Date: 25th to 29th May 2015

Location: Midlands Innovation & Research Centre, Athlone, Ireland

Scope of Course

The course provides an introduction to the basic principles governing the design and operation of Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels (COPV). The comprehensive overview of current technological understanding will provide both engineering mechanics fundamentals and practical applications drawn from experience to educate program managers, design engineers, ground and flight operators, safety analysts, quality engineers and users/customers.

Background to the Course

High performance Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels (COPVs) have been utilized in the aerospace and automotive in­dustries for many years, providing an inherently safe, lightweight and cost effective storage source for pressurized fluids. COPVs are commonly used for gas and propellant storage in spacecraft and launch vehicles. The consequence of a COPV rupture can include the release of caustic fluids, loss of necessary fluids and the release of stored energy equivalent to several pounds of trini­trotoluene (TNT) depending on the quantity, pressure and fluid contained in the COPV.

In the aerospace sector, the development of a commercial space industry has reinforced the need for light and low cost yet safe and reliable pressure vessels. In the automotive sector, new de­mands for alternative fuel vehicles driven by changes in the en­ergy sector have given rise to opportunities for durable and low cost, and also safe and reliable pressure vessels, particularly for hydrogen and compressed natural gas. Safety and high reliability are achieved by adhering to rigorous processes throughout the life cycle of a pressure vessel, includ­ing the design, manufacture, testing, handling, and operation phases.

Course Description

Fundamental to the use of COPVs in space applications is the rel­evant failure modes and the design techniques introduced to en­sure safe operation. Flight safety can only be properly understood through appropriate engineering design and quality throughout the vessel lifecycle from design, qualification, manufacturing, accep­tance testing, handling and finally operational use. Each step of the product lifecycle has relevant safety considerations, which will ultimately affect the likelihood for catastrophic failure resulting in loss of life during operations… < Read More >

Course Length and Duration

32 hrs in 5 days

Who Should Attend?

  • Engineers and Managers who are interested in the latest tech­niques for COPV design, development manufacturing and test­ing
  • Quality and Safety Assurance practitioners with no previous COPV experience
  • Ground operators and those who write design requirements for COPV safe handling.

What You Will Learn?

  • Failure modes in COPVs and requirements for safe operation in space environments
  • Designing for Maximum Operational Pressure and Relevant Fac­tors of Safety
  • Approaches to Liner Fatigue Modeling under Pressure Cy­cling
  • Liner Buckling: Models, Trigger and Methods of Prevention
  • Composite Stress-Rupture Phenomenon and Reliability Model­ing
  • Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE
  • Considerations for Ground Operations and Damage Control Miti­gation Techniques.

How You Will Learn It?

  • Interactive Verbal instruction using Power Point
  • Videos and Photographs.
  • Case studies
  • Interactive experience with Finite Element Analysis simulation with the Abaqus FEA program.

What You Will Take With You?

  • The course book with all presentations and documents
  • Student version of Abaqus FEA (of Dassault Systèmes)
  • Certificate of Course Completion

Course Syllabus Day 1 – Afternoon

  1. General introduction to geometry and structure of high-pressure COPV
  2. COPV safety considerations
  3. Failure modes
  4. Certification standards

Day 2 Morning COPV Safety test and analyses Day 2 Afternoon

  1. Damage Control Plans
  2. Ground Safety Considerations
  3. Design Considerations

Day 3 Morning

  1. Winding pattern design
  2. Autofrettage, purpose and risks in implementation

Day 3 Afternoon Approaches to liner fatigue modeling under pressure cycling

Day 4 Morning

  1. Liner buckling
  2. Overwrap stress-rupture phenomena and reliability modelling

Day 4 Afternoon

  1. Nondestructive evaluation (NDE) of liner, and crack and flaw detection techniques
  2. Overwrap NDE to detect broken tows, wraps and de­lamination

Day 5 Morning

  1. Special Considerations: Operating COPVs in the Space Environment:
  2. Special Topic:  USC Rocket Propulsion Laboratory
  3. New concepts in pressure vessel standards
  4. Standards for the Automotive Industry

