COPV Damage Detection

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COPV Damage Detection

Level : Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel Safety

This two-day intensive course, held at NASA White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, NM, introduces composite pressure vessel technology and trains students to perform visual testing (VT) inspection of COPVs.

The course instructor, Tommy B. Yoder (B.S. Mechanical Eng., NMSU), is the composite pressure vessel and structures group leader for ongoing programs at NASA WSTF. This includes impact, stress rupture and sustained load testing of Kevlar®, Carbon, and Zylon® composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs). He is also currently involved in the AIAA COPV and NGV2 standards working groups as well as a member of technical advisory groups for the NESC, STS, ISS, CEV, and NGV2 visual inspection certification. He was senior test conductor for the joint USAF/NASA COPV damage tolerance and detection program, APU Fuel tank fleet leader program, and the ATLAS V solid rocket motor case visual damage threshold program. For course technical information, please contact Mr. Tommy Yoder ( NASA Johnson Space Center White Sands Test Facility P.O. Box 20 Las Cruces, NM 88004 Phone: (575) 524-5790 Fax:(575) 524-5260


The course is designed for people involved in composite pressure vessel technology, including:

  • Program Managers
  • Engineers
  • Safety Inspectors
  • Quality Inspectors
  • Integrators
  • Component & System Users

Learning Goals.

The course covers the component life-cycle from procurement through manufacturing, lifetime use, and disposal and is based on experience with pressure vessel tests and analysis developed at NASA White Sands Test Facility since the inception of the technology in the 1970s. The course specifically focuses on mechanical damage and propellant/fuel exposure effects on pressure vessels built using composites. Composed of both theory and practice, it is structured to allow the student to learn about damage characterization and detection and understand the safety aspects of composite pressure vessels.

Student Outcomes.

This is an intensive two-day course that provides hands-on visual inspection training and comprehensive knowledge of composite overwrapped pressure vessel (COPV) technology. This course satisfies the baseline requirements for trained visual inspectors for damage to carbon/epoxy composite overwrapped pressure vessels. The class provides training to meet ANSI/AIAA S-081, KNPR 8715.3, AFSPCMAN 91-710, and ISO 14623 requirements.

Attendees will receive a course handbook and reference images of actual COPV impact damage to aid in COPV visual inspection.  Students also receive 1.5 Continuing Education Credits (or 15 Professional Development Hours for Professional Engineers) and a certificate of completion, which is nationally accepted as meeting the aerospace standards for Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels.


Both days from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. This intensive two-day course, divided into multiple sections, covers all COPV technology. To customize the learning experience, the course opens with a discussion about the general education level and needs of course participants. Manufacturing techniques are discussed, from the manufacturing of the base fiber to the liners, and the filament winding of the final component, conveyed by numerous cross-sectioned samples and winding videos. The United States Air Force (USAF) NASA program data for mechanical damage, sustained load, and material compatibility is reviewed. In the impact control section, requirements of the damage control plan, conduction of a credible threat analysis, and elements of meeting damage control and protection are covered. Additional protection schemes demonstrate the importance of COPV protection during all phases of processing; even including shipping containers before the vessel is integrated into the vehicle, as well as the protective covers used post-integration.

Complementary nondestructive evaluation (NDE) techniques investigated during the USAF/NASA program are discussed, along with new and emerging techniques. Laboratory sessions cover available NDE techniques, the photo reference guide, and an instructor’s walkthrough of a visual inspection. Field inspections of program-damaged flight-qualified COPVs are conducted with groups of two performing detailed visual inspections on as many as ten COPVs in field-like environments concluding with a review of the findings and an in-depth discussion of the results. This combination of techniques provides a well-rounded understanding of the technology and qualification to perform visual inspections of Gr/Ep COPVs.


The individual cost for this training is $2,400.

*All WHA training courses are subject to our standard Training Service Agreement.

*All WHA training courses are subject to our standard Training Service Agreement.

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