Science Minister launches BLOODHOUND@University

Issue date: 10 March 2009


Driver Andy Green in a cockpit test rig designed by UWE Yr 2 Product Design Students Lord Drayson, Minister of State for Science and Innovation will visit the University of the West of England on Wednesday 11 March to launch BLOODHOUND@University – a new online resource for young engineers to get involved with the development of the BLOODHOUND SSC supersonic car.

In addition to launching the new web-based project, Lord Drayson will meet university engineering students, year 10 and 11 pupils from Bristol schools. He will also tour the BLOODHOUND SSC Project at UWE which will showcase the engine and a mock up of the car that aims to break the world land speed record and achieve 1,000 mph.

The BLOODHOUND SSC engineering team have developed the Bloodhound@University site to share a range of data and enable the Project to be integrated into engineering education.

Data such as the aero dynamics of the car, forces on its wheels and cockpit and the performance of the engine and rocket will be available to undergraduate and postgraduate students at universities across the UK. It is hoped students will get involved and work to solve the problems raised by the Bloodhound engineering team.

Commenting on BLOODHOUND@University initiative, Lord Drayson said:

“This web resource offers huge potential for both students and universities to get involved in this exciting project. It offers a great educational resource and a unique real-life project for engineering students to get to grips with.

“Unlike most cutting-edge engineering science projects with industry, where there is secrecy around detailed technical information – the data about BLOODHOUND SSC is available to all. Few if any students would have the opportunity to work on a supersonic car as part of their university curriculum, but what better way to inspire young engineers?”

UWE students will link with fellow students at the universities of Swansea and Southampton via a live web video link for a series of presentations from Richard Noble – Project Director and staff at UWE, Swansea and Southampton who have been working on the project.

BLOODHOUND SSC is an iconic adventure that will push technology to its limit and provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. The BLOODHOUND SSC Education Programme will be available to all pupils from primary and secondary schools, and to students in further and higher education in addition to a series of activities outside the school environment to engage more broadly with society.

Richard Noble, the project leader and a previous world land speed record holder will be speaking to school pupils and students on the 11 March about the latest developments in the project. He says, “BLOODHOUND@University gives students the chance to converse with the nation's leading mathematicians, scientists and engineers and contribute to a pioneering engineering project. We hope this unique British project will help motivate the next generation of scientists and engineers, whom we will depend on to find the solutions to everything from climate change to growing population pressures. It is undoubtedly the most stimulating and challenging programme I've ever been involved with.”

John Lanham, Head of Design and Engineering, who is leading the education aspects of the project for UWE says, “We want this project to be an open access project, where students can learn from the design and development of the car as it progresses. It is a rare opportunity to bring real world challenges of engineering into the classroom and the lecture theatre. Many of the complex issues we now face on a global scale need the insight and expertise of a new generation of technologists and scientists. We want this project to both inspire and educate the engineers of tomorrow.”

“In the morning we are giving Bristol school pupils the chance to configure their own supersonic car using the technology and data from BLOODHOUND SSC. Using special software designed by the University of Southampton they will make decisions about the key factors which will help or hinder the performance of this car. For example they will have to choose the size of the engine, and make decisions about the thrust, drag and acceleration, so see how the various factors impact on the performance of the car. This enables them to experience first hand the compromises and trade offs that are at the heart of complex engineering design.”

In the evening, employers, VIPs and business leaders from Bristol will have the opportunity to see the scale mock up of the car, and the cock pit which has been designed by UWE Product Design students. The cockpit test rig aims to ensure that components such as chair and controls are in the optimum ergonomic position for the challenge. Twenty second-year product design students designed and built the cockpit test rig as part of their design studio class during a five week project.

The BLOODHOUND SSC Project is based at UWE. See project website

UWE is a founder sponsor of the BLOODHOUND SSC Project, along with Swansea University, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research council, SERCO plc and STP. For full details see: http://www.bloodhoundssc.com

See film of Lord Drayson at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory during his visit to UWE

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