Up close and personal with the Bloodhound airbrake system

Posted on 14 Jan 2015 by Jonny Williamson

Engineers working on the 1,000mph Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC) and Parker Hannifin, a global leader in motion and control technologies, have unveiled a closer look at the unique vehicle’s airbrake system.

Product sponsor Parker is supplying advanced equipment to operate Bloodhound’s airbrake doors, store backup hydraulic power and assist vehicle stability; including cylinders, manifold blocks and winglet controls.

To slow Bloodhound from 800mph and below, driver Andy Green will press a button on his 3D printed titanium steering wheel to operate the twin Parker linear actuators (cylinders).

These cylinders will push the airbrake doors open into the airflow, carrying a load of five tonnes for each door and increasing the drag on the car – slowing it at 3G deceleration, equal to losing 60mph a second.

As Green has noted: “It will be uncomfortable… most people would call this a crash”.

The metre square doors are manufactured from carbon fibre and aluminium by URT Group with material from SHD and Sigmatex. The Parker cylinders can exert a force of seven tonnes as they open the 28kg doors out into the airflow.

Parker is also supplying two composite piston accumulators – an emerging technology applied in controlled environments, but not yet widely available in the general marketplace.

This is the second time that Parker’s UK team has supported a world land speed record, having already backed Thrust SSC (Bloodhound’s predecessor), which set the existing world record in 1997.

A short film released by the two partners gives an overview of how the airbrake system works: