Bulletproofing Bloodhound SSC

At 1,000mph, BLOODHOUND SSC (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.

While 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 29 KJ of energy, the equivalent of a 2000 mph cricket ball!