As a result of its close collaboration with automobile manufacturers that are developing hydrogen cars, Rotarex set to work to solve the challenge of producing a 700+ bar valve. This ultra-high-pressure valve needed to be extremely strong and durable while, at the same time, being compact, multi-functional and made of lightweight material.
The development of this innovative hydrogen car cylinder valve spurred the Rotarex engineering team to create a game-changing methodology that simulates and predicts the mechanical behavior of complex new valve designs and materials under hypothetical static and cyclical loads. Dr. Stephan Sellen, now Head of the Rotarex Calculation Department, developed computer simulation techniques and derived calculation and design guidelines for lightweight cylinder valve construction while completing his Ph.D. thesis at the university of Luxembourg.
Applying this simulation process to the 700+ bar valve, Dr. Sellen and Rotarex engineers investigated valve designs and increased the fatigue strength of specific aluminum alloys until the desired treatment pressure range was achieved. The valve body was successfully produced from lightweight aluminum, replacing heavier and more expensive stainless steel, and the requirements for valve certification were reached.
This simulation and calculation process has far reaching ramifications for the development of future valves and materials. Rotarex engineers can know quickly how their designs might perform in the real world under target operating conditions. Previously, this was a time-consuming trial-and-error process that involved multiple prototype-testing cycles. Now, they find identify any design issues in hours instead of months.
Shortening new product development time using these numerical techniques will greatly increase Rotarex’ ability to develop exciting innovations that solve customer challenges quickly – and with less cost.
Rotarex engineers are also developing numerical fluid flow simulations to expedite and improve the investigation of gas flow in valves. Plus, existing products are being evaluated to find ways to optimize the mechanical behavior of materials, reduce weight and lower production cost. Even the certification process will be streamlined, as it will be easier to determine the mechanical load of products.