AMRC and Maher come to the rescue of World Land Speed Record attempt

11 January 2016

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing has joined forces with high performance alloy supplier Maher to help solve a problem threatening attempt to raise the Outright World Land Speed Record to over 1000 miles an hour.

Picture Caption: AMRC head of advanced structural testing, Phil Spiers, pictured with a full scale model of Bloodhound.

RAF fighter pilot Andy Green hopes to use a combination of jet and rocket power to smash his existing 763mph record in Bloodhound SSC, the supersonic car that is the brainchild of British record breaker Richard Noble.

The project hit seemingly intractable problems when the material performance needs for the shaft and nut components for the rocket pump exceeded anything freely available to Bloodhound.

Bloodhound uses a 550bhp supercharged Jaguar engine to drive the pump, which has to be able to supply 800 litres of High Test Peroxide (HTP) to the rocket in just 20 seconds - the equivalent of 40 litres or more than nine gallons every second.

The shaft and nut linking the engine to the pump has to be made of stainless steel to prevent the HTP reacting before it reaches the rocket, The pump was performing better than expected but with the increased performance came an increased load which the standard stainless material simply couldn't cope with.

The AMRC has already made and tested a number of complex key components in support of Bloodhound and its rocket development programme.

When its head of advanced structural testing, Phil Spiers, heard about the problems, he immediately thought of a new alloy, developed for aerospace applications.

Phil contacted AMRC partner Maher, the Sheffield-based stockholder that supplies high strength, high performance alloys for demanding applications in sectors that include aerospace, oil and gas exploration and power generation, as well as motorsport.

Maher was able to supply a sample of the material which tests showed was ideal for the pump application.

Phil Spiers said: "Bloodhound is simply an exciting and dynamic engineering challenge. One of its key aims is to capture the imagination of young people and encourage them to pursue careers in science, engineering, technology and maths.

"It's all about showing how engineering can solve problems and is the foundation for everything that we can do to improve the world for the people who live in it.

"Thanks to our awareness of the advanced materials that are being developed and Maher's willingness to help, Bloodhound has been able to overcome another hurdle in the way of a successful record attempt."

Donna Saul from Maher, based at Brightside Way, Sheffield, said: "We're proud of the products, services and quality we provide and committed to helping customers solve their toughest problems. Working with the AMRC to find a solution to keep Bloodhound on track was an ideal opportunity to show what we can do."


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