Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC) project in UK was launched in 2008. The purpose of establishing the project was to inspire the next generation of British engineers and scientists to build such supersonic cars that would be able to break the maximum speed barrier and make new world record. Now the Bloodhound SSC team is aiming to break 1,000 mph speed barrier in 2015 using 3D printing technology.
Bloodhound SSC is a 13m jet-and-rocket propelled supersonic car. It has a slender body of approximately 14m length with two front wheels within the body and two rear wheels mounted externally within wheel fairings. It weighs over 7 tonnes and the engines produce more than 135,000 horsepower – more than 6 times the power of all the Formula 1 cars on a starting grid put together. In addition, the car is a mix of car and aircraft technology, with the front half being a carbon fibre monocoque like a racing car and the back half being a metallic framework and panels like an aircraft.
The car has been designed to go faster than the speed of sound. To be more specific, the car has been designed to go at 1,000 mph (just over 1,600 kph). And to gain such speed, the team has has decided to use 3D printing process that will allow them to create a titanium tip that is hollow and features walls of varying thickness to reduce weight, but will be rigid enough to withstand the stresses of a 1,000 mph run. Be noted, the 3D-printed tip provides a force as high as 12 tonnes per square meter. However, to print the titanium tip, the team is now using Renishaw’s AM250 manufacturing-grade laser melting machine.
With the help of the 3D-printed technology, the Bloodhound SSC has planned to take an attempt in 2014 to break the land speed record of 763 mph (1,228 km/h) that was set in 1997. Besides, the team has also planned to break 1,000 mph speed barrier in 2015 using the very 3D printing technology.
Now the iconic car is now being assembled at Bloodhound Technical Center in Avonmouth, Bristol. Here is a video below where you will find the importance of 3D printing to the development of the Bloodhound SSC.