Breakthrough technology designed to cut the weight of rockets is being carried out at Westcott.
Total Carbide is working on technology to transform the throat nozzles which provide the right amount of thrust to propel rockets and satellites.
Currently its throat nozzles are made from heavy tungsten alloys to provide sufficient strength and heat and wear resistance.
But now the company is adding Hexotene, a material developed by Total Carbide’s parent company Versarien into a heat resistant ceramic which will be used to provide a more lightweight solution.
The development came about after Total Carbide Managing Director Andreas Hohmann attended the monthly Space Innovators networking event at the Westcott Space Cluster.
There he found out about the national Space Research and Innovation Network for Technology (SPRINT) programme which will help with testing of the new material.
SPRINT will provide Total Carbide with funded access to space-related expertise and facilities at The Open University.
With SPRINT support, the company will work with StressMap, the materials characterisation and measurement services business unit of The Open University, to test and measure new materials designed to reduce the weight of the throat nozzle component by improving the material properties.
Andreas said: “The new material will provide us with stronger and lighter throat nozzle products to take to markets such as aerospace and medical so accurate and reliable testing and measurement will be key to the production process.
“We chose to work with The Open University through the funded SPRINT programme because of its residual stress expertise and the facilities available at the Materials Testing Laboratory, which can’t be matched cost-effectively by a commercial organisation.”
The £4.8m SPRINT programme provides access to university space expertise and facilities to help businesses develop new commercial products for space and other key sectors.
It is supported by Research England and is being delivered by a consortium of five of the UK’s leading space universities, led by the University of Leicester and including the University of Edinburgh, The Open University, University of Southampton and University of Surrey.
For more information on the SPRINT programme, visit www.sprint.ac.uk.