Filament winding is a well-established process for the production of high-end fully wrapped composite pressure vessels. This type of tanks can be designed for service pressures that exceed 700 bar and are ideal for storage of gas fuels like compressed hydrogen in automotive and lightweight applications. As the demand for composite pressure vessels increases, lower costs and better product quality become very important. Impregnation is one of the most important steps in the wet winding process. During this step the dry continuous fibers are combined with the liquid matrix in order to create a fully impregnated semi-finished product. The properties of the impregnated roving have a major effect on the laminate quality and the efficient processing of the liquid matrix has a big influence on the manufacturing costs. The present work is related to the development of a new impregnation method for the processing of carbon fiber rovings. The developed impregnation unit (siphon impregnation system) consists of a sinusoidal cavity without any moving parts. This combined with an automated resin mixing-dosing system this allows complete wet-out of the fibers, precise calibration of the resin fraction, and stable processing conditions. The paper focuses on the modeling of the impregnation process inside the siphon unit. Mathematical expressions for the fiber compaction, the gradual increase of the roving tension, the static pressure, the capillarity of the roving, and the fiber permeation are presented, discussed, and experimentally verified. These expressions were implemented in an algorithm which can model the impregnation process by taking input parameters into account like winding speed, resin dosing, viscosity, and roving tex. The model was solved and the processing parameters of winding tension, fiber volume fraction, and impregnation degree have been simulated. An experimental set-up based on a filament winding machine was used for the validation of the model. Trials with different processing parameters and long run tests have been performed. The results proved that the model can accurately simulate the impregnation process. The good impregnation degree of the wound samples confirmed the efficiency of the siphon impregnation unit.

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