Swansea University helps Noble, Green to target 1000mph; New record to inspire next generation of engineers and scientists
Engineers and researchers at Swansea University have joined forces with a team of scientists led by Richard Noble OBE for a three-year science and engineering adventure, which will result in taking the World Land Speed Record to 1,000mph.
Known as ‘The BLOODHOUND Project’, the partnership will result in three incremental World Land Speed record-breaking attempts over the three-year period from 2009 - 2011 and has been designed to inspire more young people across the UK to take up engineering, science, technology and mathematics (STEM) subjects; thereby engaging a whole new generation of science and engineering talent.
BLOODHOUND SSC (Super Sonic Car) will be driven by Wing Commander Andy Green, who set the current World Land Speed record of 763 mph at the controls of ThrustSSC in 1997.
The new car will travel at five times the speed of a Formula One car; is powered by a Eurojet EJ200 engine and measures 12.8 meters in length. Weighing in at 6.4 tonnes, BLOODHOUND SSC will also feature 900mm wheels required to spin at up to 10,000rpm (revolutions per minute) and subject to 50,000 times the force of gravity at the rim when in motion.
Announcing the launch of the Project at the Science Museum in London, Lord Drayson, Minister of State for Science and Innovation, said: “Breaking world land speed records is no longer about strapping an engine onto a buggy and pointing it at the horizon. Today, the application of new and exciting science and technology is the only way to achieve such results. If the BLOODHOUND SSC is to reach its target of Mach 1.4 equivalent to 1000mph, the team behind it will need to solve some ambitious challenges in science, engineering and maths. This project will result in tangible scientific developments that will benefit all, for example in areas such as fuel efficiency and safety, which could be used in the cars we drive in the future.”
“There has never been anything like BLOODHOUND SSC before,” said Richard Noble OBE, Project Director. “It is undoubtedly the most stimulating and challenging programme I’ve ever been involved with. The next three years are going to be tough testing and damned exciting!”
Swansea University, through its multidisciplinary and innovative engineering technology is at the heart of the project. BLOODHOUND SSC is being aerodynamically designed by Swansea’s School of Engineering experts who have pioneered Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software for this purpose. Research at Swansea’s School of Environment and Society has identified potential test sites for the record attempt and staff members from the University’s Institute of Innovation are working as BLOODHOUND Design Engineers on vehicle design and engineering management.
Speaking at the launch, Swansea University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Richard B Davies, said, “This is a proud moment for Swansea University. Through our world-leading engineering research, Swansea is now at the heart of an ambitious world record attempt that will draw new attention to the excitement of engineering and create surging interest in STEM education and careers.”
“STEM subjects underpin and shape every aspect of our society and in order to ensure that Wales and the UK remain at the cutting edge of new technology, we must continue to attract increasing numbers of bright young people into STEM at the School and University level who can then progress to a leadership role in technology based industries.”
“Engineering has been strong at Swansea University since our foundation in 1920. We are delighted to be centrally involved in promoting Engineering and Science through this challenging and high profile project.”
Swansea’s CFD technology can simulate on a computer the aerodynamic flows that affect the vehicle at extreme speeds and can predict how BLOODHOUND SSC will perform under extreme conditions. These predictions will then be used to optimise the aerodynamic design of the supersonic car, thereby helping the car achieve the 1000mph target.
Dr. Ben Evans, Research Assistant at Swansea’s School of Engineering and member of the BLOODHOUND SSC design team, said, “The CFD technology that will drive BLOODHOUND SSC to the 1000mph mark was developed by Professors Kenneth Morgan and Oubay Hassan MBE at Swansea‘s School of Engineering and validated with the ThrustSSC world record in 1997. That technology has been further refined and customised to address BLOODHOUND SSC’s specific challenges such as for instance to ensure that it reaches 1000mph safely. And I hope that I will be able to pass this baton on to the next generation of engineers and researchers to develop even further. “
Dr. Adrian Luckman, Reader at the School of Environment and Society, has conducted a global search of geographical locations suitable for the record attempts by using a Geographical Information System approach and satellite remote sensing data products. He has provided a list of 36 sites based on area and surface characteristics from which the optimum location will be selected.
The BLOODHOUND Project also benefits from expert engineering project management and vehicle design contributed by Bjorn Rodde and Will Krawszik of Swansea University’s Institute of Innovation. Bjorn commented: “It’s really rewarding to be able to use our expertise here at Swansea University on such an iconic project, and to think that this will enthuse those who follow behind us through our education system. If we can use The BLOODHOUND Project to show people how exciting engineering can be and lead more people to study STEM subjects then we have achieved our goal.”
The BLOODHOUND Project is the brainchild of Richard Noble and Andy Green, current land speed record holders, who smashed their way through the sound barrier and into the record books in 1997 with Wing Commander Green driving ThrustSSC at 763mph.
Now, still holding the World Land Speed Record, and working with a design team of less than 20, they hope to create a new vehicle which will solidify the UK’s reputation as a nation of pioneering scientific and engineering excellence.
The BLOODHOUND Education Team (BET) has been assembled to communicate the key BLOODHOUND messages throughout educational institutions. Already, the team has successfully trialled lesson plans in a number of locations with these set to be rolled out across the UK, from today onwards. Researchers from Swansea University will also form part of the BET activity with a 45-minute roadshow planned across schools in Wales from early 2009.