Quadrus Corporation additively manufactures world’s first bimetallic rocket engine injector

May 28, 2024

Quadrus Corporation has additively manufactured what is claimed to be the world’s first bimetallic rotating detonation rocket engine injector (Courtesy Quadrus Corporation)
Quadrus Corporation has additively manufactured what is claimed to be the world’s first bimetallic rotating detonation rocket engine injector (Courtesy Quadrus Corporation)

Quadrus Corporation, Huntsville, Alabama, USA, reports that its Quadrus Advanced Manufacturing Division (QAMD) has fabricated what is claimed to be the world’s first bimetallic rotating detonation rocket engine (RDRE) injector via Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) Additive Manufacturing. The work is reported to be the culmination of a series of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II and Phase III Efforts, managed by engineers at NASA MSFC.

RDRE injectors face significant challenges due to the intense heat generated by the spinning detonation waves, states Quadrus. In response, QAMD manufactured a solution featuring a thin faceplate made from thermally conductive GRCop-42 and a manifold made of oxidation-resistant nickel-based superalloy Monel K500.

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GRCop-42 allows propellants to effectively cool the injector face while the oxidation resistance and strength of Monel K500 allows thinner walls in the manifold, resulting in a lighter design solution tailored to the demands of RDRE applications.

Quadrus Corporation overcame numerous hurdles associated with bimetallic fabrication, including precise geometrical alignment, mitigation of the risk of material cross-contamination, and the formation of high-strength bimetallic bonding. This required strict attention to detail in all three areas, while maintaining an orifice hole of 1.016 mm through the bimetallic region.

The bimetallic injector brings to a head a multi-year NASA SBIR effort focused on thermal management for combustion injector applications. The success includes the development of Quad Mesh, reported to be a groundbreaking approach to transpiration cooling for injector faceplate applications. Quad Mesh enables customisable permeability in high heat flux regions, synergistically complementing the PBF-LB build process and depowdering techniques.

The bimetallic injector, along with a monolithic GRCop-42 injector that includes the Quad Mesh technology, is slated for hot fire testing at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center during this summer, said to mark a significant step forward in advancing thermal management for rocket injector applications.


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