Fuel cell vehicles and some compressed natural gas vehicles are equipped with carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) composite cylinders. Each of the cylinders has a pressure relief device designed to detect heat and release the internal gas to prevent the cylinder from bursting in a vehicle fire accident. Yet in some accident situations, the fire may be extinguished before the pressure relief device is activated, leaving the high-pressure fuel gas inside the fire-damaged cylinder. To handle such a cylinder safely after an accident it is necessary that the cylinder keeps a sufficient post-fire strength against its internal gas pressure, but in most cases it is difficult to accurately determine cylinder strength at the accident site. One way of solving this problem is to predetermine the post-fire burst strengths of cylinders by experiments. In this study, automotive CFRP cylinders having no pressure relief device were exposed to a fire to the verge of bursting; then after the fire was extinguished the residual burst strengths and the overall physical state of the test cylinders were examined. The results indicated that the test cylinders all recorded a residual burst strength at least twice greater than their internal gas pressure.
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