copper rocket launch

Collaborative partnership results in a world first for the space industry

A collaboration between 3T-am, EOS and US-based rocket start-up company, Launcher, has seen a world first in Additive Manufacturing with the production of a copper rocket engine. Revolutionising the way we can apply and use AM, we see a huge opportunity to enhance the performance of space components.

The use of a CuCrZr alloy enabled the rocket engine to benefit from its high conductivity and efficient cooling, leading to a longer chamber life and reduced costs when compared to conventional manufacturing methods. The copper part has proven to be twenty times more conductive than the original Inconel part, resulting in a coolant temperature of 280°C compared to 153°C for Inconel.

Being involved from the early stages of the project was critical as our Application Engineers were able to advise Launcher on how to design the part specifically for the AM process.

Launcher are currently testing a 500-pound thrust subscale version of their engine, but their goal is a 22,000-pound thrust engine, 40 times more than what they have now! We will therefore need much larger machines to build the parts on, and our affiliation with the EOS-owned company AMCM will enable us to produce the larger scale copper parts on a customised AM machine. With 1000mm Z-height parts, we’re seeing interest from other industry sectors including customers for electrical and cooling applications, where thermal efficiencies are improved through the combination of copper and AM’s design capabilities.

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We went from quote to successful test fire in less than eight weeks”

Max Haot

Founder and CEO of Launcher

How to industrialise the development of CuCrZr for AM

3T whitepaper

Recent developments in the AM industry have created an extraordinary opportunity for material and machine enhancements.