The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) is taking centre stage in the development of Bloodhound SSC, a car designed to take the land speed record to over 1000mph, launching at the Science Museum in London today.
UWE is a founder partner supporting the Bloodhound project which is lead by Richard Noble, a previous world land speed record holder.
Engineers from UWE have produced the scale model for BLOODHOUND SSC, a car that aims not just to break the current land speed record but to achieve an astounding land speed of 1000 mph.
The Bloodhound Project launches today at the Science Museum when the scale wooden and plastic model, built by the team of UWE Engineers and technicians will be revealed. The Engineers have taken the CAD designs from the Bloodhound Design team, and used rapid prototyping and CNC routers to realise the first scale model of the car.
The Bloodhound Design team, lead by John Piper (JCB Dieselmax Chief Designer), has been working with UWE engineers and technicians in secret since January 2008, using the specialist facilities at UWE to help realise the formative stages of the project.
John Lanham, Head of Design and Engineering at UWE’s Faculty of Environment and Technology, said, “UWE will also lead the Bloodhound Project Higher Education engagement opportunities nationwide. We will be integrating the Bloodhound Project into the Engineering curriculum and provide research opportunities, run design competitions and organise public engagement events.
“The Bloodhound Project has been an inspiration to all of the technicians and staff involved so far and we’re thrilled to be an integral part of one of the biggest and most exciting engineering projects happening in the world today. Our students will benefit enormously from having such an iconic project happening on their doorstep.
“The beauty of Bloodhound is the openness of the project. So many engineering projects in the real world are subject to extreme confidentiality for obvious commercial reasons but Bloodhound’s development will be seen by millions as it evolves with live coverage on the web (www.BloodhoundSSC.com). This very openness of Bloodhound’s development presents unprecedented opportunities for us to prepare students for the real world.”
The early construction of the initial full scale mock-up of Bloodhound SSC, measuring over 12.8 metres, will also take place on UWE’s Frenchay Campus. The actual Bloodhound SSC car will be constructed at a specially designed visitors centre.
The design for the building adaptation has been lead by UWE architect James Burch and funding is under discussion with the South West Regional Development Agency. James has worked on many iconic design projects including the Gorilla Kingdom at London Zoo. He describes the design, “We will be working with an existing building measuring around 1,500 square metres and creating a suitable space that will include a workshop, design rooms, a viewing gallery and exhibition space. The majority of the space will be given over to the actual workshop as the car will need to take centre stage. The Visitors Centre will provide a space for schoolchildren and enthusiasts to explore engineering and will make almost theatrical the experience of seeing the vehicle grow into being.”
The full scale mock-up will be a breathtaking experience planned to be integrated in a schools outreach programme involving schools all over the UK. The full size model will mirror the actual car and is integral to project success.
Bloodhound will be 12.8 metres in length, 6.4 metres wide, weighing in at 6.4 tonnes. The wheels will need to survive a 10500 rpm proof test and the car will be powered by a Eurojet EJ200 delivering 20,000lbs thrust and a Falcon hybrid rocket delivering 27,000lbs thrust. The design speed is 1050 mph.
UWE Vice Chancellor, Steve West, explains why the University has decided to support this project, he said, “We share the vision for advancing Engineering in the UK and by welcoming the Bloodhound team onto our campus we aim to inspire our students and school pupils to get involved. We are proud that UWE is leading the Higher Education programme that will be developed alongside Bloodhound. There are huge engineering challenges that face us globally as we all strive towards a conversion to low carbon living.
“We are going to need a surge of interest to the STEM subjects in universities nationwide to help us meet a growing demand for engineering and technological expertise. A project like Bloodhound, will, we believe, inspire a new generation to visualise the potential of engineering and we want to invite this generation to take part in this exciting adventure to help shore up a sustainable future for us all.”
Richard Noble describes the rationale for the project, he said, “We have held the World Land Speed Record for the last 25 years and we still hold it. There is early competition developing and we have to defend our record. But our number one objective in this project is to create a national surge in interest in Engineering and STEM subjects. We have discovered during the Bloodhound SSC research programme that the education objective generates huge interest. During the early days of the ThrustSSC project the website ran 59 million accesses – even today the site runs 2,000 pages per day. We can share the Bloodhound SSC technology openly because there are minimal design restrictions for the Land Speed Record vehicles and therefore competitive cars tend to be completely different. Thus an advantage for one competitor is not necessarily of value to another. Besides, in this sport because the challenge is simply so tough, that we all try to help each other.
In short, we are responding to a national need for a high technology programme to advance engineering capability in Britain. The project is wholly dependent on innovative application of very advanced research and technology. We are confident that Bloodhound SSC will stimulate a national interest in engineering technology in schools.”
The Bloodhound Project launches today at the Science Museum in London at 08.00. The project is expected to run for three years. With the difficulties of concurrent funding, the plan is to complete the car during 2009 and achieve the 1000 mph record by 2011. Because of the 40% increase in speed and the lack of experience at these high Mach numbers the car may have to be redesigned and rebuilt a number of times in order to achieve the final target.
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