Kenji's Blog

Blog for Dr Kenji Takeda at the University of Southampton. Find out about what he's up to in aerodynamics, aircraft noise, flight simulation and Formula One teaching, research and schools outreach. Also see what's going on in the School of Engineering Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Catch me if you can....

How does it feel to drive at 15 times the motorway speed limit? Well, you can find out now on the BLOODHOUND Driving Experience. Launched at Farnborough Airshow 2010, it's now possible to take to the wheel of a virtual supersonic car. Thanks to IT sponsor Intel, we at the University of Southampton have been able to work with a great team to bring this project to fruition.

Using our experience in flight simulation, aerodynamics and vehicle modelling, we worked with Cursive Simulation to create a model that recreates the full experience from 0 to 1000 to 0 mph - all in 100 seconds.
Read more about it at Wired UK

The BLOODHOUND Driving Experience is making its way to our events, so keep tabs on where it will be.

Join the adventure @

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Amy Williams - our hero!!!

We're absolutely over the moon with Amy Williams' amazing Gold Medal in the Winter Olympics Bob Skeleton event. We've been fortunate enough at the University of Southampton to have worked with her, and the rest of the team, in the run-up to the Games. Rachel and James, two graduates from our Ship Science course and studying for Engineering Doctorates, are out in Vancouver supporting Team GB having worked with the Bob Skeleton team for the past four years. Read the full story at @

Monday, January 18, 2010

How many people does it take to break the land speed record?

One? Andy Green is the fastest man on earth, and aiming to drive BLOODHOUND SSC faster than 1000mph – 40% faster than the speed of sound. Of course, he needs a crew out in the South African desert, so add another two or three dozen people at least. Also, there aren’t many supersonic cars on the market, so that means building a new one from scratch.

That’s where it really gets difficult. Combining the sophistication of a jet fighter, the finesse of a Formula One car, and the raw power of a rocket, is pushing the limits of 21st century science and engineering. It requires great leadership and great teamwork, and Richard Noble is certainly the man to pull this together. And he has. The engineering team is small, only 17 people, young and old, bringing together immense experience and huge amounts of joie de vivre.

That’s still not enough though. The BLOODHOUND project is reaching a new milestone – building the car. With the engineering team now moved into its new HQ in Bristol, alongside the legendary SS Great Britain, we’ve finalised the concept design and it’s now time to turn computer models into reality. This means more people, and lots of them.

A car is a complicated device. Thousands of components have to work in perfect harmony and be reliable. Every component has to be both designed and built. The BLOODHOUND team has designed the overall car, but the details - each nut, bolt, valve, circuit board, and the all-important software – has to be realised. The idea behind BLOODHOUND is to showcase British engineering, something that the nation needs to be proud of, and so the call went out – help! And help has been pouring in, from over 160 companies no less.

Conor La Grue is the linchpin here, listening to the engineering team’s needs and trying to find companies willing to help and become part of the project. The response has been tremendous, engineers love a challenge, and they don’t get much bigger than this! So the team is steadily growing through our vital product sponsors, and everyone is exhilarated that the build phase is getting underway. Conor will be at the Autosport International Show at NEC Birmingham talking to more firms, so if you think you can help then drop by the BLOODHOUND stand (S30, Hall 19).

So, we’re up to a few hundred people now, but it doesn’t stop there. This is where you come in – you can join the team. That’s right, you can lay claim to the world land speed record.

The BLOODHOUND 1K Club is for fans - anyone who wants to be part of possibly the most exciting project in the UK, or world even. 1K members really do get involved, with special days to meet the team, the car and even see it running in the UK. Not only that, you can ride on the car too! Sign up to our Fin Programme and we’ll graffiti your name onto the tail so you can share the record with us.

That’s a few thousand people now. Not to mention the thousands of schools and colleges who have signed up to the education programme. That’s the real point of the whole thing, doing something amazing with science to inspire youngsters, and with over 3,000 schools signed up we’re getting into the tens of thousands of people now.

So while Andy Green will be the one sitting in the hot seat, he stands on the shoulders of thousands, and as they say, it could be you. so check out and join the team - we need YOU!

Note - A short Version of this is also available at Wired UK

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

EP2DC - linking EPrints with research data repositories

We're proud to announce the release of EP2DC, a service that connects and EPrints document repository with a remote data repository. What's the point? Well, at Southampton we've been working very hard over the past decade to make research more widely available - spearheading the Open Access movement. One of the products of this is EPrints, one of the world's most popular repository platforms. EP2DC allows you to upload datasets to go alongside your articles - e.g. the raw data used for the graphs in your paper. While this is possible with EPrints already, here we have built a Web Service infrastructure that allows the data to be stored remotely - i.e. in a separate data repository. This provides a scalable, federated SOA architecture that we believe will help users, repository owner and developers realise the dream of open access to data. Have a look at, and more specifically on the EP2DC blog @ Thanks to JISC for funding us to create this!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Prof Lilley!

Professor Geoffrey Lilley is one of the most accomplished people I have had the pleasure of knowing. He is a legend in aeroacoustics, was instrumental in enabling Concorde to enter service, and even delved into special relativity and astrophysics. Lilley's equation is one of the most important acoustic tools for jet noise research. 11th December 2009 saw friends and colleagues reunited at Southampton to celebrate Prof Lilley's 90th Birthday. Here are some photos from this very special event.

- Group photo
- Prof Lilley enjoying his birthday, and another pic here
- Prof Shon Ffowcs-Williams reminiscing
- Prof Mike Gaster telling another story about Geoff
A 75MB zip file with around 50 photos from the day can be downloaded here.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

How to build a birdman....

You can see our birdman attempt with The Gadget Show here if you missed it. Certainly was a lot of fun! Our aircraft design was deliberately conventional as we only had a month to design, test, build and fly two aircraft. We did test a model in the RJ Mitchell wind tunnel, as used by Sir Chris Hoy and the British Cycling Team in their preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. We also did some computational fluid dynamics analysis, hat proved to us that winglets were well worth including. Building the aircraft in our student workshops, luckily devoid of student projects over the summer break, took up a lot of space. The wingspan was over 9m!! Overall it was an amazing experience. Particular thanks go to Jason Bradbury for having the kohanas to fly our creation. he did a great job, and there will always be room in the cockpit for him in our future Birdman attempts! This isn't the only thing we get up to. A really cool project was also our amphibious cycle, which you can see on YouTube. We also get up to more serious research, working with companies such as Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Formula 1 teams, Microsoft, RNLI, Lloyds Register and others. Oh, and if you've not been to uni yet, why not consider coming to Southampton to learn how to design Birdman aircraft and more!!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Flying high on The Gadget Show...

23rd August 2009 was a hude day for us at the University of Southampton. We were tasked a month earlier with designing and building a glider for the International Birdman Competition at Worthing. This crazy event asks grown men and women to jump from a 10m high pier to see how far they can fly - unassisted!!! To see how we did, watch The Gadget Show on Bank Holiday Monday 31st August 2009 on Five. You can get a sneak preview in this interview with presenters Jason and Ortis. You can read a bit more about it in our 'official' press release @ We're going to try again next year with a group of students. It's just one example of what our Aeronautics & Astronautics students get up to :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Steaming into the record books....

Congratulations to the British Steam Car Challenge team for breaking the oldest land speed record in the world! Fantastic effort, you really are an inspiration to us all, as your car's name aptly suggests. It truly is an amazing site to behold!
And to the future - 1000mph using rocket and fighter jet engine with BLOODHOUND SSC :) Here's to more world records!!!!