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Successful Engine Test in UK For Planned 1000 mph Car 262

Posted by timothy
from the pop-quiz-how-long-can-it-run-in-the-uk dept.
amkkhan writes with this excerpt from International Science Times: "Scientists aiming to create a car that can break 1,000 mph cleared a large hurdle yesterday when they successfully tested their rocket engine. The engine will power the supersonic car known as the Bloodhound SSC — meant to become the fastest car in the world. The British team tested the engine in an aircraft shelter in Newquay Cornwall Airport, originally designed to protect fighter planes from bombs. Although the data hasn't fully been analyzed, the researchers said the engine reached 30,000 horsepower during the 10-second burn. Given enough time, they expect the engine to reach 80,000 horsepower and 27,500 pounds of thrust."
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Successful Engine Test in UK For Planned 1000 mph Car

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:00PM (#41549883)

    I just got my old girl primered and re-upholstered and I'm thinking a new engine would really make her kick ass. I got $200 and and '86 Silverado (that just needs a new transmission) that I'm willing to part with, if you're interested in selling the engine after you break that record.

    • I just got my old girl primered and re-upholstered and I'm thinking a new engine would really make her kick ass.

      Is your 'old girl' a rear-engine design? If not, you may be out of luck...

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        I just got my old girl primered and re-upholstered and I'm thinking a new engine would really make her kick ass.

        Is your 'old girl' a rear-engine design? If not, you may be out of luck...

        Firebirds of that era were front engine. I think Pontiac made anything but the Fiero with front engine and the Fiero is a frightening drive with the engine it had (I whipped out a few times in mine and it always spun around with the rear of the car going in the direction of travel. Couldn't sell that thing fast enough.)

      • Maybe he just wants to go backwards really fast? :)

      • by Rhacman (1528815) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @01:53PM (#41551307)
        With 27,500 pounds of thrust, I don't think where you mount the engine on that vehicle will affect the end result much, that is, when what's left returns to a solid phase of matter.
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        No, I've seen rocket or jet powered, formerly front engine cars. You don't even have to remove the original engine, you mount the rocket in the trunk.

  • I used to think this kind of stuff was pretty amazing. It certainly used to be amazing for a car to go hundreds of miles an hour. Now I think it's getting to the realms of stupidity. It's pretty likely that more people are going to die doing this stuff, but for what?

    I think this type of research would be better directed towards getting planes to go faster, not cars. There is probably a lot of overlap though, since basically all of the challenge here will be the aerodynamics.

    Alternatively, doing the same cha

    • by dave420 (699308) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:12PM (#41550049)
      This project is being used to get kids interested in science, technology, and mathematics. That's why it's being partly-funded by the government, including the loan of some Typhoon engines. It's not just rich guys going "what what" and driving like idiots - they actually put some thought into it. They tour the car model around schools and get the kids to make projects based on it. The car is also not a rocket car, but a rocket/jet hybrid. It has a rocket engine (which uses a Formula-1 car as the oxidiser pump - that in itself is pretty cool), strapped to one of the engines from a Eurofighter jet (the aforementioned Typhoon engine). It's a really fascinating project.
      • This project is being used to get kids interested in science, technology, and mathematics.

        And what about a 1000 mpg car? Sounds much more interesting to me.

        • by Ogi_UnixNut (916982) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:29PM (#41550285) Homepage

          But far more boring to most kids. I admit, it sounds pretty boring to me too, even if it is the more responsible goal to aim for. The UK has a problem with getting kids interested in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths). Most kids love explosions, fire, noise and power. You lecture them on how you can make a car go 1000 miles on a gallon of fuel, and most would probably fall asleep.

          This however, is fast, noisy, pushes science/engineering to its limits, and shoots a massive jet of fire out the back, what's not to love? It gets kids excited, which is its primary goal, it is an excellent world showcase for the high-technology design/manufacturing that the UK still has, and installs some pride in the UK populace. It is not a blueprint for all future cars, so the fact it gets 0.04mpg (uk gallons) is irrelevant, especially as it will probably only run a few times in its life.

          Not to fret though, there are lots of challenges every year to see who can get the best mpg (I think we're up to 350mpg on diesel). Different strokes for different folks and all that. There is a lot of work on both sides of the fence :)

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          This project is being used to get kids interested in science, technology, and mathematics.

          And what about a 1000 mpg car? Sounds much more interesting to me.

          Wrong room. You want down the hall, 3rd on left. This is the room for the 1000 gpm car.

        • Already been done [fueleconomy.gov] and beaten by an order of magnitude. Much like these ultra fast vehicles you wouldn't use it as a daily driver though.
          • That doesn't mean the kids can't try it for themselves. In fact, most efforts like this one get reproduced over and over again so that new people learn from it.
        • And what about a 1000 mpg car? Sounds much more interesting to me.

