Developers of a rocket-powered car, designed to raise the World Land Speed Record to more than 1,000 miles an hour, have taken delivery of a complex component, made by the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.
The aerodynamically shaped diffuser floor is designed to prevent the Bloodhound SSC supercar from taking off and is the largest of seven parts made by the Advanced Manufacturing Park-based Nuclear AMRC.
The floor is one metre square and started out as a piece of aerospace grade aluminium weighing nearly half a tonne.
After 192 hours of machining, spread over several months, in between industrial research projects, it now weighs just over a tenth of that and is only five millimetres thick in some places.
Once located in the vehicle it will sit immediately below the rocket engine and will form part of the sub frame, that holds the rocket engine in place and provides vital stability.
The sub frame also incorporates the rear suspension, which will have to support loads of 30 tonnes, running on wheels rotating at 10,200 rpm - five times faster than those of a Formula 1 car.
If the sub frame had had to be made commercially, manufacturing alone would have cost £500,000.
Machining experts from the Nuclear AMRC reckon making the floor was one of the most taxing challenges they have faced.
The biggest challenge was machining pockets up to 155mm deep in the aluminium, which meant using a tool whose length was 15 times its diameter.
Fixturing – securing the component while it was machined – was another major challenge.
In addition to raising the World Land Speed Record to more than 1,000 mph, the Bloodhound Project aim is to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.
In addition to the Nuclear AMRC, Rotherham-based Newburgh Engineering has been working on components on behalf of the Bloodhound project, manufacturing a gear box casing, which was presented to Bloodhound’s developers last year.
Bloodhound is powered by a specially designed rocket, a Eurojet EJ200 military turbofan jet engine normally found in the engine bay of a Eurofighter Typhoon and an 800 brake horse power Formula 1 engine.
The F1 engine is used to start the jet engine and pump liquid fuel into the rocket, moving a tonne of fuel at more than 80 times atmospheric pressure in less than 25 seconds.
Bloodhound is the brainchild of entrepreneur Richard Noble, who brought the Land Speed Record back to Britain in 1983 and capped that success by leading the team that designed Thrust SSC – the first car to go faster than the speed of sound.
At the wheel of the vehicle will be Royal Air Force fighter pilot, Wing Commander Andy Green, who steered Thrust SCC through the sound barrier to a world record and was also at the wheel of the JCB DIESELMAX when it became the fastest diesel-powered car in the world.