Tuesday, January 12, 2016

News: Engineers helping Bloodhound get up to speed


Experts from Maher Ltd and the the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing have joined together to help solve a problem encountered by BLOODHOUND SSC, the British engineering showcase that aims to break the world land speed record by achieving the supersonic speed of 1,000mph.

Maher is a specialist in high strength, high performance alloys used in sectors that include aerospace, oil and gas exploration and power generation, as well as motorsport. With facilities at Brightside Way, Sheffield and an office on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, the company has also acquired a plot at Harworth's R-evolution @ The AMP development.

Also based on the AMP, the AMRC has more than 40 partner organisations, comprising world leaders in the aerospace supply chain, key government offices and international academic institutions. It identifies, researches and solves advanced manufacturing problems.

The Bloodhound project hit seemingly intractable problems when the material performance needs for the shaft and nut components for the rocket pump exceeded anything freely available to the team.

Bloodhound uses a 550bhp supercharged Jaguar engine to drive the pump, which has to be able to supply 800 litres of High Test Peroxide (HTP) to the rocket in just 20 seconds – the equivalent of 40 litres or more than nine gallons every second.

The shaft and nut linking the engine to the pump has to be made of stainless steel to prevent the HTP reacting before it reaches the rocket, The pump was performing better than expected but with the increased performance came an increased load which the standard stainless material simply couldn't cope with.

The AMRC has already made and tested a number of complex key components for the project including the front suspension sub-assembly.

When its head of advanced structural testing, Phil Spiers, heard about the problems, he immediately thought of a new alloy, developed for aerospace applications and contacted AMRC partner Maher.

Maher was able to supply a sample of the material which tests showed was ideal for the pump application.

Phil Spiers (pictured) said: "Bloodhound is simply an exciting and dynamic engineering challenge. One of its key aims is to capture the imagination of young people and encourage them to pursue careers in science, engineering, technology and maths.

"It's all about showing how engineering can solve problems and is the foundation for everything that we can do to improve the world for the people who live in it.

"Thanks to our awareness of the advanced materials that are being developed and Maher's willingness to help, Bloodhound has been able to overcome another hurdle in the way of a successful record attempt."

Donna Saul, managing director at Maher, added: "We're proud of the products, services and quality we provide and committed to helping customers solve their toughest problems. Working with the AMRC to find a solution to keep Bloodhound on track was an ideal opportunity to show what we can do."

Maher Ltd
AMRC website

Images: AMRC


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