BLOODHOUND project edges towards the finishing line

13th October 2017
Joe Bush

The BLOODHOUND SSC project will make history later this month when it makes its first ever test runs, during which the supersonic combined jet engine and rocket powered car is set to achieve speeds of up to 200mph on the runway at Newquay Airport in Cornwall.

Air compressors and advanced air, electric and mechanical assembly and fastening tools from Atlas Copco have played an integral role throughout the development, assembly and test stages of the project that is aiming to break the current record of 763.035mph and go 1,000mph. The event in Newquay is a huge step towards realising this goal.

The current holder of the world land speed record, wing commander Andy Green, will blast down the 1.7 mile runway witnessed by sponsors and the ticket holding public. “The runway trials at Newquay Airport will be the biggest milestone in the history of the project so far,” said Richard Noble, Bloodhound’s Project Director. “They will provide important data on the performance of the car, and give us a first opportunity to rehearse the procedures we’ll use when we attempt to break the world land speed record.”

The car being tested in Newquay will be a ‘minimum specification runway car’. It will not have the rocket system, airbrakes or brake parachutes fitted, as they are not essential for relatively slow speed runs.

To assist development, both the BLOODHOUND Project’s Technology Centre in Avonmouth and the Newquay test unit were equipped exclusively with Atlas Copco workshop compressors and assembly tools.

A GA15VSD+ FF full feature rotary screw compressor, together with filtration and a 5,000ltr air receiver, was supplied to the Avonmouth facility by Atlas Copco Compressors with the principal role of ‘dry’ actuating the car’s EJ200 turbofan jet engine. In the live test runs, this duty will be undertaken by an on-site air start cart at Newquay - where the workshops also feature a GX5 fixed speed compressor plus a 250ltr air receiver installed for general engineering duties.

During the demanding development and assembly operations of the project, both workshops have been supported with a range of advanced electric, battery and air powered tools, plus associated hosing and couplings, donated by sponsor Atlas Copco Tools. This equipment is being used primarily for vehicle build and test operations where fastening torque settings are critical. The calibrated high accuracy and quality assurance of the company’s battery powered ST wrenches in particular have been employed on the fastening of the vehicle’s wheel hubs and other significant components. In addition, air powered LBB drills have been used extensively to provide rivet holes for the fuselage and stabilising fin assembly.

As Chris Dee, the project’s lead assembly and build engineer commented: “The contribution of Atlas Copco to our workshop equipment has proved invaluable. The only problem we have to contend with now is the confines of the assembled fuselage are so tight we have had to resort to using hand-operated mechanical click wrenches from the company.”

When the UK final tests are completed BLOODHOUND SSC will undergo several months of trials on the 12 miles long, two miles wide Hakskeen Pan track in South Africa. While there it will build up to achieve speeds to break the current land speed record of 763mph (1227.98kph). Then eventually, the BLOODHOUND team will attempt to set a new record at 1,000mph (1,609kph).

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