ISRO's Experimental Run: Testing Redesigned 3D Printed Rocket Engine

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully tested its PS4 engine, redesigned using additive manufacturing. This approach has resulted in a single-piece engine that saves 97% of raw materials and reduces production time by 60%.

Traditionally manufactured through machining and welding processes, the PS4 engine has been crucial for the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) upper stage, providing thrust in vacuum conditions. By embracing the Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) concept, ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) redesigned the engine, employing Laser Powder Bed Fusion technology to consolidate 14 parts into a single unit and eliminate 19 weld joints.

This transformation significantly reduces raw material usage, from 565 kg of forgings and sheets to 13.7 kg of metal powder per engine. Additionally, the production time has been slashed by 60%, marking a huge leap in efficiency.

Manufactured by Indian industry leader WIPRO 3D, the engine underwent rigorous hot testing at ISRO’s Propulsion Complex in Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu. Prior to the full qualification test of 665 seconds, detailed simulations and characterizations were conducted to ensure performance reliability.

Following four successful developmental hot tests totaling 74 seconds, the engine demonstrated performance parameters in line with expectations during the full-duration test. ISRO plans to integrate this advanced AM PS4 engine into its regular PSLV program, signaling a significant stride in rocket propulsion technology.

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