We are proud to support the Bloodhound SSC project. Launched in 2008, the project is an international education initiative centralising upon a land speed record attempt to reach 1000mph. The intention is to break the current land speed record attempt by 33%, the largest ever margin. The vehicle incorporates 3 engines including Britain's biggest Hybrid rocket (which offers world-beating power and efficiency), a jet engine from a Eurofighter Typhoon, and a Cosworth V8 engine from an F1 car to pump the fuel to the rocket. Having being involved since early 2012, we wholeheartedly support this captivating project not only for it's progressive, challenging engineering but for its economic and political implications. The project's focus on encouraging young people to get into engineering can only be a good thing and is certainly an initiative which could help Britain on the road to economic recovery.
The Vertical Tail Fin
Our primary involvement in this "engineering adventure" thus far has been in designing the Bloodhound's vertical tail fin. This has been "a natural progression from air structures - the car will be going faster than the low-level air-speed record" says John Daniels, engineering director for Hyde Group Engineering. Utilising our expertise in the design of horizontal and vertical fins for military and civil aircraft we have been able to provide a solution which will help the Bloodhound reach its 1000mph target. John adds that "like a Typhoon jet, the purpose of the fin is stability, and the loading on the Bloodhound will be similar to that of an aircraft." Our approach to the work on the fin has allowed the in-house design team to work in parallel on maturing the upper chassis - especially the interface to the fin. Hyde has performed tasks from concept through to Detail Design for Manufacture inclusive of a feasibility study through to detailed stress analysis.
A Major Milestone
As Hyde Group continue their support to both existing and additional work packages offloaded for a number of critical assemblies on the Bloodhound project, a major milestone was reached on the 2nd October 2012 by the Bloodhound team when their experimental hybrid rocket engine was tested for the first of 15 planned firings at Newquay Airport. Mounted on a static rig inside a HAS bay on the old RAF St. Mawgan site, the rocket ran for 10 seconds; results were positive, with the rocket exceeding expectations for predicted thrust output required to meet the initial goal of 850mph. In order to achieve the ultimate record of 1000mph, based upon these early experiments, it is now understood that the HTP pressure will need to be increased substantially. This illustrates the sheer engineering challenge within the project where in order to achieve the target speed, the many complex components within the vehicle must be finely tuned and working in unison.
Our Current Involvement
At present, Hyde Group are "knee-deep" in evolving the detail design on the fin, running feasibility analysis and sanity checks on the HTP tank & its mounting arrangement, whilst in addition developing a concept for the "Blade". The 'Blade' is a cantilevered receptacle to support the systems located in the nose of the vehicle, it also provides an aero surface interfacing with the nose assembly fairings. We are currently scheming the concept for this component with the view to further progress through to detail design as we have with the fin.
Extremely tight manufacturing and assembly tolerances govern all of the designs; hence the engineering is strongly influenced by the principles of fit, form, function & constant consideration to manufacturability over and above aesthetic appeal. As these are "one-off" structures on a unique machine, known Engineering Principles are adapted and applied with high margins of safety in order to develop a design which should fulfil functionality without any compromise on safety, particularly as we assess the HTP tank structure which is mounted directly behind the driver's seat!