SuperSonic Car On Track To Break The World Land Speed Record
By Steve Hall
April 24, 2011 - Bloodhound SuperSonic Car (SSC) team
has employed the HyperWorks suite of computer-aided
engineering tools in the development of its jet and
rocket powered car. The futuristic speed machine is
designed to reach mach 1.4 (approximately 1,050 mph) in
its pursuit of the world land speed record.
While its chassis resembles an aircraft, the vehicle has wheels, suspension, steering and brakes, just like a normal race car.
Aside from its jet and F1 engines, each component of the
car is being custom designed, and Altair's OptiStruct
software, the structural optimization technology of the
HyperWorks CAE software suite, is playing a crucial role
in that design process.
The lean Bloodhound team, based in Bristol, England, relies on a range of technology to spark innovation, technology that includes OptiStruct, which was used for optimization of the rear chassis structure and to set up a wheel design using the least amount of material possible without compromising the wheels' ability to manage anticipated forces of 50,000 G's.
The rear chassis was designed using a steel structure. They
placed the jet engine over the rocket and reconfigured the rear
chassis. The vehicle has undergone 10 design iterations; to
ensure the aerodynamic shape is correct at sub, trans and
The team used OptiStruct, to determine the most efficient use of
material. The software includes capabilities for topology, shape
and size optimization, enabling engineers to quickly determine
the main load paths in multiple design envelopes early in the
conceptual design phase.
"We used Altair's OptiStruct to develop a steel structure, because the team wanted to get the best strength-to-weight ratio," said Chief Engineer Mark Chapman. "We built various models, putting in stringers and trusses. OptiStruct showed us where we needed to put the material. We ended up with an organic, geodesic shape ? one that we would not have thought of."
"The key to success with this project is to undertake extensive computer
modeling to increase understanding and reduce risk," added Project
Director Richard Noble. "We need to prove our concepts by analysis and
simulation before we enter the build phase of the Project."
"OptiStruct showed us where to add and remove material from the parts,"
Chapman explained. "For us, it was invaluable in turning around designs.
We saw the effects of our changes, and the software guided us in terms
of adding or subtracting material. We used OptiStruct as a tool to show
us the way to design the most efficient structures; we then turned these
into manufacturable concepts."
"I'm very proud that OptiStruct was used in such an outstanding
project," said David Mason, managing director for Altair, UK. "Once
more, OptiStruct is helping to drive innovation and to realize a project
that seemed to be unthinkable only a few years ago. The team members'
reliance on technology is enabling them to push the limit on several
?Their efforts are expected to yield advances in metallurgy, low-level
aerodynamics, high-vibration telemetry and low-level jet and rocket
operation. This project has no precedent, and everything the Bloodhound
team does is innovative. I'm looking forward to seeing the first
real-time tests and the final run for the world speed record at the
Hakskeen Pan in 2013."
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