. Carbon fiber was not needed, reducing manufacturing difficulty.

School Year (term): 
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Team Name: 
David Barker
Team Members: 
Clint Gibson, Greg Rumsey, Spencer Dyer, Hipolito Velez, Brady Anderson

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