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Transportation Technology

The Brakes That Stop a 1,000 MPH Bloodhound SSC 262

Posted by Soulskill
from the stop-speed-racer-stop dept.
cartechboy writes: "The problem: How do you stop the 1,000 mph Bloodhound SSC? The solution: Apparently you use steel rotors from AP Racing, which managed to absorb 4.6 kilowatts of energy on a test stand without failing although the Bloodhound team hasn't spun them up to the full 10,000 rpm just yet. During testing, a set of carbon rotors from a jet fighter shattered under the stress during a half-speed, 5,000-rpm test, thus the team switched to steel rotors. It's like stopping a bus from 160 mph on a wet road. That's how the engineers behind the Bloodhound SSC—the British land-speed record car designed to break the 1,000-mph barrier—described the task of stopping their creation once it's finished breaking the sound barrier. We'll have to wait to see if the steel rotors can handle the full 10,000 rpm run, but until then, it looks like steel is stronger than carbon when it comes to some instances."
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The Brakes That Stop a 1,000 MPH Bloodhound SSC

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  • by holophrastic (221104) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @01:06PM (#47058207)

    I think people forget that "stronger" is meaningless. In the case of steel vs carbon, carbon is going to be stronger for a given weight, but that just makes the word "stronger" even more meaningless.

    Steel usually wins out against most materials when it comes to survival. Steel bends, and bends back. Just about everything else loses by being brittle. Aluminum is the best example, being about three times lighter, but incredibly brittle. Carbon is also very brittle, just at the microscopic level. It'll fray, and slowly degrade until it comes a part -- like most fabrics.

    Steel deforms, and then melts back together and deforms again. In order for friction to destroy steel, it needs to actually wear it away one particle at a time. Being so much heavier/denser, there are that many more particles to wear away. That's the win.

    Why are people surprised when mass wins in a mass-bound effort? The challenge here is to get a heavy car to go really fast, and to then slow it down. That's always been a mass vs mass game. More mass always wins.

    My question remains: if the carbon solution were as heavy as the steel solution, would it survive? But we all know that you can't cram that much carbon fibre into the same style of braking system.

  • It's a monster (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @01:17PM (#47058351) Homepage

    My favorite thing about the Bloodhound SSC is that it uses a 4.2L V12 engine producing 750bhp...to run its fuel pump.

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