Rocket Engine Designed within UIREC Launched at SUSU

The SUSU research and laboratory facilities have been presented to the journalists of the Ural Federal District, who are interested in the activities of the UIREC. SUSU is working on several projects at once within the frameworks of the research and education centre, the key one of which is the development of an engine for a reusable launch vehicle. To show the successful results of SUSU, the start of an engine developed by the university scientists jointly with specialists from NIIMash (Nizhnyaya Salda) has been demonstrated.

South Ural State University has demonstrated the main sites where the projects are carried out within the Ural Interregional Research and Education Centre for Advanced Industrial Technologies and Materials. Journalists from Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Kurgan visited key laboratories and centres as part of a press tour organized on March 25th

“Our key project is the development of an engine for the Korona launch vehicle, but we are carrying out a large number of projects for enterprises in the Chelyabinsk Region, which will be relevant for all enterprises in the Ural Federal District. Our task is not only to create an effective technology, but also to train specialists who will be able to continue the implementation of projects in the fields of REC in the future,” said Rector of South Ural State University Aleksandr Shestakov.

Supercomputer Simulation Laboratory has become the starting point. SUSU has two of the most powerful supercomputers in the Ural Federal District and the SKIF Ural computing cluster, which carry out more than 250 studies a year. It is in the Supercomputer Simulation Laboratory that work on each project begins. The performed calculations help to reduce the number of physical tests of finished designs, save time and resources.

A striking example of a project carried out using the SUSU supercomputer is the Ecomonitor environmental risk management complex. It helps not only to accurately determine the amount of pollutants, but also the sources of pollution.

The issues of materials science are dealt with by the staff of the Nanotechnology Research and Education Centre. The REC creates nanomaterials and conducts research on widely used substances: metals and alloys, ceramics and glasses, construction, polymer, composite and others. The equipment of the Nanotechnology REC is used to carry out interdisciplinary projects.

For example, using the facilities of the centre, a significant part of the laboratory tests of the project for the processing of man-made wastes from copper smelting enterprises has been carried out. Its purpose is to extract useful components from slag, which can be returned to production, and the remains can be sent to proppant production.

In addition, SUSU has presented the project “Production of honeycomb filler from prepregs based on carbon, glass and basalt fibres by continuous moulding”. It aims to produce material with specified characteristics. The technical feature of this project is a fundamentally new approach to continuous moulding. The developers of the project, using various sheets of raw materials (prepregs) at the input of the technological chain, are able to regulate the mechanical characteristics of modern composite materials, optimizing them for specific tasks.

The physical characteristics of the materials being created are checked at the Mechanical Engineering Research Institute, and product samples are also created there. The research institute includes laboratories for composite materials, design of shells for electronic control systems, mechanical engineering, physical modelling of thermomechanical processes, experimental mechanics, as well as a resource centre for special metallurgy and a centre for computer engineering.

The equipment installed at the Mechanical Engineering Research Institute helps to develop new parts, create them, and test the properties of products experimentally. For example, the machine tools have been used to produce components for the “Arctic bus”, which is a transport designed to work in the Far North. There are no analogues of such a bus today.

“In emergency situations, the life support cabin of such a bus allows people to withstand environmental conditions until help arrives. Even if the bus falls through the ice, it can remain buoyant for a certain amount of time. SUSU specialists are working on the life support cabin, calculating its stability in emergency situations, solving transport management issues,” explained Ramil Zakirov, Candidate of Sciences (Engineering), Director of the Mechanical Engineering Research Institute.

The laboratories of Aerospace Engineering Research and Education Centre have become the final point of the press tour. In the centre of collective use in the power industry, the patterns and modes of operation of power supply systems are studied. The work is carried out in one of the key fields of the New Energy Research and Education Centre: scientists use solar panels, installations for the consumption of land energy, a wind turbine.

In addition to the centre, the Aerospace Engineering REC includes laboratories for micropowder technologies, impulse systems and high-speed processes and the Education and Research Laboratory Complex for Liquid Rocket Engine. It tests the layout of the new rocket engine, works out and optimizes its parameters.

The start of the liquid propellant rocket engine has been demonstrated to the participants in the press tour. Process control is provided by a video surveillance system, with its help, the complex nodes are controlled and the mode of its operation is debugged.

Sixteen of these engines will be installed in a propulsion demonstrator for a single-stage reusable launch vehicle. The project "Research, development and creation of demonstrators of a propulsion system with a central body, an artificial intelligence control system of a rocket and space complex with a fully reusable single-stage launch vehicle and a universal space platform" is a signature one by the UIREC. At the moment, an application for a patent is being processed.

“The UIREC combines three serious fields: science, production, and power. This is the first time such a merger has been achieved at the global level, and this is what, in my opinion, will lead the project to success. We are delighted that our program has been selected as the winner out of twenty submitted initiatives. All events within the UIREC are held in accordance with this program, and we are aimed at obtaining results that are important not only for individual regions, but also for the Ural Federal District as a whole,” commented the Vice-Rector for Research and Education Centres and Complex Scientific and Engineering Programmes Sergey Vaulin.

SUSU is the first of the universities included in the UIREC to present its laboratories and centres. The main goal of the event is to get acquainted with the research and laboratory facilities, which are used for the implementation of interdisciplinary projects.

South Ural State University (SUSU) is a university of digital transformations, where innovative research is conducted in most of the priority fields of science and technology development. In accordance with the strategy of scientific and technological development of the Russian Federation, the university is focused on the development of big scientific interdisciplinary projects in the field of digital industry, materials science, and ecology. In the Year of Science and Technology, it will take part in the competition under the Priority-2030 program. The university acts as a regional project office of the World-class Ural Interregional Research and Education Centre


Daria Tsymbaliuk, photo by Tatiana Andreeva
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