          I believe those are the ones with the bicycle pedals and the streamers sticking out of the handlebars

        • There are plenty of people (including schools) doing that, and one does not preclude the other.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        This project is being used to get kids interested in science, technology, and mathematics.

        So they will use Raspberry Pis to control the engine and autopilot it on city streets?

    • by Loughla (2531696)

      I just don't get the point of rocket cars.

      Because we were all twelve once?

      • I guess I'm maybe speaking to the wrong crowd since Americans are really into their drag racing, but I prefer cars that can turn corners well too. I love rallying and other types of motor racing. There's little practical purpose in being able to go over 200mph in a car though, given current roads. And you can still have flames shooting out of the exhaust in an ICE :D

        • by Loughla (2531696) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:38PM (#41550387)

          But for a twelve year old kid, there's just something about the idea of strapping yourself to a missile for no other reason than to go really, really, really fast. Turns are great, and I agree, but come on - 1,000 mph? I'd do it, and I'm a full-grown human. Now imagine being a little kid and seeing this thing tearing ass across the desert.

          In the words of the immortal bard, Shakespeare, "FUCK YEAH."

        • There's little practical purpose in being able to go over 200mph in a car though, given current roads

          Given that you're on an island 200 miles across, I'm going to strongly agree with that...and some of us Americans also enjoy cars that can turn both left AND right.

          • by 0111 1110 (518466)

            Which is why we don't like to buy cars made in our own country. Maybe in some distant future our automotive engineers will discover the magical secrets of turning. Until then we just have to stick to European and (occassionally) Japanese cars.

            • by Grishnakh (216268)

              I hate to break it to you, but American cars have gotten a lot better at turning in the last decade or two, at least compared with the run-of-the mill Japanese cars. I've rented a bunch of different cars over the last years, and the American cars like the Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, and Chevy Impala had handling just as good as the Mitsubishi Galant and Nissan Altima and Toyota Corolla I drove (which is to say, they were all competent for 4-door sedans but were pretty sloppy IMO).

    • Planes already went fast. Supersonic passanger jet technology was introduced long ago. The difficult part is making it financially viable in the current economy - Concorde just cost too much to run.

      The focus of civilian aviation now isn't on speed, but cost - finding new ways to make the planes ever more economical to operate, either by increasing fuel efficiency (Fuel being a major cost) or to cram more paying passangers onboard to reduce the per-passanger cost.
      • by vux984 (928602)

        The focus of civilian aviation now isn't on speed, but cost - finding new ways to make the planes ever more economical to operate, either by increasing fuel efficiency (Fuel being a major cost) or to cram more paying passangers onboard to reduce the per-passanger cost.

        Ah, well if we aren't focussed on speed and want to optimize per passenger cost -- that's a solved problem too; they are called boats. :)

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @01:36PM (#41551119) Journal
          Actually, they're not. Boats are much more efficient for cargo, but a fast boat from the UK to the USA takes over a week. That means that you need to take enough food for a week, have enough space to keep people entertained for a week, have people employed to clean the cabins en voyage and so on. Your passengers also have to be able to spare a week or two each way for the journey. Boats are fine for short trips, although loading and unloading can quickly become a bottleneck, which drives up the cost because harbour space is a finite resource.
    • In order for a 1,000 mph car to be approved for driving/testing by a human, i would imagine the funding agencies would require all kinds of safety gear. if, through the development of new safety tech brings us some new breakthrough that scales down/back and makes 80 mph crashes much safer, isn't that a worthwhile pursuit?
    • by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:55PM (#41550617) Homepage
      If you want to see a raw speed challenge that uses a number of reciprocating piston engines you should go check out speed week [scta-bni.org] at the Bonneville Salt Flats [wikipedia.org]. I don't know how many rocket or jet vehicles compete but there are a number of regular vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles) and a ton of categories to compete in. I would love to go some day when I complete my project car.
      • by dpilot (134227)

        I used to live less than a mile up the road from where Art Arfons built the Green Monsters. Back in the day, he used surplus jet engines from the B58 Hustler program. You could hear it at our house when he test-fired.

    • Sure, I mean, it would make no sense to have really-long-distance-highways with self-driving-buses in a couple of decades, right?

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      I have to agree, this project is a total waste of time. It's really nothing more than sticking an aircraft engine in a car. We have lots of places that can go faster than 1000 mph; we've been building mach 2+ planes for decades now. The SR-71 could go Mach 3 IIRC, and that was built in the late 50s or early 60s. There's no point in making a "car" that goes that fast, when you can only do it at the Bonneville Salt Flats, and it has zero practical application. It's not like we can make passenger cars go

  • Did anyone else read that as MPG? I read the whole summary and was like "REALY??!!!!?!?!!?!?!!" Anyway, this is a 2-stage car that uses a jet engine to get past 200MPH-ish and then a rocket engine to get to 1000+. That really is the right way to do it, as rocket dragsters on drag strips tend to steer badly due to slight takeoff jumps and pushes in a direction other than straight.
  • ...of the Decade in 5, 4, 3, 2...
  • Why would you classify a rocket engine in horsepower? Thrust is really what you're after, though even peak thrust is a bit of a useless measure. An overall or maximum total impulse would have been a nice touch. Bonus if they'd use a standard, like N-s, as their unit.

