In about six months, the Bloodhound SSC will attempt to become the world’s fastest car by going 1000 MPH on land. Back in 2013, Conor La Grue, the engineering lead for the Bloodhound SSC, originally told Composites Manufacturing the team would choose aluminum and steel for areas near high-temperature components, such as the engines. Engineers of the car have since found that composites, combined with a unique coating system, are a better solution for the car.
“We weren’t able to use aluminum because of the temperatures involved,” explained George Morris, senior composite design engineer for Bloodhound SSC, in a story by British technology news outlet The Engineer. “In theory, a machined titanium part was an option, but that would have been extremely expensive and heavier than we’d have liked. Using composites provided the strength we needed.”
The speedy attempt will take place in the South Africa desert, where ambient temperatures of 40°C are expected.
In order to protect the composite structure from high temperatures, the engineers used a Formula-1 derived, zirconia-based coating called ThermoHold® for Composites. The coating, created by thermal barrier specialist Zircotec, can be applied at temperatures exceeding 10,000°C without affecting the composite substrate.
“We have used the coating on the composite upper chassis hoop, offering lightweight resistance that lowers surface temperatures by 100°C,” said Tony Parraman of the Bloodhound SSC sponsorship liaison team.
Composites also offer the Bloodhound SSC a high strength-to-weight ratio as well as increased safety compared to other materials. The front section of the car features a carbon fiber monocoque. This provides the driver with a very secure, rigid safety cell. It is also the most efficient way to create the curvature at the front of the car.
To learn more about the design of the car, visit http://www.bloodhoundssc.com.