Composite Motor: A (somewhat) Brief History

Heyo, if you’re new to composite motor or just want to see about our work, this is the page for you! Here you’ll find information about our research, design, manufacturing, and testing of composite motors

Why Composites?

We started the mission to develop composite motors in December of 2018 believing it to be the key to a successful spaceshot. Based on the performance of our solid fuel, we calculated that a traditional rocket motor with a metal casing and graphite nozzle would need to be 12 inches in diameter and over 18 feet tall to reach space. However, by replacing metal and graphite with carbon fiber we can cut enough weight to decrease our motor to 8 inches in diameter and 12 feet tall. This reduces the size of our motor and how much propellant we need to make by 71%. A no-brainer, right? Well yes but actually no. No student group had ever made a single-piece composite rocket motor. In fact, as far as we know the only people do ever do so are the Department of Defence who use similar technology to make missiles. That is until February of 2019 when we fired the first student-made single-piece composite motor ever.

Our first composite motor. Forgive the image quality, we were scrappy about filming.

Since then, we have pursued dozens of different manufacturing techniques, exotic materials, and 12 additional static tests. SRL is the most advanced student composites developer in the world, and you can learn more about our motor development in this document.

Want a crash course? Check out the presentation Zach and I put together in November of 2019 here.

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