Using additive manufacturing, we can design rocket nozzles in new ways to improve cooling and thrust performance. In this exercise, the NextAero team are experimenting and validating cooling channel designs in a metal 3D printed rocket nozzle developed in collaboration with Amaero Engineering.
“We have used metal 3D printing to make a converging-diverging rocket nozzle”, said Dr. Thomas Knast, CTO at NextAero. “The nozzle contains many small internal cooling channels that we use to keep the metal temperature cool so that the nozzle doesn’t melt while undergoing test-fire conditions”.
The nozzle has undergone testing on NextAero’s Short Duration Test Facility. The propellants are LOX/ethanol running at 20-25 bar. Approximately 100-200kg of thrust is produced.
“From these types of experiments, we learn how to validate our engineering models, and what we might need to change”, said Dr. Knast. “In this case we found our models weren’t too far off, this means we can be more aggressive with the next round of testing”.