Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Bloodhound SSC

'4.1 lactating cows', might sound like a description of Girls Aloud after their firstborn have been delivered, but it is in fact the equivalent to the CO2 output of Bloodhound SSC, Britain's latest World Land Speed Record challenger.

Not content with breaking the sound barrier, Richard Noble, Andy Green and the team are back again, this time aiming to hit 1,000mph. As explained by Gordon Cruickshank in the December issue of Motorsport magazine, Bloodhound SSC will be equipped with a Eurojet EJ200 turbofan engine from the Typhoon fighter, a solid fuel rocket triggered by a hydrogen peroxide oxidiser, and an 800bhp V12 internal combustion engine, which powers both the pump for the hyrodgen peroxide, and the vehicle hydraulics, and also acts as the starter motor for the jet. The pump itself will come from Blue Streak, Britain's abortive ballistic missile programme from the 1950s.

The solid fuel rocket sits atop the vehicle, raising the centre of gravity, hence the designers have been forced to widen the track at the rear to lower the roll centre of the car. The rear wheels are therefore out-rigged, but shrouded in double-needle fairings. Another technical challenge is provided by the fact that the fuel consumption changes the weight distribution substantially over the course of a run. One tonne of hydrogen peroxide and half a tonne of jet fuel are expended on each such run, reducing the weight of the 6.5 tonne car to 5 tonnes in 80 seconds. To compensate, moveable winglets will be employed above the wheels to maintain constant wheel loadings.

It's all far more interesting than bovine lactation.

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