1,000-mph Bloodhound SSC can withstand a 2,300-mph bullet

The old aphorism says to expect the best but prepare for the worst. When it comes to the Bloodhound SSC, which aims to reach 1,000 miles per hour on the way to a new land speed record, that means anticipating many potentially catastrophic situations. In one recent test of the car's ballistic armor, the team fired a small hunk of metal into the panel to simulate a piece of a wheel falling off at speed.

The safety panel, which surrounds the cockpit, is made from a woven glass fiber designed to unravel in the event of a strike. Watch the video to find out what happens when a piece of metal carrying 29 kilojoules of energy hits the material at over 2,300 miles per hour. It's a pretty amazing sight to behold.
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Wednesday, 11 March, 2015
At 1,000mph, BLOODHOUND Supersonic Car's solid aluminium wheels will be spinning at 10,200 rpm, that's rotating at 170 times per second, generating a staggering 50,000 radial g at the rim. A 1kg bag of sugar at the centre of the wheel would weigh 50 tonnes, the same as a fully loaded artic lorry at the rim.

Whilst the wheels have been forged using a 3,600 tonne hot press and a 20,000 cold press to ensure the metals internal grain structure radiates out like the spokes of a wheel, they could still fail if they hit stone hidden beneath the desert surface.

If a piece of the wheel were to fly off, or indeed a stone lying just under the surface of the desert were to flick up, they could penetrate the incredibly strong carbon composite cockpit.

To combat this, Morgan Advanced Materials have developed a lightweight composite ballistic panel, containing millions of woven glass fibres to soak up the energy of projectiles that hit them. The panels have been fitted to both sides of the carbon fibre cockpit to protect driver, Andy Green.

How do the team know they are up to the job? Morgan Advanced Materials fired a projectile at them with 29KJ of energy, the equivalent of a 2000 mph cricket ball!

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