Thermal barrier specialist Zircotec has been selected as an exclusive supplier to the BLOODHOUND Project, a land speed record attempt hoping to achieve 1000mph. Technical Product Sponsor Zircotec will work closely with the team's engineers to protect an array of materials including steel, aluminium, titanium and composites using its plasma sprayed ceramics to shield the driver, structure and sensitive electrical systems from heat.
Key applications cited for coating include protection of the composite body panels surrounding the titanium afterburner nozzle petals, which are normally exposed to airflow on a Typhoon fighter. The catalyst pack, at the end of the casing of the 18" Falcon Rocket that will be generating 27,500 lbs of thrust, is another area that generates significant heat In addition to these, the exhaust manifolds for the 650bhp MCT V12, which will be running at 10,500rpm for 22 seconds during the rocket firing cycle, are set to be coated using Zircotec's plasma sprayed ceramics. "All these major heat sources generate a packaging and heat management challenge to the design team," says Conor La Grue, supply chain manager for the BLOODHOUND Programme. "Zircotec products will be invaluable in the overall packaging solution to allow the management and control of heat within BLOODHOUND SSC."
"BLOODHOUND SSC will allow us to push our technology and develop further derivatives of our ultra high performance offerings that will benefit other engineering sectors," says Zircotec's managing director Terry Graham. "An application where package, weight and thermal protection are critical will help us create exciting new products applicable to more everyday installations in cars, homes and industrial applications lighter, safer and more efficient. It creates an opportunity to fast track developments and to help us achieve success in new niches."
Zircotec is also planning to embrace all aspects of the BLOODHOUND Project wholeheartedly; the firm is as keen as project founder Richard Noble to engage schoolchildren and academics to become passionate about this area of engineering and maybe even find future employees. "We firmly believe in using the project to develop both our technologies and the future growth of Zircotec. I am an engineer myself and appreciate just how far this project is going to push knowledge," says Graham. "I am also involved with two local schools (as a governor), and already have seen the interest this project is generating. Seeing how a ceramic less than a millimetre thick can make a vehicle operate more efficiently or more safely will highlight to students the benefits novel technologies can deliver in whatever field they choose, or possibly attract them to a career with Zircotec."