Bloodhound – the 1,000 MPH car

Date: Wednesday 15 Jan 2014
Time: 18:30 – refreshments started at 18:30
Speaker: Richard Nobel!!! –
Location: We were at Warwick University – WMG


Ever wondered how to move faster than Usain Bolt? The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) is a jet and rocket powered car and is being designed and built to achieve 1,000 mph (just over 1,600 kph) – which would break the land speed record by 33%, the largest ever margin!

You missed a really good meeting; Richard Nobel himself turned up to talk to us! He gave a brief overview of the land speed record (starting at 39mph) covering the progessive increases to around 400mph, noting the limits of wheel driven vehicles (drive shafts, gear boxes handling the power, getting the power to the wheels, getting the power to the ground), and the eventual move to thrust driven (jet and rocket powered) cars, and how the Americans excelled by belt-and-braces techniques. Hence when Richard came into the field and started wind-tunnel modelling this was revolutionary… one thing the models didn’t show but the post-run data did was that the front of Thrust 2 was getting progressively lighter …7mph more and the front would have lifted.
Thust SSC was an entirely different animal, the team used CFM (Computational Fluid Modelling) at a time when computers could barely handle it… hence lots of borrowed time on sponsors’ computers. They eventually proved the mathematical models with a scale model mounted on a rocket sled …don’t blink or you’ll miss it… Thrust SSC ran and Richard was standing mid-point by the measured mile when the car passed as supersonic speed… very loud!

And now, he’s moved up a gear and aiming for an incremental leap to 1,000mph… not just the land speed record but the low-level flight record as well!!! Apparently the tail fin is the most complex part, never been done before… and a lot of people have sponsored it.
Richard also discussed the role the internet provided in getting the publicity out there, crowd-sourcing providing the fuel to get the car to the desert. Apparently the BBC were not interested in helping with publicity, hence the internet was a boon.
Richard also discussed some of the design challenges of Bloodhound SSC, such as the still-point for the air-speed indicator .. there is no still air around the car but the other tube can go into the point at the front…the still point is created using a vacuum flask with a tap… balance the air pressure before each run by opening the tap and letting air in/out…
Richard also told us about how they got the jet engine…with the help of Rolls-Royce.
Thanks to Richard Nobel for a really interesting evening..and the personalised autographed posters…

Click here to go to the Bloodhound website

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