Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - 49

There was definitely
room for
improvement. "
At the same
nTopology's implicit modeling function was able to quickly " shell and fill "
the injector body's first design iteration, increasing its strength and printability
while greatly reducing weight. (Photo: nTopology)
a stable manner. They soon designed and built a concept model
from the nickel-based superalloy Inconel 718, but unfortunately,
ran into limitations with their metal 3D printer.
" We had to build the RCS injector body at a 45-degree angle,
due to overhang concerns, and also add in a series of large
support structures to prevent thermal warping during the build
process, " Horton said. " The supports would need to be machined
away afterward, adding cost to the product, while the
orientation angle created less than desirable surface quality.
time, they realized
there was
room for substantial
lightweighting
and
topology optimization.
Horton
noted that
they'd eliminated
" large chunks " of
unnecessary material during
the redesign, but it was
far from perfect. " Every single
pound of material you can remove
from a spacecraft saves money on
launch costs, " he said. " That's why
we turned to nTopology for help with optimizing the design,
and then Velo3D to build it for us. "
Technicians from New York-based engineering and design
software company nTopology were quickly able to " shell out "
the injector body's blocky structure, leaving consistent wall
thicknesses around the complex fluid ports and channels while
eliminating stress concentration areas. They then filled the resultant
void with a thin lattice structure, increasing its strength
and stiffness while adding only minimal weight; because of its
" implicit modelling " capabilities, nTopology was able to cut the
quad injector's mass in half.
The
final
version
of Aerojet
Rocketdyne's " Mk.
II " RCS injector block,
shown in its as-built
orientation. (Photo: Velo3D)
The Aerojet Rocketdyne team sent the optimized part file to
The titanium thruster shown here was 3D printed on Velo3D's Sapphire system. It is
lighter, smaller, and more cost-effective to build. (Image: Velo3D)
Tech Briefs, June 2022
www.techbriefs.com
Velo3D's facility. It was there that the metal AM solution provider
gave Horton some good news. Due to the company's mastery
of 3D-printed titanium, the RCS injector body would weigh
much less than its Inconel counterpart. And as Velo3D technical
sales engineer Gene Miller noted, there would
be no need to build it at an angle or use the big,
blocky supports as in the first iteration.
Aerojet Rocketdyne now has an RCS thruster
that is 1/5 the mass, 1/2 the size, and 1/3 the
cost of a conventionally manufactured version.
And since it contains far fewer components, it's
also easier to assemble, with much less chance of
failure during operation.
" We've shown that by leveraging additive manufacturing
and advanced software technology, we're
able to interject affordability, reduce lead times,
and greatly improve upon system performance
compared to the way we built parts in the past, "
said Horton. " Our next step is to demo this proof
of concept, bringing it into actual field testing
and, hopefully, final qualification. From there, it's
headed into space. "
This article was contributed by Velo3D (Campbell, CA).
For more info visit http://info.hotims.com/82322-123.
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http://info.hotims.com/82322-123 http://www.techbriefs.com http://info.hotims.com/82322-850

Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022

Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Intro
Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Sponsor
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Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Cov1
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