Student engineers contribute to Bloodhound SSC project

Student engineers at Lancaster University have contributed to the construction of Bloodhound SSC, which is being built to break the land speed record.

The Bloodhound SSC (supersonic car) project aims to create a 7.5-tonne jet-and-rocket-powered car capable of travelling at more than 1,000mph. The British team behind Bloodhound hopes to make a new attempt on the land speed record in 2013 and 2014.

According to the university, students from Lancaster’s engineering department have been working on the project since 2011.

Lancaster University’s product development unit, the knowledge exchange team for the engineering department, put small student project teams together to tackle two different aspects of the car’s design.

First, work was undertaken on the design of the steering wheel; the second piece of work concentrated on the air brake system, and aimed to calculate and model the forces acting upon the air brake actuation system between 400mph and 800mph.

As part of the air brake system project the Lancaster students developed software and adjusted it to make it more accessible — this new tool is being used by the Bloodhound engineering team to inform its design process.

Dan Johns, head of the university programme for Bloodhound, said: ‘The students responded very well to the challenge, not simply with the mechanics, but also they drove the set-up of the project and made the arrangements with us for leveraging the information.

‘”Bloodhound @ University” is being developed with the University of the West of England and the University of Southampton to provide an open learning platform. Lancaster University has been instrumental to its implementation by piloting these student collaborations with Bloodhound engineers. Our ambition is to enrich student learning by providing access to real-time data and real-time challenges through open collaboration.’

Lancaster student engineer Tom Goodman said: ‘Taking part in the Bloodhound project was an invaluable, fascinating and mentally challenging experience.

‘The group got to examine and reflect on real design schematics for the air brake system, communicating directly with the engineers who produced them. This level of interaction with real project teams, combined with exposure to cutting-edge technology, is often a rare experience in a degree scheme.’