Research and technology organisation, TWI, is working with the Bloodhound SuperSonic Car design team to identify and test the ideal materials joining technique for the lower chassis structure of the car, with a 12-week study identifying adhesives and surface preparation techniques suitable for bonding together the aluminium and steel parts.
Bloodhound SSC, which will be powered by a Eurofighter Typhoon jet engine and a Falcon hybrid rocket with a pump driven by a Cosworth Formula 1 engine, will be 12.8m long, weigh 6.5 tonnes empty (7.5 tonnes fully fuelled) and will accelerate from rest to 1000mph and back in 100 seconds, covering 10 miles across the South African desert.
The project team is currently testing an adhesive/rivet combination. For the car, a structural adhesive bond has to be achieved and maintained over a range of temperatures up to 150°C, while withstanding the high vibration loads which will be seen. Furthermore, the adhesive bond has to retain its strength characteristics for the duration of the challenge and this can only be achieved with any level of confidence if the correct surface preparation processes are applied from the outset.
Final construction of the chassis and the body of Bloodhound SSC will be undertaken by Hampson Aerospace, and TWI will provide support and training to the Hampson engineering team.
The build of the car is planned for December 2012 and trials for the record attempt will begin in 2013 on Hakskeen Pan in South Africa.
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