Transcript: How supercomputing is helping Bloodhound - the world's first 1,000 mph car

Transcript: How supercomputing is helping Bloodhound - the world's first 1,000 mph car

Dr Ben Evans, CFD/Aero Engineer, Bloodhound Programme Ltd. Lecturer, College of Engineering, Swansea University

“My name is Ben Evans and I work at Swansea University on the Bloodhound supersonic car project.  This is an attempt to break the land speed record and take this vehicle to 1,000 miles per hour.  I’ve been working on the bloodhound project since 2007 so just over 5 years now. 

“I work using a technology known as computational fluid dynamics – essentially what I do is simulate the aerodynamics of the vehicle, so this car is going to be travelling extremely fast, faster than the speed of sound, and my job is to make sure the car actually stays on the ground and that the drag of the vehicle is as low as it possibly can be. 

“Nobody has ever done anything like this before, to take a vehicle like this on the ground to 1,000mph, significantly faster than the speed of sound, is incredibly ground-breaking. 

“There are lots of things we need to understand about the aerodynamics of the vehicle to make sure that it’s safe; we need to understand where the loads are distributed across the vehicle, we need to understand if we’ve got the drag - the resistive force the air will be pushing on the car - as low as it can be so that our engines can propel us to the speeds we’re going for, and to do the modelling to understand all of that requires some incredibly complex calculations.  Using high performance computers is the only way really you can do realistic flow simulations for a vehicle as complex as this. 

“HPC Wales has been invaluable to us, simply because of the size of the machine and the amount of resource that we’ve got access to.  It allows us to run more simulations than we’ve ever been able to do before;  this has allowed us to understand this vehicle better than really we’d ever hoped we’d be able to at this stage of the project. 

“We’re not all going to be driving around in 1,000mph cars in the near future, but like any ambitious engineering project like this, some of the technologies we develop specifically for this, we’ll be able to spin out into other more general applications. 

“I hope that the research we’re doing in CFD (computational fluid dynamics) will keep Wales at the forefront of this research field. 

“The support that I’ve received working with HPC Wales has been fantastic.  Whenever I have had a problem or I’ve had a question, there have always been people right there that have been able to respond almost immediately and sort out the little problems you inevitably have working on something like this. 

“The HPC Wales system is incredibly user friendly.  Considering how sophisticated the technology is that I now have access to - actually getting started, running on the machine, going from taking my software, data, transferring it to the machine and starting running simulations was a very easy process. 

“Success to me looks like the real thing, the real Bloodhound SSC, travelling at 1,000mph across the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa in a couple of years’ time.”

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