The Bloodhound SSC is a car designed to set the world land speed record at over 1,000 mph. A replica of the car was on display at Glasgow’s Riverside Museum between the 26th and 28th of April, 2012.
In 2006, Lord Drayson, then the UK Minister of Science, met with Richard Noble OBE and Wing Commander Andy Green OBE to propose the Bloodhound project (Noble and Green have held the land speed record for a combined total of 29 years). Both agreed to the project, and it was officially announced in October 2008. Green, having set the current record in 1997, will drive the Bloodhound SSC in the attempt.
Almost half of the thrust of the car is provided by a Eurojet EJ200 jet engine, more commonly found on the Eurofighter Typhoon. The EJ200 will enable the car to reach 300 mph; a rocket will then give the car the rest of the thrust required to achieve 1,000 mph. Four 36-inch wheels, machined from solid aluminium, will have to withstand 50,000 g of centrifugal forces. According to Graham Lockwood, the project’s transport and logistics advisor, the wheels will have a very limited life span due to the forces involved.
Mr Lockwood, a very empassioned man, kept the crowds at the Riverside Museum enthralled as he spoke of the 12 tonnes of pressure the car would be under as it travelled at super-sonic speed. He discussed with members of the impromptu audience that the car was designed to be aerodynamically neutral – it would have neither up- nor down-thrust; winglets on the nose cone would help the car remain on the ground. The nose and cockpit of the car have been designed in such a way that slows the air down as it travels over the length of the car; if air at super-sonic speeds were to enter the EJ200 engine, it would tear the machinery apart. Kevlar has been woven into the skin of the car to prevent stones and other debris punching through the chassis.
Primarily, the project’s aim is not to break the land speed record, but to further scientific, engineering, computational and mathematical knowledge. Mr Lockwood was also very keen to point out that for many working on the Bloodhound SSC, their goal is to motivate and inspire future generations of engineers and scientists.
The Blodhound SSC’s attempt at the land speed record will take place as early as next year.