As part of its involvement towards the BLOODHOUND Project, HBM is contributing to the construction of a 1,000mph vehicle, designed to break the world land-speed record. The BLOODHOUND Project was launched in 2008 with the aim of beating the current world record of 763 mph, set by Thrust SSC in the Arizona desert in 1997, when it became the first land-bound vehicle to exceed the speed of sound. BLOODHOUND aims to push the record above 1,000mph - more than 1.3 times the speed of sound! A record breaker in the making

BLOODHOUND is powered by a Eurojet EJ200 engine, a cluster of Nammo hybrid rockets and a Jaguar V8 motor pumps oxidiser to the rocket. The car's body, chassis and control systems meanwhile rely on a range of advanced design and manufacturing techniques, such as those provided by The AMRC Advanced Structural Testing Centre (ASTC), in Sheffield.

The ASTC is the testing and certification centre for the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC). Accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), the ASTC is the only structural test facility within a UK university to hold 'in house methods' accreditation. This means that it can develop new test procedures to prove components under real-world conditions. The ASTC forms a key part of the University of Sheffield AMRC with Boeing, which is a world-class centre for advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors.

As part of its ongoing research towards the development of the BLOODHOUND Supersonic Car, the ASTC opted to utilise the MGCplus data acquisition system from HBM for a number of its test and measurement tasks on BLOODHOUND SSC, including load and displacement measurement, whilst testing rear pull-rod suspension component and front suspension roller bearings.

Suspension for a land speed record
Built to withstand extreme conditions, BLOODHOUND SSC's suspension has been designed to cope with 30 tonne loads when the car is running at top speeds. By incorporating an independent double-wishbone suspension with pull-rods, this means that, like an F1 car, the wheels on BLOODHOUND SSC are supported by two horizontal V-shaped brackets. The weight of the car is then supported by a diagonal 'pull-rod' which is attached to the spring and damper unit. Coping with incredible load, it's fair to say it's bigger than your average race car suspension! But what about the massive drag loads on the wheels? Each rear wheel and suspension assembly will be subject to several tonnes of drag load, which will physically shift the wheel back a couple of millimetres relative to the car.

Although the suspension is, of course, designed to take this rearward shift due to the large loads through the pull-rod, it became apparent during the test and design stage that traditional spherical 'rose joint' bearings would simply lock under the load. As a result of this, the decision to use needle roller bearings was taken. This means that the roller bearings will not allow the pull-rod to move backwards and forwards under the drag loads, so the pull-rod is designed to flex very slightly, in order to address this issue.

Keeping the suspension on the right track
As the suspension on BLOODHOUND SSC has to cope with gruelling loads, of up to 30 tonnes when the car is running at top speeds, ASTC was asked to accurately measure, log and analyse data relating to the defection of the suspension under load.

By strategically placing sensors at different points on the car to measure parameters, such as movement of parts, temperature and how much the suspension moved as the car was driving - all important factors when a car is travelling at over 1000 mph - signals were compared by the MGCplus data acquisition system with its stored calibrations, and a value for the property was calculated and recorded.

"As an organisation with an investment in testing, it was important that we choose the right equipment for the BLOODHOUND Project and this is why we turned to HBM", explains Phil Spiers, Head of Advanced Structural Testing for AMRC. "The MGCplus from HBM is a high end industry standard piece of equipment which is what our customers demand in an ISO 17025 UKAS accredited test facility. Fully compatible with MOOG control systems, the MGCplus resulted in easier set up for test programmes and provided easy to use calibrated data acquisition".

Confidence in data is one of the major benefits HBM data acquisition systems bring to challenging industry applications, with more than 100,000 MGCplus channels in different applications worldwide, the MGCplus is an adaptable system from HBM which has gained acceptance as a measurement standard. It features the wide spectrum of supported transducers and standard PC interfaces that users demand from a leading and truly integrated measurement device. Fully configurable, the MGCplus is a flexible system which can be reprogrammed easily and at short notice and providing traceable data at all stages making it the perfect choice for this particular phase of testing in Project BLOODHOUND. Following this success ASTC also deploy the latest Quantum X system from HBM for smaller more flexible applications.

"HBM has enjoyed witnessing a new generation's enthusiasm for real engineering and is proud to be involved in such a pioneering initiative", says Paul Beardsworth, Sales Manager North West Europe, HBM. "As the preparations for the record-breaking attempt begin in South Africa begin, HBM eagerly awaits the final countdown to this landmark attempt to break the sound barrier"!

HBM data acquisition systems are suitable for a wide range of vehicle testing applications but the immense load requirements and extreme environmental conditions surrounding BLOODHOUND SSC did present a challenge. However, thanks to HBMs extensive experience in vehicle testing and demanding fields, it was able to provide a flexible solution which enabled ASTC to achieve the results it needed to help ensure the BLOODHOUND Project stayed on track!

February 2018

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