Isro successfully hot tests 3D printed liquid rocket engine

  • Industry News
  • May 13,24
This streamlined design not only significantly decreased raw material usage per engine, from 565kg to just 13.7 kg of metal powder, but also slashed overall production time by 60%.
Isro successfully hot tests 3D printed liquid rocket engine

On 9 May, 2024, Isro announced a significant achievement with the successful hot testing of a liquid rocket engine manufactured using additive manufacturing (AM) technology, also known as 3D printing. This engine is intended for use in the PS4, the upper stage of Isro's primary rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

Isro redesigned the traditionally manufactured PS4 engine to be compatible with additive manufacturing techniques, employing an innovative approach known as Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM). According to Isro, this approach has resulted in notable advantages.

Utilising the Laser Powder Bed Fusion technique during the manufacturing process, Isro reduced the number of engine components from 14 to a single piece, thereby eliminating 19 weld joints. This streamlined design not only significantly decreased raw material usage per engine, from 565kg to just 13.7 kg of metal powder, but also slashed overall production time by 60%.

The PS4 engine, which employs a bipropellant combination of nitrogen tetroxide as the oxidizer and monomethyl hydrazine as the fuel, was developed by Isro's Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC). The manufacturing of the additively manufactured engine was undertaken by the Indian industry partner, Wipro 3D, while the hot testing was conducted at Isro's Propulsion Complex in Mahendragiri.

Before the successful 665-second hot test, Isro executed a comprehensive development program, including detailed flow and thermal modeling, structural simulations, cold flow characterisation of the proto hardware, and four successful developmental hot tests of the integrated engine, totaling a cumulative duration of 74 seconds. These rigorous tests validated the engine's performance parameters, Isro stated.

Isro emphasised that the successful hot testing of the 3D printed PS4 engine paves the way for leveraging additive manufacturing technology for rocket engines in future endeavors. “This paves the way for the induction of the additively manufactured PS4 engine into the regular PSLV programme, ushering in a new era of advanced manufacturing techniques for India's space endeavours,” Isro added.

(Source: TOI)

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