Here we go...
King Henry VIII Comprehensive School, Abergavenny; 2000-2007
2007 – Present; University of the West of England, Bristol studying BSc (Hons)Product Design Technology
Cedyrn Creative, Waitrose Petrol Station, Coleg Gwent – All part time summer jobs. From 2008 – Present; BLOODHOUND SSC – my first full time job!
BLOODHOUND SSC (Super Sonic Car)
Favourite thing to do in science Getting asked an unusual or difficult question. I often get a lot of questions, but the more thought provoking ones are always more fun to answer, and often get me thinking too!
I’m an engineer helping to design the cockpit for what will be the world’s fastest car – aiming to reach 1000mph. Update >>> New links added!
Hey! I’m Hywel (pronounced How-well), I’m a design engineer working on the BLOODHOUND project. I started off work here as an industrial placement from the University of the West of England (UWE), but am now working full time for the project, aiming to continue on here when I finish my degree.
So… A little about the project itself.
The BLOODHOUND Project is Britain’s attempt to break the World Land Speed Record (LSR) by building and running a car capable of reaching 1000mph on land.
The current record is held by Thrust SSC at 763mph, so we are aiming for a massive jump ahead of that. The car is powered by an EJ200 Jet Engine from a Eurofighter Typhoon and the UK’s largest ever Hybrid Rocket – going from 0 to 1000 in just 42 seconds.
With that sort of acceleration, the driver (Andy Green) will undergo forces of up to 3G on his body, and has to be able to withstand that and still steer the car… that’s where I come in. I am working closely with Andy Green and the other engineers on the project to help design the cockpit that Andy will sit in.
With the car doing a mile in just under 3.5 seconds (that’s 4.5 football fields per second), everything has to be custom, so at the moment I am working to create a titanium steering wheel that is fully moulded to Andy’s hands – the first of its kind in the world.
Although everything we are doing is ground-breaking, the project’s primary aim is to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers (that means you!). Whereas things like Formula 1 and the Armed Forces are very secretive about what they do; we are not! Everything about this car is released to the public and to schools, so that you can learn about the project in class and see how the stuff you are studying now can be used in the real world. All schools have to do is sign up to the project and we will send through materials for them to use…
I decided that you may wish to see some videos of what I do, and what stuff I may be videoing if I win today! So, students, I give you…
Our Hybrid Rocket Test Firing
Testing the Fire Resistant Suit
Animation of the car run in South Africa
My Typical Day
Working on CAD (Computer Aided Design), attending meetings and answering emails…
No day is really a typical day when working with BLOODHOUND! No person in the team does one job – I have gone from designing to presenting, model making to decorating. A normal day though I guess consists of me being in the design office…
As I live quite close to the design office I normally get a chance for a nice walk into the office, getting in to answer emails at about 8am. From there I normally spend most of my morning working at a CAD station manipulating surfaces and running various tests on designs. With pressure and weight being very important in the vehicle, everything has to be designed to have several safety levels – especially when what you are designing is what steers the car!
This is often followed by a quick lunch and some more design work, unless of course there are meetings that day. As we are quite a small team but are all working on completely different parts of the car (the car itself is 13 metres long – there is a lot to design!) we have regular design review meetings.
Here we all get together and present what we have done, and everyone else discusses and openly questions what has been done. This isn’t a negative thing at all though; it is an excellent way to ensure that you design the best possible components and that all the parts fit together well – lots of people may come up with something you haven’t thought of…
In addition to all of my ‘traditional‘ work, I also run all of the social media for the project – facebook, twitter, tumblr etc. This is a great way to chat to people out there and answer questions about the project. It also keeps me on my toes!
By the time I have done some paperwork, done some graphical renderings and had many meetings regarding designs, I normally finish around 6pm. That being said, I have worked past 11pm when something needs to be finished!
What I'd do with the money
Set up webcasts for the project
One thing I always wished I had when I was at school was the ability to ask the people I read about direct questions. That is something I want to fix. I want to set up webcasts so that every month people can log onto a website and ask team members questions, and get them answered live. Kind of an I’m a Scientist, but with live video, sound and Land Speed Record Holders.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could ask the fastest man on earth a question and have him answer back – both to you and the world?
These webcasts would have a rotating cast of people, ranging from Richard Noble (previous LSR holder), Andy Green (current LSR holder), Mark Chapman (Chief Engineer) and anyone else who people wanted to talk to. You could ask them anything about engineering or science, but also about them personally. With the powers of the internet, I think that everyone should get the chance to participate.
I want you to be able to talk to us in future, so the prize money would be spent setting this system up.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Enthusiastic, creative, focussed
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Heard gasps from an audience of 8000 children at a show as I told them what BLOODHOUND is capable of… the amazement makes it all worth it!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Luckily not – I never got caught ;-)
Who is your favourite singer or band?
No one specific, I like a whole range! At the moment though I am going through a Frank Turner phase…
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I once hiked 100km in 25 hours for charity. That was great fun! Not being able to walk for three days afterwards though was not quite as fun…
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To be able to fly, to go into space and to have something that can take what you can imagine and make it viewable to everyone else!
Tell us a joke.
Two sausages are sizzling away in their pan. One turns to the other and says ‘Goodness me it’s hot in here!’. The other rolls over and replies ‘Bahh!!! A talking sausage!!!’