At the end of last month, the Bloodhound Land Speed Record (LSR) team revealed the car aiming to set a new world record next year; it was seen for the first time in ‘completed desert spec’, as it began a high-speed testing programme in the Hakskeen Pan — a dry lake bed in South Africa’s Kalahari Desert.
It was the first time the car has been seen with its precision-machined solid aluminium wheels, made specially to withstand the stresses of travelling at supersonic speeds.
One of the key objectives of the high-speed testing programme, which is now underway, is to evaluate how the car behaves when slowing down and stopping from a number of target speeds.
Only when driver Andy Green and his engineers are satisfied that they understand the drag and stopping ability of the car will they push to the next run profile, building speed in each run by increments of 50mph.
The team are examining how much drag the car creates in a number of scenarios and at various speeds, using the wheel brakes, one or both of the drag parachutes, and with the giant air-brakes locked in position.
Data from 192 pressure sensors on the car is being monitored and compared against the predicted CFD (computational fluid dynamic) models to ensure that they match.
This data is critical to deciding the size of the rocket that will be fitted to the car for the attempt to set a new world record in 12-18 months’ time.
Mark Chapman, Bloodhound LSR’s engineering director (www.bloodhoundlsr.com
), said: “Our UK runs at Newquay Airport were all about getting up to speed and finding out how quickly we could get the engine to full power and accelerate, using max reheat; Andy was on the throttle for 2sec to reach 200mph in 8sec.
"Here at the Hakskeen Pan on a 10-mile track, we can accelerate for much longer, achieve higher speeds and investigate the car’s stability, performance and drag — all crucial as we move towards setting a new record.”
One cutting-edge piece of technology being used by the Bloodhound team in the desert is the Low Power Wide Area Network IoT remote sensor array.
Located every 1km along the track, these sensors record wind speed, gust speed, wind direction, temperature, humidity and barometric pressure.
The resulting data is vital in keeping Andy Green and the Bloodhound car safe, as cross-winds — in particular — will affect the stability of the car at high speeds.
Just five days into testing after revealing the car, a major milestone was passed when it reached 334mph — the highest speed it has ever achieved — in Run Profile 3; this marked the true beginning of the high-speed test programme, as all systems necessary for running with reheat have now been tested and checked.
A video of the car’s first run can be seen on Machinery Market’s Web site (www.machinery-market.co.uk/video-archive.aspx