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High pressure hydrogen test service launched at TWI - Connect 2005

Connect, no. 135, March/April 2005, p.1

Inside the new test facility at Great Abington
Inside the new test facility at Great Abington

A programme of tensile testing with a difference has just been completed for the Japan Research and Development Center which is working closely with the TWI Industrial Member, Nippon Steel Corporation.

The tests were carried out within a pressure vessel containing high purity hydrogen, at a pressure of 450barg. They were performed at both ambient temperature and 85°C.

The work, in conjunction with similar testing in Japan by NSC, provides input to Japanese planning for the hydrogen economy. In particular, test data are required to ensure the safe performance of hydrogen storage and handling systems for automotive applications, on board vehicles.

The facility to house and service the mechanical test machine and pressure vessel was designed and built over some eight months, and the tensile test programme was then completed.

The new installation is located in an isolated building, which is also scheduled to house an existing elevated temperature hydrogen autoclave (for disbonding testing and hydrogen charging) which is being re-located on the Great Abington site.

The building has a test booth for each pressure vessel, and a control room separated from these by steel doors, with a safety interlock. The roof over the test booth is of lightweight construction, and would provide an easy path for any sudden pressure release or explosion. The combination of interlocks, gas and fire detectors and procedures, however, make this an extremely unlikely event.

The test pressure is over twice bottle supply pressure, and part of the facility is a gas pressure intensifier.

The test vessel, is about 125mm thick and made out of solid 316 stainless steel. There is a load cell inside the pressure vessel, which has to tolerate the pressure cycling, and hydrogen atmosphere.

The test vessel is mounted within a standard 100kN servohydraulic load frame.

An electronic control system manages automatic purge, fill and empty cycles, operated by pneumatic valves through a simple control panel.

For further information on testing in hydrogen, contact Richard Pargeter. E-mail:

For more information please email: