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Buckeye Bullet Sets Land Speed Record for Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Powered Vehicles

Oct. 20, 2009
Buckeye Bullet 2 sets land speed record for hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicles.
Buckeye Bullet 2,

The Buckeye Bullet 2, designed and built by engineering students at Ohio State University, recently set a land-speed record for hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered vehicles at the Bonneville Salt Flats. It hit 302.877 mph in the flying mile and 303.025 mph in the flying kilometer, though these are unofficial records until recognized by the FIA.

The car is powered by two fuel cells fed from onboard tanks of oxygen and hydrogen. Heat from the cells is dissipated using an ice bath. A radiator on a vehicle going 300 mph would have caused too much drag.

Electricity from the cells feeds into a controller that converts dc power to three-phase ac. The resulting waveform goes to run a custom-built 700-hp induction motor. A six-speed customized transmission sends power to the machined, solid-aluminum wheels equipped with high-speed Bonneville racing tires.

The body is constructed of honeycombed Nomex panels for stiffness, strength, and light weight. The panels, in turn, were made using CNC-machined molds for accuracy. Several of the panels are outfitted with quick-release hardware, letting team members quickly maintain and troubleshoot the streamlined vehicle.

For safety, the driver sits in a prepreg carbon-fiber/aluminum honeycomb composite tub. It adds a layer of strong and stiff crash protection around the driver and protects him from sharp edges. The tub contains a molded-in beaded seat and strengthened hard points to connect the driver’s restraint system.

For troubleshooting and documentation, the Bullet has a double-layer CAN communication system and uses state-of-the-art Bosch Motorsport data acquisition. Wireless telemetry and onboard diagnostics give the driver and crew real time updates on vehicle performance. In all, there are over 50 data channels.

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