Bloodhound, SSC, UK, 3D printing, race car, rocket, jet, engine, monocoque, speed recordDuring the summer of 2015 the Bloodhound SuperSonicCar will attempt to break the world land speed record pushing its jet-powered auto to 1,609km/h (1000mph).

As you can imagine, creating a car that can travel at supersonic speeds is an extremely complex engineering feat.

Every component of the car has to be manufactured to the most exacting standards as the forces acting on the machine will be tremendous. While many components on the Bloodhound will be created using traditional manufacturing techniques, the Bloodhound team turned to 3D printing when it came to building the leading edge of their supercar.

One of the most important components of any car is of course its face. As an auto accelerates, it splits the atmosphere surrounding its body creating an aerodynamic path through which the rest of the car travels. While all of that is pretty straightforward, when you’re accelerating past 300, 400 and 500+ mph the forces acting upon the leading edge of a car make manufacturing pretty complex.
 

In Bloodhound’s case, as it approaches top speed the front end of the car will feel forces equivalent to 12 tonnes per square meter. To handle that load the auto’s designers 3D printed a titanium tip that could be bonded to the Bloodhounds carbon fiber monocoque.

According to Dan Johns, the lead engineer at the Bloodhound project, “We believe that the key benefit of using an additive manufacturing process to produce the nose tip is the ability to create a hollow, but highly rigid titanium structure, and to vary the wall thickness of the tip to minimize weight. To machine this component conventionally would be extremely challenging, result in design compromises, and waste as much as 95% of the expensive raw material."

If, in a few years, the Bloodhound SS does shatter the world land speed record, thorough engineering and 3D printing will be two reasons why.

Images Courtesy of Bloodhound SSC & Renishaw

 

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