A member of the pack

Over the past three years we’ve been working with the Bloodhound LSR team to balance the record-breaking car’s 98kg aluminium wheels to a grade G1.0 spec. The car aims to reach speeds of 1,000mph, with its wheels turning at a max operational speed of 10,200 RPM. In order to ensure the wheels are able to withstand this speed without any vibration, they had to be dynamically balanced to very tight tolerances. Any motorsport enthusiast knows that wheel balancing is an essential task for safety and performance.

The Bloodhound LSR team came to us at WDB Ltd to balance the wheels of the car. This was on the basis of our expertise in the aerospace industry.

Precision Wheel Balancing for High Performance: Adapting, Testing, Refining

In order to accommodate the Bloodhound’s requirements, we custom designed and adapted our in-house tooling. This was to allow it to act as a mandrel in order to serve as the interface between the balancing machine and the wheels. The wheels’ unbalance was then corrected by removing material from the outer rim using hand tools, and were balanced to less than 1 micron eccentricity.

We attended design meetings with the team, and provided considered feedback for improvement from our balancing work. As a result, the wheel profile was redesigned to better suit the surface of the dry lake track it will be running on. As a result of this, the wheels are now narrower than before, therefore reducing aerodynamic drag.

The ideal solution for strength and quality

The 98kg wheels are machined from a forged single bilet. This is a solid chunk of material, in this case aluminium – to resist the 50000 g centrifugal forces. Custom forging the wheels is suitable for a bespoke project like this, as it produces a high-strength and high-quality end product.

Destination: South Africa

The high speed testing will take part in South Africa this month on a specially-prepared 12.4 mile track. The track is located at Hakskeen Pan in the Kalahari Desert.

The team are planning to carry out 13 runs to test the aerodynamics and stability of the car. In addition, the team will carry out testing of a 400mph+ transition phase. This is where the front wheels’ grip on the track surface changes. Consequently meaning the front wheels become rudder-like aero devices.

 

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