Aiming to reach the land speed record of 1,000 mph in the new Bloodhound SSC car

Simulating the aerodynamic characteristics of the land speed record vehicle BLOODHOUND SSC

From Journal of Automobile Engineering

The first Land Speed Record (LSR) was set in 1898 and has been broken around 60 times since. The BLOODHOUND SSC project was launched in October 2008 with a primary engineering objective of designing, building and running a car to achieve a new LSR of 1000 mile/h. This ongoing study contributes to an ever increasing data bank of simulated vehicle behaviors that will be a benchmark for vehicle testing in 2015. This paper illustrates how the authors have used computational fluid dynamics to dictate their design choices from the drawing board and through the development process of the BLOODHOUND SSC Land Speed Record car. This work is at the very cutting-edge of blue-sky research and development and takes Engineering design to the extremities of technological possibility.  The institution of Mechanical Engineers has stated that, ‘the Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) is the most exciting and dynamic engineering challenge going on today’.


This paper describes the application of a parallel finite-volume compressible Navier–Stokes computational fluid dynamics solver to the complex aerodynamic problem of a land-based supersonic vehicle, BLOODHOUND SSC. This is a complex aerodynamic problem because of the supersonic rolling ground, the rotating wheels and the shock waves in close proximity to the ground. The computational fluid dynamics system is used to develop a mature vehicle design from the initial concept stage, and the major aerodynamic design changes are identified. The paper’s focus, however, is on the predicted aerodynamic behaviour of the finalised (frozen) design which is currently being manufactured. The paper presents a summary of the data bank of predicted aerodynamic behaviours that will be used as the benchmark for vehicle testing and computational fluid dynamics validation throughout 2015 and 2016 in an attempt to achieve a Land Speed Record of 1000 mile/h (approximately Mach 1.3). The computational fluid dynamics predictions indicate that the current design has a benign lift distribution across the whole Mach range of interest and a sufficiently low drag coefficient to achieve this objective. It also indicates that the fin is sized appropriately to achieve the static margin requirements for directional stability. The paper concludes by presenting the impact of feeding the detailed computational fluid dynamics predictions into the overall vehicle performance model together with recommendations for further computational fluid dynamics study.

Scientists at work: designing the fastest car on the planet
Read this piece highlighting the article on The Conversation by author Ben Evans  Lecturer at University of Swansea. This piece includes impressive diagrams and videos.

Read this research for free

Article details
Ben Evans and Chris Rose
Simulating the aerodynamic characteristics of the Land Speed Record vehicle BLOODHOUND SSC Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering 0954407013511071, first published on April 9, 2014 doi:10.1177/0954407013511071


This entry was posted in Engineering, SAGE Insight and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.