Last night, EOS sister company AMCM completed the print of the world’s largest aerospike rocket engine. It was engineered completely in Hyperganic Core using advanced software algorithms and has never seen a single piece of manual CAD. It’s likely the most complex AM part ever produced — it broke all conventional workflows. AMCM printed it in copper in their massive 1m build volume machine. The engine stands at 80cm tall.
This aerospike rocket engine is a demonstration of what’s possible when you combine the power of software algorithms with the world’s most advanced Additive Manufacturing systems.
People have been trying to build aerospikes for a long time. The Space Shuttle was supposed to have a linear one. But nobody could make it work at the time, given the manufacturing methods. The aerospike has significant advantages over traditional bell nozzle designs. It’s altitude compensating and does away with the heavy nozzle extension, with a spike in the middle instead. It’s easily 15-20% more efficient than bell nozzle engines. This is a dramatic improvement in the field of rocketry where even fractions of percentage points are worth pursuing. The challenge was always cooling the spike in the middle of the extremely hot exhaust gas.
With Additive Manufacturing, we can finally produce these kinds of objects. And a few startups have been successful in initial designs. The problem now: create a reliably working engine that can power a spaceship. This requires many iterations — and iterations in CAD are prohibitively complicated, especially for complex designs. This is where Hyperganic Core and Algorithmic Engineering come into play.
What my partner Josie created over the past year, is a completely algorithmic model for a wide variety of aerospike designs. Within minutes, we can create almost any engine design imaginable, including injector heads, advanced heat transfer systems and complex combustion chamber geometries, with different thrust levels and in different sizes. Our customers can now quickly iterate and come up with the best designs. An iteration only takes a few minutes.
Here’s some news about what we are going to show at RAPID + TCT . Josie and I are also going to give a talk on Thursday 19 May about the subject.