Vladimir Bukovsky,
general director, NPO Fazdag and NPO Overhaul-service

A modern fighter has dozens of high-pressure balloons. Heavier types of aircraft have many more balloons for condensed gases. The same situation is with missiles and launch vehicles, whose control systems have high-pressure balloons. But the more impressive situation is with spacecraft, especially space stations. All that necessitates measures to be taken to reduce weight and increase safety of the balloons.

High-pressure balloons are also used in the personal survival kits (such as oxygen systems for breathing) for personnel of search-and-rescue and fire-fighting services. Nowadays, the acute problem is that of protecting the atmospheric layer from exhaust fumes of automobile engines. It is expected that in the near future the automobile engines will be transferred from petrol to liquid gas.

So, there is an ever-present need of improving performance of the balloons and also that of setting up modern production lines able to fulfill the rising market demand in light-weight, high-strength, trouble-free balloons. This is of high importance for the industries where the problem of weight saving is always present, for instance, aerospace industry. The same is about people like fire-fighters and others working in dangerous environments with balloons on their backs. For the latter people it is a matter of life and death.

Having made a thorough analysis of the international experience and achievements of the leading foreign and Russian enterprises, the Fazdag scientific-industrial association has developed a number of light-weight high-pressure balloons. They are made using the technologies of special winding of polymeric composite threads.

Traditional metal balloons in wide use around the world are now considered as having inadequate performance. For instance, the weight/volume ratio at a certain fixed strength coefficient ranges from 1.3 to 2 kg/liter. For our balloons — with more strength in them — the figure is 0.2 — 0.8 kg/liter. This gives weight savings from three to five times.

Fazdag’s 7-liter balloon withstands a pressure of 300 atmospheres. Together with a metal outlet it weighs merely 1.5 kg. Equipped with such balloons, the Russian alpinists reached the peak of Zhomolugma. But these balloons were made of expensive kevlar fiber. In the aviation industry the relative cost of kevlar is not that high. Much less expensive glass fiber gives more weight, but not higher than 25%.

Here are more advantages of our balloons:

  • maximal use of the strength performance of the composite materials;
  • no debris in the case of balloon disintegration;
  • high technologies used allows for a compact production line, thus mass production can be set up easily in a short time;
  • highly-profitable production due to low manufacturing costs.

An important construction element of a high-pressure balloon is a thing-wall liner made of stainless steel or plastic materials. Its role is to provide pressurization. The required strength is provided by fiber threads of either glass fiber, kevlar or carbon graphite winded on it.

Russia’s State Standard Committee awarded certificates to two types of our balloons. Technologies used in production are patented with the State register for inventions. Some technological operations are our “know-how”.

The market for balloons is big. The constantly-rising demand on the international market in light-weight balloons is not met by the existing production capacities. Today, 70% of all balloons are made of carbon steel, 12% of improved steel, 10% of aluminum and titanium, 7% of metal composites and 1% of composite materials. The demand of the Russian market for high-pressure balloons is estimated at 1 million pieces annually.

Fazdag have received requests for deliveries of composite balloons from Russian state bodies and commercial organizations, including large industrial and natural resources enterprises. We have launched a two stage project on setting up mass production of composite balloons. In 2000 we plan to have production facilities with a capacity of 100 thousand units a year.

But even today we can fulfill a large spectrum of orders for different types of balloons. We are happy to accept large orders for tailor-made balloons for specific needs of our customers. We are ready for cooperation with the aerospace industrial enterprises and other industries, hoping that our balloons will be found able to meet requirements of all potential customers.

Баллоны в “весе пера”

В НПО “Фаздаг” разработаны конструкции нескольких типов облегченных баллонов высокого давления, изготовляемых методом специальной намотки из полимерных композиционных волокон. При высоких прочностных характеристиках баллоны имеют соотношение массы и объема 0,2 — 0,8 кг/л. НПО можем выполнять широкий спектр заказов на различные модификации баллонов с учетом конкретных требований клиентов.

NPO Fazdag scientific industrial association
1, 2nd Sinichkina st., Moscow, 111250, Russia.
Phone/fax: 7 (095) 918-1219.