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Novel Nickel alloy combustion chamber


A collaboration between Airborne Engineering (AEL), OxMet and Renishaw was unveiled at Formnext 2019. The project aims to demonstrate that OxMet's new Nickel based superalloy, ABD®-900AM, has better performance than industry incumbent IN718 for application to liquid rocket engine combustion chambers, because it maintains strength at 900°C. Test combustion chambers have been designed by AEL for firing at AEL's facility for performance evaluation.

“Materials in AM are often chosen based on their cast or forged properties, without particular concern for whether they print well. ABD®-900AM was specifically designed to provide strength at high temperatures, whilst still being printable without defects” explained William Dick-Cleland, Additive Manufacturing Engineer at OxMet Technologies. “Better materials enable better AM designs, and the production of parts with greater reliability than would otherwise be possible.”

“Ensuring consistent quality in AM is central to the technology’s adoption. Our job in this partnership is to provide reliable machinery that can make the best out of ABD®-900AM’s properties and combustion chamber designs,” explained Jono Munday, Additive Manufacturing Applications Manager at Renishaw. “Renishaw’s AM machines are built for quality. For example, the RenAM 500Q’s consistent gas flow allows manufacturers to confidently produce components at high volume with quality in mind.”

“This collaboration uses the expertise of each participant to optimise the rocket combustion chamber design, with extensive knowledge on metallurgy from OxMet, expertise in AM from Renishaw and our team’s knowledge of the complex combustion and cooling requirements of a liquid rocket engine,” said Iain Waugh, Propulsion Engineer at Airborne Engineering. “We have previously used AM to make parts of rocket engines and are looking forward to finding further advantages that this technology could provide to our field.”