Lockheed Martin UK Shapes the World's Fastest Wheels
Ampthill, Bedfordshire UK, November 26 2009: Lockheed Martin UK INSYS has been made an official product sponsor of the BLOODHOUND Project, after submitting its Research and Development findings, which advise on the wheels’ configuration to reach maximum speeds under extreme forces.
The BLOODHOUND Project is Britain’s latest attempt on the World Land Speed Record; the aim of the project is to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians by building a 1,000 mph car. Lockheed Martin UK has been developing the BLOODHOUND SSC (Super Sonic Car) wheel design to ensure they can withstand forces of 50,000 radial Gs at the rim and support a 6.5 tonne car, travelling at 1,050 mph.
After an extensive 700-hour 'wheel concept study', Lockheed Martin UK has advised the BLOODHOUND team that the shape of the wheel should be symmetrical in cross-section, as this considerably reduces the operational stresses acting on the aluminium tyre. By doing this, the choice of suitable material has been changed from a very costly titanium and carbon fibre combination to a forged aerospace grade aluminium, rendering the wheel construction much simpler and easier to undertake, thereby delivering improved performance.
Steve Burnage, Research Engineering Manager at Lockheed Martin UK, said: "Being an official product sponsor with our logo on the wheels is fantastic recognition for the efforts of our team. We believe we have presented the optimum solution for the wheel design and we look forward to continuing with our support.”
The next challenge for Lockheed Martin UK is to investigate the method by which the wheels can be attached to the car and remain in balance at high speed; this research has already commenced.
Educational Outreach involvement for Lockheed Martin UK means balanced, focused and targeted benefits, where opportunities are carefully selected that provide support to worthwhile causes that leverage the organisation’s skills in science and technology, to directly provide support to schools, colleges and universities.
At a national level, the BLOODHOUND project is being promoted in schools and is being used by some as a basis for their science and mathematics curriculum. One of the main objectives is to promote science, engineering and technology by engaging the current education community; Lockheed Martin is committed to inspire future generations to fully embrace the excitement of engineering challenges that require innovative thinking and solutions.