Fastest Car In The World
First of all, It is quite difficult to trace the roots of mankind’s love for speed. Maybe the invention of the wheel might have fuelled the desire to achieve more and more speed or it might be congenital…Don’t know for sure! But one thing is quite certain that in the 21st century, as the advances in science and technology are galloping ahead, this madness for speed knows no limits…! One such amazing project entitled Bloodhound SSC aims to develop a car which will set a world record of high speed. Their target is 1000mph (Approx. 1609 km/h)! It is something which no one has ever tried to achieve!
The Powerhouse of bloodhound SSC:
To achieve this herculean speed, Bloodhound SSC is powered by three different power sources. They are- a jet engine, a hybrid rocket system, and an auxiliary V8 engine. The turbofan type jet engine fitted on Bloodhound SSC is Rolls Royce made EUROJET EJ200. Generally, Eurofighter Typhoon planes use this type of engine. EJ200 gives the initial push to the vehicle and takes it to a speed of 300mph (Approx. 480kmph). The most critical aspect of the jet engine installation was perhaps the design of the air intake system. Jet engines are very sensitive to the air-supply. And, to have it the exact way for a vehicle running at 1000mph was not an easy feat! After numerous CFD simulations and trials, the engineers have finally succeeded in achieving this. To take the vehicle further to 1000mph, the system ignites the hybrid rocket manufactured by Nammo which gives a thrust of 123.75kN (27,500lbf).
Apart from these two mammoth sources of power, there is a supercharged V8 Jaguar Land Rover engine. This engine produces a power of 550 bhp and serves as an auxiliary power unit. The main function of this engine is to drive an oxidizer pump which supplies the fuel to the rocket.
The chassis of Bloodhound SSC comprises of three main sections. The front end, which contains the control unit and the driver, is of carbon fiber. The engineers divided the rear end of the chassis into two sections- the upper and the lower chassis. The upper chassis holds the jet engine in place while the lower chassis provides space for mounting the rocket, auxiliary power source etc. This Aluminium and Titanium structure adds strength but keeps the weight in check. The vehicle weighs close to 6.5 tons and its wheelbase is nearly 9 meter.
Can you imagine how the wheels of this wonder car (which are supposed to rotate at a speed of 10,200 rpm) would be? Don’t imagine any of our regular tires…! No rubber can withstand this enormous speed as the wheels of Bloodhound SSC are of solid Aluminium (Al 7037 grade to be more specific). They do not contain even a single piece of rubber. Besides, there are four such wheels in total. Each of them weighs 105 kg in comparison to an F1 car’s wheel which weighs merely 15 kg. While rotating at the full speed, a force of 50,000G i.e. 50,000 times the gravity would be acting on these wheels. Fascinating isn’t it?
The intended run:
However, the planned run of this vehicle will last for approximately 55 seconds. In this run, it could achieve a speed of 1000mph or more. After achieving that speed, the power given to the vehicle is cut off in a certain sequence. In addition, when the speed of the vehicle reduces to approx. 1300kmph, the air brake would come into action. This air brake i.e. a parachute would reduce the speed of the vehicle to 400kmph by using the air drag. At this stage, the specially designed disc brakes will apply to reduce the speed further.
To be there in a vehicle for this ‘less than a minute affair’ is not an easy job for wing commander Andy Green- the driver of Bloodhound SSC. While the accelerating force of 2.5 G (2.5 times the gravity) will act on his body making the blood flow to his head and while decelerating, the force of 3G (three times the gravity) will act on him making the blood flow to his feet. In such a situation, there is a danger of the driver getting unconscious. So, he is undergoing rigorous training to avoid any such danger.
Furthermore, at present, the engineers are testing various systems of this vehicle to ensure their suitability for the job assigned. In addition to setting up a land speed record, this project had an additional and equally important objective. It was to develop the interest of students in basic science. In conclusion, this project has also given us a chance to learn so many things about engineering technology. This certainly is the biggest achievement of this project!
We wish the Bloodhound SSC team all the very best for all their future endeavors!!
Read more about the Bloodhound SSC here.