Impact simulation and optimization of elastic fuel tanks reinforced with exoskeleton for aerospace applications

Authors: Prus, C., Vinuesa, R., Schlatter, P., Tembras, E., Mestres, E. , Berro Ramirez, J. P.
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Published
Journal: International Journal of Crashworthiness
Volume: 22   271-293
Year: 2017


The main subject of the study is the impact simulation of an elastic fuel tank reinforced with a polymer exoskeleton. Thanks to its light weight and failure resistance, this type of design shows potential to be used in aerospace applications. The simulation emulates a drop test from the height of 20 m on a rigid surface, in accordance with Military Handbook testing guidelines for fuel tanks (MIL-DTL-2742, 2014). The focus is on providing an example of modeling and solving this type of problems. The computational methods are tested on a generic model of a rectangular prismatic tank with rounded edges. The walls of the tank are made of orthotropic fabric reinforced polymer. The simulation is performed for a 70% and a 100% water-lled tank. All calculations are performed using the Altair HyperWorks 13.0 software suite, in particular the non-linear RADIOSS solver and OptiStruct Solver and Optimizer. The uid inside the tank is modeled using the SPH (Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics) approach. The model serves as a basis for establishing a design optimization procedure, aiming at reduction of mass of the tank components while ensuring structural integrity. The main insights of the current study are the successful modeling of the liquid and the air inside the tank by means of SPH elements, and the structural optimization methodology of a composite fuel tank.