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Progress in Additively Manufactured Copper-Alloy GRCop-84, GRCop-42, and Bimetallic Combustion Chambers for Liquid Rocket EnginesAdditive Manufacturing (AM) has significantly evolved over the last decade for use in the aerospace industry, particularly for liquid rocket engines. AM offers a considerable departure from traditional manufacturing to rapidly fabricate components with complex internal features. High performance liquid rocket engine combustion chambers that operate in a high heat flux environment are fabricated using a copper-alloy liner with a series of integral coolant channels. Copper-alloys provide the necessary conductivity and material strength for adequate design margins offering high performance without the need for film coolant. Copper-alloys present unique challenges to properly melt the powder in laser-based AM processes due to their high reflectivity and conductivity. Starting in 2014, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and Glenn Research Center (GRC) have developed a process for AM of GRCop (Copper- Chrome-Niobium) alloys using Selective Laser Melting (SLM). GRCop, originally developed at GRC, is a high conductivity, high-strength, dispersion strengthened copper-alloy for use in high-temperature, high heat flux applications. NASA has completed significant material characterization and testing, along with hot-fire testing, to demonstrate that GRCop-42 and GRCop-84 alloys are suitable for use in combustion chambers. Additional development and testing has been completed on AM bimetallic chambers using GRCop-84 liners and superalloy jackets, fabricated using two Directed Energy Deposition (DED) processes: Electron Beam Freeform Fabrication (EBF³) and Blown Powder DED. NASA completed hot-fire testing on various AM chambers using GRCop-84, GRCop-42, and bimetallic chambers in Liquid Oxygen (LOX)/Hydrogen, LOX/Methane, and LOX/Kerosene propellants.

Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Gradl, Paul R.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Protz, Christopher S.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Ellis, David L.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Greene, Sandy E.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
December 1, 2019
Publication Date
October 21, 2019
Subject Category
Space Processing
Chemistry And Materials (General)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
International Astronautical Congress (IAC)(Washington, DC)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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