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A prototype of the BLOODHOUND SSC nose cone, made using Renishaw additive manufacturing technology.
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The Bloodhound Project — “…the engineering adventure for the 21st century”
Engineering and additive manufacturing trade show regulars will be familiar with the blue and orange livery of the BLOODHOUND SSC (supersonic car).
BLOODHOUND is a feat of engineering technology mastery, not least because of its 3D-printed components, and now a paper on the aerodynamic challenges the team behind this powerful machine have had to overcome has been published.
Swansea University's College of Engineering has compiled a document on the characteristics of travelling at 1,000 miles per hour. Simulations have investigated how the car will cope with supersonic rolling ground, rotating wheels and shock waves when the BLOODHOUND finally begins its potentially record-breaking voyage at Hakskeen Pan, South Africa in 2015, where it will run high speed trials of up to 800 mph and will attempt 1,000 mph in 2016.
In order for it to achieve this milestone, designers have created the most advanced fusion of space, F1 and aeronautical engineering technology ever attempted and the team has had to address issues such as drag minimisation, vertical aerodynamic force control and other issues.
Additive manufacturing pioneer Renishaw has put its expertise to the use in creating key prototype components for the BLOODHOUND. Renishaw's advanced technology has been employed in building the nose cone, which has to survive forces of up to 12 tonnes per sq m. To endure such pressure, the top has been made using titanium and will be bonded to the BLOODHOUND's monocoque body, forming to front half of the car.
Lead Engineer of the BLOODHOUND project Dan Johns said in 2013: "We believe that the key benefit of using an additive manufacturing process to produce the nose tip is the ability to create a hollow, but highly rigid titanium structure and to vary the wall thickness of the tip to minimise weight. To machine this component conventionally would be extremely challenging, result in design compromises and waste as much as 95 per cent of the expensive raw material."
Computational fluid dynamics (CFC) has been used as the primary tool to guide the aerodynamic design of BLOODHOUND. Chris Rose and Dr Ben Evans' work in the CFD of the project have helped to guide the design by developing models of the aerodynamic flow BLOODHOUND will experience.
Moreover, the ambitiousness of attempting to succeed the land speed record by more than 30 per cent means the BLOODHOUND team has had to work almost fro scratch to create a new record-breaking vehicle, adopting an entirely new way of thinking, especially when it came to keeping the nose down at the front and stopping the machine from taking off.
Simulating the aerodynamic characteristics of the Land Speed Record vehicle BLOODHOUND SSC by Dr Ben Evans and Chris Rose is due to be published by the Journal of Automobile Engineering.