The hottest 3D printing rocket engine thrust chamb

2022-08-02
  • Detail

Analysis of 3D printing rocket engine thrust chamber, ejector and turbopump patents

according to the market research of 3D science Valley, the patent usb1 (authorization date: January 7, 2020) approved by rocket lab recently disclosed in detail that rocket lab manufactures rocket thrust chamber, ejector and turbopump for rocket engine through additive manufacturing process

Morgan Stanley estimates that by 2040, the revenue of the global aerospace industry will grow from the current $350billion to a market size of more than $1trillion. According to the market observation of 3D science Valley, space X created by Elon Musk and blue origin created by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos may be one of the largest participants in the industry. In addition, there are late start-ups such as launcher and relativity space

relativity space, a post-90s start-up, is launching a strong attack on the entire rocket of 3D printing manufacturing with the momentum of financing to turn the tide. Neopentyl 2 alcohol is mainly used to produce plasticizers for polyester resin, unsaturated polyester resin, oil-free alkyd resin, polyurethane foam and elastic body, polyester powder coating, insulating materials, non printing ink, synthetic plasticizer, etc. In october2019, the new round of financing of relativity space raised US $140million (RMB 1billion). Another young company, rocket Lab (founded in 2006), has obtained a total financing of more than 215million US dollars (1.5 billion yuan)

behind such strong financing is the huge market space of the aerospace industry on the one hand, and the unique rocket manufacturing technology of emerging rocket enterprises on the other. In this issue, 3D science Valley specially shares the analysis of 3D printing rocket engine thrust chamber, ejector and turbopump patents

3d printing gives birth to complex parts with integrated structure

according to the market research of 3D science Valley, the patent usb1 (authorization date: January 7, 2020) approved by rocket lab recently disclosed in detail that rocket lab manufactures rocket thrust chamber, ejector and turbopump for rocket engine through additive manufacturing process

detail drawing of isometric section view. Source: the patent usb1 approved by rocket Lab (authorization date: january7,2020)

the traditional turbopump components for rocket engines usually include centrifugal propellant pumps driven by one or more turbomachinery. The control of this system is very complex because a small amount of propellant from the propellant pump is required to supply the gas generator to power the turbine

side and top views of the impeller of the electric turbine pump. Source: the patent usb1 approved by rocket Lab (the authorization date is January 7, 2020, which exceeds the world quality at the same level)

rocket lab's patent determines that the use of additive manufacturing technology for the production of turbine pump components can greatly simplify the assembly of this system, and manufacturing various components through selective metal melting process will greatly reduce the assembly complexity of this system

3d printing additive manufacturing technology allows the formation of complex geometric shapes, which is difficult or impossible to achieve using traditional material reduction processing technology or casting/injection molding technology. This flexibility of 3D printing technology provides a unique opportunity in the field of rocket engine design

exploded side view of thrust chamber. Source: the patent usb1 approved by rocket Lab (authorization date: January 7, 2020)

it can be seen from the exploded side view of the thrust chamber that the ejector 122 can be inserted between the cover 105 and the barrel 102. The thrust chamber is made of titanium alloy through additive manufacturing technology, and the throat 103 and expansion 104 can be formed into a single piece through additive manufacturing. The thrust chamber is formed by three parts. Because the thrust chamber has a double wall structure, rocket lab has developed a welding method to combine multiple parts

it is worth mentioning that due to the structure of this kind of engine, it is very difficult to control the surface roughness of the coolant flow channel 110 in the traditional rocket engine. In this traditionally manufactured rocket engine, the ability to control the surface finish in the coolant flow channel is very small, because after the formation of the coolant flow channel, the inner surface of the channel is usually not accessible

on the contrary, the use of additive manufacturing technology to form the part of the thrust chamber provides a relatively unique ability, which exists in two levels:

first, small bump features, ridges, protrusions, valleys, etc. can be designed to provide local changes in specific areas of the coolant flow channel

second, different surface roughness can be produced by adjusting the processing parameters and powder of additive manufacturing technology. For example, the average particle size of powder particles commonly used in selective laser melting metal 3D printing process can usually be less than 30 μ M to 110 μ M

changing the coolant flow channel to drive their cars with electricity and innovation. The surface roughness in the car can also provide increased heat transfer characteristics, which can to some extent compensate for the thermal characteristics of the materials used to form the thrust chamber. For example, copper is commonly used in conventional thrust chambers. The thrust chamber for 3D printing can use titanium alloy (including b.4v), steel alloy (including stainless steel alloy and maraging steel alloy) and Inconel alloy (such as m.625 (UNS n06625) or m.718 (UNS n07718)), because the thermal conductivity of these materials is one or two orders of magnitude lower than that of copper

compared with copper, the reduction of thermal conductivity of these materials can be compensated to some extent by changing the surface roughness in the coolant flow channel

of course, according to the market observation of 3D science Valley, copper alloy is now gradually included in the processing scope of 3D printing of selected metal melting. Among them, NASA has successfully 3D printed the components of copper alloy combustion chamber. There are more than 200 complex channels between the outer walls of the combustion chamber. However, the domestic metal 3D printing enterprise platinum has made progress in the field of copper metal laser forming, developed a 3D printing process for refractory metals and high thermal conductivity and high reflection metals, realized the copper material manufacturing process with complex flow channels, and successfully prepared a 3D printing copper alloy tail nozzle

rocket lab's patent shows that the ejector 122 can be manufactured using additive manufacturing or 3D printing. According to the market research of 3D science Valley, the ejector can be an integrated structure without the connection between components, which provides strength and reliability for the ejector. Selective laser melting process may lead to rough surface on the finished product, which can be removed or cleaned with abrasive. However, the surface roughness has a positive effect. The turbulence in the propellant stream caused by the surface roughness may assist the atomization when the propellant stream impacts

reference: 1 Patent usb1 approved by rocket Lab (source: 3dsciencevalley)

Copyright © 2011 JIN SHI