Lancaster University

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Engineering students have a hand in supersonic car design

05/02/2012 00:00:00

​Student engineers at Lancaster University have played a part in an ambitious project to build the ultimate racing car.

The BLOODHOUND Supersonic Car Project aims to create a 7.5 tonne jet and rocket powered car capable of travelling at over 1,000 mph – faster than the speed of sound.  The British team behind BLOODHOUND hopes to make a new attempt on the land speed record in 2013 and 2014.

Students from Lancaster’s Engineering Department have been lucky enough to 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. 

Firstly, 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 airbrake actuation system between 400 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 their 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.”

Chris Lambert of the Lancaster Product Development Unit said: “Linking students with real-world, industry-generated projects is crucial to helping students take the step from the classroom into the workplace, enabling them to demonstrate to future employers that they have the skills employers want. This project allowed them to apply their knowledge and gain experience of a project that is in the public domain. These are things that we can’t necessarily teach in the lecture theatre.”

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, but thanks to the LPDU and the BLOODHOUND Team, it was made possible.

“We are proud to have been able to contribute to what will no doubt be an unprecedented achievement by BLOODHOUND SSC. We look forward to seeing BLOODHOUND SSC in action, and will gain great satisfaction in knowing that we have helped to develop aspects of the fastest land vehicle in the world.”