Innovative designs of an in-tank hydrogen valve towards direct metal laser sintering compatibility and fatigue life enhancement


Replacements of using fossil fuel by different types of renewable energy are the current development trend in the automotive industry towards sustainable vehicles. A hydrogen-powered car is a promising solution, in which the safe and smooth operation of the car is strongly depended on how an in-tank valve of a fuel-storage-system performs. The present paper introduces the investigations and innovations of structures of the mentioned valve, whose designs can be subjected to fabricate by direct metal laser sintering. Two parts of the valve were taken into considerations, including the largest female-thread and the body. While the threads were investigated in the proposed conditions via fatigue-life assessment, the bodies were only assessed after being built from the concepts, developed by structural optimisations and lattice implementation. The achieved results showed that within the same pre-treated conditions, the optimised valves have considerably higher fatigue life, but lower masses, than those of the original. It was also observed that the applications of pre-treatment by autofrettage could contribute significantly to life prolongation of the valves as compared to the non-treated ones. In addition, those essential features, such as powder-release channels, which make the developed valves compatible with DMLS, were implemented into the valve-designs to be able to ensure their successful prints. Finally, the results suggested that the second innovated structure of the lattice-valve is the best candidate, which could be additively produced for the upcoming experimental-validation phase of the demonstrated works.

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b :

fatigue strength exponent

c :

fatigue ductility exponent

d :


d i :

design variable

E :

elastic modulus

H :

empirical tightening factor

K :

real stiffness matrix of elements

\( \overline{\boldsymbol{K}} \) :

penalised stiffness matrix

N f :

half number of reversals to failure

P :

factor for penalisation

p i :

perturbation vector

P t :

pretension load

S :

material constant

T :

tightening torque

γ max :

maximum shear strain amplitude on critical plane

δε n :

normal strain range on the maximum shear strain plane

∆ε :

strain range

ε a :

strain amplitude

\( \overset{\sim }{\varepsilon } \) :

path-independent damage parameter proposed by Wang-Brown

\( {\varepsilon}_{\mathrm{f}}^{\prime } \) :

fatigue ductility coefficient

ϑ :

effective Poisson ratio

ρ :

element density

σ a :

stress amplitude

\( {\sigma}_{\mathrm{f}}^{\prime } \) :

fatigue strength coefficient

σ mean :

mean stress

σ max :

maximum stress

σ n, mean :

mean stress, normal to maximum shear strain plane

x :

vectors of nodal coordinates

x 0 :

vectors of nodal coordinates of original design




additive manufacturing




computer-aided design


direct metal laser sintering




finite element


free shape optimisation


lattice implementation


lattice valve


critical plane with Smith-Watson-Topper mean stress correction


critical plane with Morrow mean stress correction


critical shear plane with Smith-Watson-Topper mean stress correction


critical shear plane with Morrow mean stress correction




original valve


powder release channels


solid isotropic material with penalisation




topology optimisation


Wang-Brown method with mean stress correction


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Special thanks are given to Dr. Stephan Sellen (ROTAREX S.A.) for providing the original model of the hydrogen valve.


The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support provided by the University of Luxembourg.

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Correspondence to Thanh Binh Cao.

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Cao, T.B., Kedziora, S. Innovative designs of an in-tank hydrogen valve towards direct metal laser sintering compatibility and fatigue life enhancement. Struct Multidisc Optim 59, 2319–2340 (2019).

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  • Automotive hydrogen valve
  • Direct metal laser sintering
  • Sustainable design
  • Free-shape optimisation
  • Topology optimisation
  • Lattice implementation