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Software Analyzes Load-Bearing Layers of Hybrid Inflatable Pressure Vessels
August 17, 2011

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Innovators at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) have developed simulation software for predicting and analyzing loads and elongations of elements of the load-bearing layer of an inflatable structure or module. This layer is typically composed of straps of high-strength material such as Kevlar® brand fiber or Vectran® liquid crystal polymer fiber. Because these straps exhibit non-linear behavior under load, analysis is complex, especially when there are rigid pass-throughs (doors, windows, fluid ports, hatches, connecting tunnels) incorporated into the inflatable structure. This innovation allows accurate analysis and design of the straps that connect to the rigid pass-throughs. JSC has applied for patent protection for this technology.

Kevlar is a registered trademark of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company or its affiliates.
Vectran is a registered trademark of Vectran Fiber, Inc.


  • Effective: Allows successful design and fabrication of an inflatable structure with rigid pass-throughs
  • Cost-Effective: Minimizes the number of unattached and unwoven straps that pass by the frame
  • Secure: Eliminates gaps between adjacent attachments around the frame to prevent protrusion of the inflated bladder through the gaps


  • Space structures and habitats
  • Hyperbaric chambers
  • Inflatable airlocks
  • Ballast to transport off-shore oil platforms
  • Emerging applications for inflatable structures


JSC has applied for patent protection for this technology.

Licensing and Partnering Opportunity

This technology is being made available through JSC's Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office, which seeks to transfer technology into and out of NASA to benefit the space program and U.S. industry. NASA invites companies to consider licensing this technology for commercial applications.

Contact Information

If you would like more information about this technology or about NASA's technology transfer program, please contact:

Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office
NASA's Johnson Space Center
Phone: 281-483-3809
E-mail: jsc-techtran@mail.nasa.gov

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Page Last Updated: January 16th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator