Lockheed Martin UK to help re-invent the wheel for world’s fastest car

Lockheed Martin UK is to assist in the design of the wheels for the Bloodhound Supersonic Car.

It is leading a 700hour concept study to identify and explore initial ideas for the wheel design, which are to be made from single solid forgings of titanium.
The 900mm diameter wheels will spin at 10,500rpm, generating a force of 50,000 radial g's at the wheel rim. The wheels must be made from premium grade titanium just to prevent them from flying apart.

Steve Burnage, research engineering manager at Lockheed Martin UK said: "We are proud to be involved in the design of such a vital element of the car, and will utilise our experience and to find the optimum solution for this exciting challenge."

The collaboration marks the next step in the wheel design and procurement process with the aim to firstly assess if it is even possible to produce such a wheel. The next step will be to form a syndicate of specialist suppliers such as forging and materials specialists, a design base, machinist, and heat treatment specialist to produce the wheels.

Richard Noble, Bloodhound project director said: "The pioneering research in aerodynamics, materials technology and manufacturing - now underway – will, without doubt, continue to benefit industry for years to come."

The project has an aggressive time frame with the first overseas record attempt set to take place in 2011. The exact run location will be confirmed at the end of 2009.

Justin Cunningham

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Another boon for mankind supported by the Military Industrial Complex - the supersonic automobile. How have we done without it for all these years?

Comment Gerry Shapiro, 06/08/2009

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