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Aberlink Accuracy Assists Bloodhound Land Speed Record Attempt

Bloodhound LSR

Bloodhound Project -
Land Speed Record Attempt


Axiom too CNC CMM Case Study

The targets for the advanced Bloodhound project are simple yet astonishing, to set a new land speed record and if possible to achieve an amazing 1000mph.

To accomplish these incredible goals, the F.I.A procedures dictate that Bloodhound must complete two runs in opposite directions within one hour, with the average speed of the two runs regarded as the speed achieved. At 15 deg. Centigrade, typical of the temperatures experience while record breaking, the sonic velocity is 761.2 mph. If Bloodhound achieves its ambitious 1000mph target, the car will have exceeded speeds of 1.3 times the speed of sound.

Few, if any of the enduring world record attempts capture the public's imagination in the way that the motorsport land speed record does. Even to the most casual observer, the combination of the most up to date technology and the bravery of a driver, triumphing over the fundamental elements of distance and time, seems to embody humankind's indomitable spirit and relentless pursuit of progress.

The tradition began as a battle between different types of propulsion. First electricity and then steam struggled for supremacy, after that came the era of the internal combustion engine. This was superseded by its much more powerful aeronautical counterpart, that too, was consigned to the pages of history by today's turbojet and rocket engines. It was this advanced technology that propelled, Thrust SSC, driven by Andy Green, to a remarkable 763.035 mph on October 15th 1997, resulting in Green becoming the first man to exceed the speed of sound at ground level. Andy Green remains the only man to have traveled at supersonic speed in a land based vehicle.

In the continuing, inspiring spirit of the tradition, the ambitious new target for the Bloodhound is an amazing 1,000 mph, this objective represents an increase on the current mark of 31% To achieve this challenging goal, the project team have chosen a jet and hybrid rocket propulsion combination. The rocket will deliver the raw power required, without the drag that results from an air intake. Although, the disadvantage of the use of a rocket is that it is an on/off device. By using rocket power alone, the team would have great difficulty hitting and holding the selected Mach velocity that would allow the team's aerodynamicists to gain their important data. Also, at these extreme speeds, Mach numbers need to be raised in small, incremental steps. To accomplish the all important control over power, the impressive Eurojet EJ200 is used. Compared to its impressive power output, the advanced Typhoon engine is incredibly small and light, and by throttling the jet, full control over the output of the combination of rocket and jet is accomplished.

Located in the middle of the Bloodhound is an 800 bhp, Formula 1 race engine which acts as an APU, delivering hydraulic power for starting the EJ200 and for pumping the High Test Peroxide (HTP) through to the Falcon rocket. As with all other aspects of the ambitious project, the numbers associated with this pumping system are extremely impressive, it is designed to move a ton of HTP through to the rocket catalyst in just 22 seconds, at a pressure of 1200 psi.

The shape of the Bloodhound is completely different to any vehicle that has preceded it. The cross-sectional area is minimised to reduce drag, whilst it features a supersonic intake and a smart suspension system that will enable the car to run smoothly over rough salt surfaces. As the rocket is positioned above the EJ200, raising the centre of gravity, for stability the rear wheels are located on outrigged struts. Previously this configuration was seen as a huge aerodynamic disadvantage, although today, running computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with multi-million elements, the team are able to compute the drag of the wheels and struts at Mach 1.4 and optimise the shape to negate the affects of drag.

The radical, technical nature of the Bloodhound project has been made possible by the undoubted expertise of the team's engineers, and the considerable assistance and cooperation of both UK academia and industry. The high-precision requirements of the venture means that an absolute engineering prerequisite is the ability to undertake extremely accurate measurements at each stage of development and manufacture. Having carefully considered the alternative technologies, an advanced Axiom too Coordinate Measuring Machine from Aberlink Innovative Metrology, was chosen as the high-precision workhorse of the project. Bloodhound engineer, Conor La Grue explained. "Now in constant use, our Aberlink CMM has proven to be very easy to use. Following a short learning curve, each of our technicians are now able to undertake extremely complex measuring routines and achieve very accurate results extremely quickly. In addition to the machine's impressive hardware, Aberlink's software is proving to be both comprehensive in its scope and very easy to use, a common operation being inputting data and checking against models."

"As the mechanical failure of any of the constituent parts of the Bloodhound could have severe consequences, we carry out meticulous dimensional checks on all components, keeping painstaking records of all of our measured data. The Axiom too CMM is making a significant contribution to our precise measurement and data capture efforts, and to the overall progress of the Bloodhound project."