Because the FIA world land speed record rules are minimal, the challenger cars tend to be very different so as the technology is unlikely to be of value to a competitor there is no need to be secretive. This provides a unique opportunity to share the information with all sectors of education as well as the general public.
Visit the Bloodhound SSC project website to find out more.
The Bloodhound SSC project has a number of very clear objectives:
•To create a national surge in the popularity of science, technology, engineering and mathematics
•Inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists
•To create an iconic project requiring extreme research and technology which will benefit global manufacturing and engineering industries for years to come
•To achieve the first 1,000mph recorded on land
Without addressing the impending skills shortage in the industry we will have no chance of creating a low carbon economy or finding solutions to many of man’s greatest challenges.
Bloodhound SSC has been designed to run at speeds of up to 1,000mph and being jet and rocket powered, has 133,000bhp (about the same as 180 Formula 1 cars). The car is currently in the build phase of the programme and the first attempt is scheduled for 2017, followed by 800mph test runs in South Africa in Q2 2017. The car will then be reviewed and modified before aiming to reach 1,000mph at a later date.
The car will use three engines to enable it to reach 1,000mph.
Approximately half the thrust of Bloodhound SSC is provided by a 550bhp Jaguar V8 engine and a Eurojet EJ200, a highly sophisticated military turbofan normally found in the engine bay of a Eurofighter Typhoon.
The auxiliary power unit for Bloodhound SSC drives the rocket oxidiser pump which will supply 800 litres of High Test Peroxide (HTP) to three compact rockets in just 20 seconds - equivalent to 40 litres (over 9 gallons) - every second. The rockets are hybrid, developed by Norwegian specialists Nammo.
In order to accelerate the car to 1000mph, each Nammo hybrid rocket will provide a thrust of 30kN (6,000 lbs). This will be combined with the thrust from the EJ200 jet to generate about 212kN (47,700lbs) - that's eight times more power than all the cars on a Formula 1 starting grid combined.
The Bloodhound SSC shape is completely different to anything seen before. They need to minimise the cross-sectional area to minimise drag, but they also need a supersonic intake and a smart suspension system which will enable the car to run smoothly over the rough salt surfaces.
Because the rocket is positioned above the EJ200 and thus raises the centre of gravity, the rear wheels need to be positioned on suspension outrigged on draggy struts. In the past this was always seen as a huge aerodynamic disadvantage - one that made the famed Budweiser Rocket wheelbarrow at times - but today running computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with multi-million elements, we can compute the drag of the wheels and struts at Mach 1.4 and optimise the shape to minimise drag and shock effects.
The large fin ensures directional stability so the car travels in a straight line during the race. If the fin was to be too large, the car would be severely affected by crosswind and not enough fin means that the car will be directionally unstable. One of the key design issues is whether there is enough fin area to control the car directionally when the afterburner is brought in and the rocket is at low Mach numbers.
One of the main evolutions of the car profile since the project was launched has been the change in the tail configuration from a “T-Tail” to a cruciform tail; this was to create a structure that was less prone to flutter. The resultant loss in fin efficiency caused the fin to be enlarged and the strake added.
The car has to run through a wide speed range and keep the same loads on all four wheels. The little winglets above the wheels are fully dynamic trimmers making small adjustments in microseconds. They are not there to develop massive download as needed for a wheel driven circuit-racing car, but simply to maintain constant wheel load up to Mach 1.4.
The rear wheel covers are going to attract considerable attention as they look like something from a sci-fi movie. The team has to reduce supersonic drag - hence the pointed parts front and rear - and also protect the upper surface of the wheel from the oncoming airflow where, if unprotected, it would reach Mach 2.8. Inside the wheel arches there are also problems – the 900 mm (35.8 in) wheels are wasting energy winding up and whirling the airflow in the wheel bays, so the bays have to be ventilated to reduce power losses.
The braking system
Bloodhound SSC has three primary braking systems: airbrakes, parachutes and wheel brakes. These will be used one-by-one to slow the car down from its top speed of over 1,000mph, taking advantage of the inherent benefits of each one:
- 1000mph: close the throttle
- 800mph: start to deploy the airbrake
- 600mph: deploy first parachute
- 400mph: deploy a second chute if required
- 250mph: apply the wheel brakes.