<Read More>

NOTE: Workshops A through D that teach the framework and operation of the Wound Composite Module in ABAQUS will not be presented at this time.  However various case studies will be presented to illustrate various concepts of COPV design, including how to interpret overwrap and liner stress and strain results obtained from computational design tools, such as the Wound Composite Module in ABAQUS.  The course follows the 2015 Simulia Community Conference scheduled for May 18-21 in Berlin, Germany:

Course Instructors

The course instructors are internationally recognized experts in the field of COPV Design and Operations:

Leigh Phoenix (PhD Cornell) is professor of Mechanical and Aero­space Engineering at Cornell University (USA), where he has been on the fac­ulty since 1974, and teaches courses in composite materials, solid mechanics and applied mathematics. Much of his research involves micromechanically– based statistical modeling and experi­ments on long-term reliability of fibrous composites (e.g., aramids, carbon, S-glass, PBO) under high stress in diffi­cult environments. Examples include composite-overwrapped pressure vessels, pressurized hydraulic lines and wind turbine blades. He also models ballistic impact into fibrous materials in support of developing improved materials and architectures for soft body armor, flexible composite panels and military and police helmets. In 1983 Phoenix received the Fiber Society Award for Distinguished Achievement in Basic or Applied Fiber Science, and in 1992 he won the ASTM Harold DeWitt Smith Award in fiber mechanics. In 2005 he was awarded the NASA-NESC Engineering Excellence Award for his pressure vessel work in support of the Shuttle’s Return to Flight.

Michael T. Kezirian (PhD MIT) is an Associate Technical Fellow with the Boeing Company. He has brought ex­tensive experience in composite mate­rials, propulsion systems and system safety to address safety concerns for the Space Shuttle and Space Station Programs. Currently, he is supporting the Boeing Commercial Crew Develop­ment (CCDEV) Program on the design of the CST-100. As an Adjunct Asso­ciate Professor of Astronautical Engi­neering at the University of Southern California, he teaches a graduate elective, Safety of Space Sys­tems and Space Missions. Previously, he taught undergraduate and graduate classes in Polymer Science and Spacecraft Dynamics. Dr. Kezirian is Associate Fellow of the AIAA and Fellow Member of the IAASS. In 2009 he was awarded the NASA Astronaut Personal Achievement Award (Silver Snoopy). Dr. Kezirian is the editor-in-chief of the newly introduced, Journal of Space Safety Engineering, published by the IAASS.

Course Fee – Design and Operations of Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels

The fees for the 5 day Design and Operations of Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels training course are;

IAASS Member = €1550 per Participant

IAASS Non-Member = €1650 per Participant

Space Industry Skillnet Member: POA

Note: A discount is available to organisations who send more than 2 participants, where each additional participants will be charged at the rate of an IAASS Member. This fee includes all course materiial and lunches and course banquet on Wednesday evening.

Eligibility for Job Seekers Job-seekers can participate in Skillnets training programmes subject to the eligibility criteria listed at the following link;


Please register for attendance at the course by sending a completed Design & Operations of COPV 2015 – Booking Form to the Network Manager, Catherine Lenehan by e-mail: no later than 8th May 2015

Contact & Directions

Participants requiring assistance with directions to the Space Industry Skillnets training venue in the Midlands Innovation & Research Centre, Athlone Institute of Technology, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland, should contact the Network Manager, Catherine Lenehan at


There is a wide variety of accomodation in Athlone to suit all levels of taste & expense. Please see for a range of options in the region.

Who are the IAASS?

The International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety, is a non-profit organisation dedicated to furthering international cooperation and scientific advancement in the field of space systems safety. In October 2004 IAASS became member of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF). For more information please visit The philosophy of the IAASS is best summed up in the following: “Over the long run the safety of all human beings in the global commons of space is a responsibility that must be shared by all space-faring powers” (G. Rodney, NASA Associated Administrator S&MA 40th IAF Congress, October 1989, Beijing – China)



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