A University of Sheffield student-led rocketry team’s 3D printed engine achieved the highest thrust out of any other UK collegiate team at a rocket test last week.

The test, completed on 14 March, saw Project Sunride successfully fire their rocket engine three times, which went on to also achieve a thrust of almost half a tonne, at the Airborne Engineering rocket tests.

Following the test, the team now hopes that this research can contribute to the UK’s growing space industry.

The engine was 3D printed by Aconity3D from aluminium and was tested for the first time this week.

Oliver Dew, the propulsion lead of the project, said: “We chose an aluminium alloy which is quite a novel material to use for this application, as it is really bad at high temperatures. So what is interesting about this is that we’ve managed to keep it cool enough to succeed in this project”.

“We’ve demonstrated some really good technology. It is something that is quite new”.

The team’s newest rocket engine has been built using technology they developed in July last year, when the group produced the first metallic 3D printed liquid rocket engine to be successfully tested by students in the UK.

The team will also visit Parliament on 19 March, to exhibit their new research and to present the rocket engine. From this, the team also aim to integrate the engine into a rocket which they will launch at the FAR experiments competition in the U.S.

Oliver Dew, propulsion lead of Project Sunride, Source: Denisse Pasco