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Gill Sensors & Controls’ Regional Sales Manager, Simon Peaty, caught up with Bloodhound Systems Engineer Kevin Murray to discuss the where GSlevel and GSpostion sensors are being used on the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car and how important the data is to making the land speed record a success.
Simon: How many sensors are installed in the Bloodhound car and what do they do?
Kev: At last count we had 501 sensors in the car, the majority of which are pressure and strain so that we can check after every run that the car is doing as we predicted on the CFD Model. 19 of those sensors are Gill sensors. We have various GSposition sensors fitted and we have 7 GSlevel capacitive level sensors.
Simon: Great, so where on the car are the various tanks that the level sensors will be installed?
Kev: Starting in the Cockpit where Andy Green will sit, just behind the bulk head in the cockpit sits the tank for the High-Test Peroxide. There will be two GSlevel sensors installed, which will be used mainly for re-fuelling so that we know exactly how much fuel is in the tank. We will need to have a specific weight in the tanks for each run. For the first years run we have a target speed of 800mph and we will fill the tank to its full capacity (1,000 kilogram) and so we need accurate level measurement for that.
Simon: The HTP fuel, (High- Test Peroxide) is being used to run the main jet engines?
Kev: The main jet engine will use JET A1 fuel, tthe High-Test Peroxide will be pumped using a 500 weight horse power car engine to the rocket system and through to the rocket, through catalysts where it will decompose and come out of the catalysts as super-heated steam. There will then be effectively a rubber fuel grain in that rocket tube.
Simon: …and that’s a solid fuel?
Kev: That’s right, this will combust combined with the super-heated steam and oxygen to give us our thrust to get us up to the top speeds we are aiming for.
Simon: …and this is the difference from going from 500mph to 1000mph…
Kev: Yes, it provides the extra thrust to reach the top speeds.
Simon: OK, just to cover some of the other applications, we’ve got some GSposition sensors on the winglets as well?
Kev: Yes that’s right. We also have some 360 Rotary Sensors on the air brake doors. When Andy gets down to 800mph he’ll be able to deploy the air brake doors. These will open gradually as obviously opening them straight out into the wind at 800mph would not be the best idea! We need to know exactly when we’re there and the feedback from the 360 Rotary Sensors will give us that information.
Simon: You’re also using our 25mm Position Sensors for front and rear suspension defection measurement, but for me I think one of the most interesting applications is the 20mm Position Sensor which is actually installed to the brake and accelerator pedals isn’t it?
Kev: Yes that’s right. These sensors are obviously extremely important as the actual disc brakes won’t be used until Andy gets down to 200mph. If Andy presses the pedals too much at that point there is still a chance that the brakes could overheat, so we need a good indication of where the pedal is positioned so the sensors need to be extremely accurate for that.
Simon: …and am I correct in saying it is a fly-by-wire system, so the 20mm Position Sensor is actually making the link between the input from Andy and the rocket going?
Kev: That’s right, the signal will go from the sensor up to the computer which controls the jet and that computer will send the signal to the jet.
For more information on the significance of the sensors watch the Second Part of the Interview with Bloodhound.