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Proceedings Paper

Structural strengthening of rocket nozzle extension by means of laser metal deposition
Author(s): M. Honoré; L. Brox; M. Hallberg
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Paper Abstract

Commercial space operations strive to maximize the payload per launch in order to minimize the costs of each kg launched into orbit; this yields demand for ever larger launchers with larger, more powerful rocket engines. Volvo Aero Corporation in collaboration with Snecma and Astrium has designed and tested a new, upgraded Nozzle extension for the Vulcain 2 engine configuration, denoted Vulcain 2+ NE Demonstrator The manufacturing process for the welding of the sandwich wall and the stiffening structure is developed in close cooperation with FORCE Technology. The upgrade is intended to be available for future development programs for the European Space Agency's (ESA) highly successful commercial launch vehicle, the ARIANE 5. The Vulcain 2+ Nozzle Extension Demonstrator [1] features a novel, thin-sheet laser-welded configuration, with laser metal deposition built-up 3D-features for the mounting of stiffening structure, flanges and for structural strengthening, in order to cope with the extreme load- and thermal conditions, to which the rocket nozzle extension is exposed during launch of the 750 ton ARIANE 5 launcher. Several millimeters of material thickness has been deposited by laser metal deposition without disturbing the intricate flow geometry of the nozzle cooling channels. The laser metal deposition process has been applied on a full-scale rocket nozzle demonstrator, and in excess of 15 kilometers of filler wire has been successfully applied to the rocket nozzle. The laser metal deposition has proven successful in two full-throttle, full-scale tests, firing the rocket engine and nozzle in the ESA test facility P5 by DLR in Lampoldshausen, Germany.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 February 2012
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8239, High Power Laser Materials Processing: Lasers, Beam Delivery, Diagnostics, and Applications, 823905 (7 February 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.905603
Show Author Affiliations
M. Honoré, Force Institute (Denmark)
L. Brox, Volvo Aero Corp. (Sweden)
M. Hallberg, Volvo Aero Corp. (Sweden)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8239:
High Power Laser Materials Processing: Lasers, Beam Delivery, Diagnostics, and Applications
Eckhard Beyer; Timothy Morris, Editor(s)

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