Additive Manufacturing by Mixing Elemental Powders
Italian Ministry of Economic Development
Prog. n. F/050320/02/X32 CUP: B38I17000430008 COR: 309480.
Feasibility, Development and Manufacturing of the Combustion Chamber and Fuel Nozzle installed on VEGA-E Space Launcher, through the Additive Manufacturing using an advanced mixing process to obtain custom powders.
48 Months Start - Y2017

AMMEP Project - Partners

Currently, Combustion Chamber and Fuel Nozzle of VEGA-E are realized through a brazing process between copper liner and nickel alloy outer shell, or by a galvanic electroforming process of nickel layer on the copper liner. By this process the thrust chamber requires high number of working hours and a discontinuous combination of the properties of the two materials is obtained.

AMMEP Project - Partners

VEGA-E Space Combustion Chamber

The above mentioned problems were solved with the development of an advanced mixing technology for metal powders (based on copper alloy), such as to guarantee the homogenization of different metals in a fluidized bed assisted with acoustic field.

Cu-IN718 Mixed - VEGA-E Combustion Chamber and Fuel Nozzle - Aerospace
Cu-IN718 Mixed - VEGA-E Fuel Nozzle - Aerospace

VEGA-E Space Fuel Nozzle

After powder mixing phase, the manufacturing of ITEMs is obtained using ALM (Additive Layer Manufacturing) technology and CNC Machining for finishing. The ITEMs, realized during the project, have a continuous structure in which the single metal elements, homogeneously diffused in each other, enhance the characteristics of the object created.

By this project, it was possible to realize and certificate a custom alloy, not present on the market, for space applications.
The new process allows an highly time manufacturing reduction (more than 25%) and, because the parts are obtained in one single stage, it decreases the possibility of having components defects.