Alloy Heat Treatment team up with Quicksilver World Water Speed Record Challenge team to regain title


Dudley based Alloy Heat Treatment (AHT) is collaborating in the Quicksilver World Water Speed Record Challenge team's bid to regain the prestigious title for Britain.

The Quicksilver team is developing a complex sheet-aluminium fabricated structure called the trunnion hoop, a key element of the upper hull of their boat, and AHT will apply heat-treatment processes to make the component as strong as possible, giving the UK a better chance of bringing home the record.

Quicksilver's aim is to win back the water-speed title some 45 years after America. Then Australia took it from the UK in 1967. Applying the same principles as the Bloodhound SSC land-speed record attempt, the project has united a team of highly-skilled volunteers. Both iconic projects are showcasing some of the UK’s finest manufacturing talent.

The technological and environmental aspects of the water and land speed projects are set to encourage the next generation of engineers. The unique technology implemented is being shared amongst a diverse workforce involved in chasing both records. The Quicksilver and Bloodhound projects are aiming to put British manufacturing back on the map.

Ian Perks, sales manager at Alloy Heat Treatment said: “Nigel MacKnight contacted me a few months ago to introduce his project to Alloy Heat Treatment. After an impressive presentation from Nigel to the fellow Directors, it was clear to us all that specialised heat treatment was essential. We feel confident that we can apply our expertise in giving this prestigious project the best possible chance of victory. Moving forward, Mark Percox then spent some time with Nigel to understand what exactly was required from the structure, with a treatment being formulated. Alloy Heat Treatment are delighted to sponsor the Quicksilver project. We wish all the team well in their efforts to bring the record back to the UK shores and are proud to be showcasing the best of British manufacturing.”

The project took shape in 2005 and is being led by its founder, Nigel Macknight. Quicksilver’s philosophy is to implement modern technology in design, construction and operation within a state of the art boat capable of speeds of over 350 mph. Once the vessel has been thoroughly tested, the attempt to break the world record will take place on the UK’s Coniston Water.

Nigel MacKnight, founder of the Quicksilver project said: “The trunnion hoop is a major load-bearing element made of 6082-T6 alloy of three different skin thicknesses. Post-fabrication heat treatment of this component will increase its strength considerably, with no attendant weight penalty. An important target for Quicksilver, with AHT's help, is to achieve a high power-to-weight ratio for the boat through as many phases of the construction process as possible.”

Knowledge is key and in this case, the impressive voluntary contribution comprises a team of highly-qualified individuals within their own specific fields – for example, structures specialists and electronics and propulsion specialists – all playing their part. An assortment of big and small firms have also contributed or pledged equipment, materials and services to the ambitious project. The strong allegiance within Britain’s manufacturing community instils the hope that the Quicksilver World Water Speed Record Challenge team, alongside Alloy Heat Treatment, can achieve their goal.