The BLOODHOUND Project is an engineering adventure and education program aiming to demonstrate how science, engineering, technology and maths can be harnessed to achieve the seemingly impossible, such as the BLOODHOUND 1,000 mph land speed record.
BLOODHOUND SSC (Super Sonic Car) is the car that has been designed to run at speeds up to 1,050 mph and being jet and rocket powered has 133,000 ehp (about the same as 180 Formula 1 cars).
The BLOODHOUND Project team consists of some of the world's most revered engineering talent, led by Richard Noble. For building such an car it is essential to use 3D printing and additive manufacturing for key parts.
The 3D printer works by building a model one layer at a time, starting at the base and working its way up. One key bonus of using this technology is the reduction in waste material. To machine a component from a billet of aluminum can produce 80% waste. The equivalent produced using AM creates just 6% and removes the energy hungry process of manufacturing the billet.
Many crucial components are designed and created using 3D printing technology, such as:
- the steering wheel
- the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) gearbox housing
- the high load parachute strop brackets
- and the bolt fixtures that will hold the carbon fibre front end to the metallic rear chassis
(The prototype steering wheel)
The engineers first task was to create a steering wheel. The steering wheel forms the vital contact point between driver Andy Green and the Hakskeen Pan streaking below him at 3.6 seconds per mile. Using the NASA approach, the grips on the W shaped wheel will be specially moulded to his hands so the template would fit his grip perfectly.
The final product will be 3D printed in powdered Titanium. There is no way this complex hollow design could be produced in one piece using conventional manufacturing methods.
Other elements to the build, like a custom gearbox, the super accurate fixings for the metal latticework on the lower chassis, will also be manufactured using the 3D printing process.
(The gearbox casing produced by 3D printing)
(A section of lower chassis that will be fixed using 3D printed bolts)
"We wanted to start validating the use of Titanium Additive Manufacturing on a non-safety critical component, to build our confidence towards to using the technology on more critical pieces," said Materials and Process Engineer Dan Johns.
Dan Johns was head of metal department at EADS in his earlier career. "We use 3D printing because these parts with complex shape and material are difficult to produce with traditional manufacturing process. And additive manufacturing has a positive effect on the environment. You use less raw material and energy."
The challenges the team had to overcome included creating a design that would not fly apart when turning 10,200 times per minute, and which could be manufactured to incredibly tight tolerances with zero distortion.
The Bloodhound team is confident that the metal objects created using the 3D printing technique will be just as strong as any other manufactured metal part. "Airbus have already starting using it to bolt the nose cones to their aeroplanes", said Jules Tipler, from the Bloodhound communications team, "but this is the first time it will be used on such a high profile project".
The BLOODHOUND Project is not, primarily, about speed. Rather, it is an international education initiative aimed at inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians. The BLOODHOUND Project will share all its data, designs, achievements and setbacks in the process.
The downloadable 3D design drawings allow viewers to explore the remarkable engineering that allows BLOODHOUND SSC to accelerate from 0 -1050 mph and back in just 100 seconds and safely handle the phenomenal forces and loads acting upon it: the 47,000 lb thrust generated by its jet and rocket engines; 30 ton suspension loadings; air pressures on the bodywork of up to 10 ton per square meter; the air brakes each exert 2.2 tons as they open; solid aluminium wheels alone weigh 90 kg each and will be spinning at 10,200 rpm, generating 50,000 radial g at the rim.
Consequently, the Project is already being followed in over 5,000 primary and secondary schools across the UK and 207 countries world wide, with circa 7m students able to access free curriculum ready BLOODHOUND information and lesson materials in class.
Students of all ages are invited to explore the remarkable engineering that allows BLOODHOUND SSC to accelerate from 0-1,000 mph and back to zero in just 100 seconds while safely handling the phenomenal forces and loads acting upon it, such as: 47,000 lbs thrust (equivalent to 180 F1 cars) generated by its jet and rocket engines; 30 tonne suspension loadings and air pressures on the bodywork of up to 10 tonnes per square metre.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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