Innovation That Matters

The 3D-printed rocket engine | Photo source Hyperganic

A 3D-printed rocket engine is prototyped

Architecture & Design

The AI-designed engine is printed as a single piece of nickel alloy, using an algorithm capable of printing objects with different densities

Spotted: German digital design experts, Hyperganic, have created an artificial intelligence-designed rocket engine prototype. Unusually, the engine forms a single piece and is produced by 3D-printing the company’s proprietary design. The algorithm is capable of printing objects with different densities, which is crucial in the development of rocket parts, for every reduction in weight helps improve in-flight performance.

Hyperganic’s design is readable only by its own algorithm, and the prototype combines cooling channels and combustion chambers in one piece. This greatly reduces the potential risk of human error in construction and increases the part’s strength, by removing the need for welding. The current version of the engine uses nickel alloy and there may be other materials that prove useable in the future development of the technology.

Currently, the company is having discussions with a range of aeronautical organisations about the possible future and additional uses for the design and printing technique. The AI makes it likely that other rocket parts could be similarly constructed with lighter weights and fewer components and produced via distributed manufacturing. Additionally, the algorithm will learn from the test results of each piece and appropriately improve the next version.

Springwise has spotted several recent innovations aiming to make space exploration more sustainable and accessible, including a build-your-own satellite kit and a reusable space vehicle.

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