    • by Relayman (1068986)
      Horsepower lets us visualize 80,000 horses and the manure that they produce. Now, since each of the 80,000 horses is limited in speed, you still have to figure out how to put them in series to get the desired 1,000 mph (they can't pull but they could push), but, still, it's important to some to think of the problem in this way.
      • by magarity (164372)

        Horsepower lets us visualize 80,000 horses and the manure that they produce. Now, since each of the 80,000 horses is limited in speed, you still have to figure out how to put them in series to get the desired 1,000 mph (they can't pull but they could push), but, still, it's important to some to think of the problem in this way.

        They could be on a big treadmill that turns a drive train with a really high gear ratio.

        • You have solved the first part of the puzzle. The second part is working out how to fit them all into a car.
    • by jimshatt (1002452)
      Metric or imperial horses?
  • Its not a car (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:21PM (#41550189)

    A rocket with wheels is still just a rocket, doesn't matter where its aimed.

    • Yes, came to post this. I'd say a requirement of a "car" is that it is propelled solely through torquing the wheels. This is effectively a (steerable?) rocket sled.

      • by Relayman (1068986)
        Alternatively, the requirement could be constant contact with the ground. Most objects will fly at 1,000 mph; I know the takeoff speed of my Corolla is around 120 mph.
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Your definition of "car" is meaningless and isn't anything like Webster's. You don't seem to realize that words are used for communication, and if you simply use your own meaning of a word everyone uses, you are obfuscating, not communicating.

        There's nothing in the definition of "car" that says what the method of propulsion is. This is indeed a car. Here's what a car is [merriam-webster.com]:

        Definition of CAR
        1: a vehicle moving on wheels: as
        a archaic : carriage, chariot
        b : a vehicle designed to move on rails (as of a railroad)
        c

  • by Brett Buck (811747) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:26PM (#41550233)

    Pedantic, but we are among geeks - a rocket engine gives *NO* horsepower in a static test, because there is no work being done. The power is a product of the thrust and the speed times some constant to get it in the desired units. No speed = no power.

          They claim to get 80,000 hp at 1000 mph - that's about 30,000 lbs of thrust, which is reasonably consistent with the claimed final thrust. They could have just said that.

            Brett

    • by timeOday (582209)

      Pedantic, but we are among geeks - a rocket engine gives *NO* horsepower in a static test, because there is no work being done.

      Well, it is accelerating its fuel and oxidizer to a great speed out the back. We seldom think of a rocket as a big gas cannon that just happens to have a lot of recoil, but it wouldn't be incorrect.

    • a rocket engine gives *NO* horsepower in a static test, because there is no work being done.

      The exhaust gasses beg to differ!
      (or would, if they were sentient and capable of speech...)

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:44PM (#41550461) Homepage

      Au contraire! They slightly accelerated/slowed* the rotation of the earth.

      * I don't know which way it was pointing, hopefully not north.

    • Of course it is doing work. Work == energy (same units). Instead of making the rocket go forward it created sound, pushed air, increased temperature, etc. Exactly the same amount of work is done in a static test as is done in an actual launch.

  • I'm all for cool science projects but at those speeds I think we can assume any accident will be fatal, especially if the fuel ignites. Why not partner with the google team to make it autonomous, it would be great press for google and would generate buzz for the project.
  • Not A Car (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    When a vehicle's primary means of forward momentum is no longer via the transmission of energy to the ground through wheels but instead via high speed ejection of gasses through a jet exhaust, it should no longer be considered a car. It's a rocket sled.

  • I never saw the point of building Thrust SSC and its ilk.
    Can the technology be transferred to street legal cars? No. Does it provide new insights into the science invlved, such as aerodynamics? No, since they use mostly existing rocket science (pun intended) to make it work. How does a project like this advances science?

    Oh well, at least it's privately funded, so we can rest assured our tax money isn't being pissed in the wind.

    • Oh well, at least it's privately funded, so we can rest assured our tax money isn't being pissed in the wind.

      Yes, fortunately it isn't solar or other green energy powered. If it was green you could kiss another $50 million of our tax dollars gone on it.

    • by jamstar7 (694492)
      A street-legal rocket car....

      California to New York in 2.5 hours. 3 hours trying to find a parking space.
    • by jareth-0205 (525594) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @01:08PM (#41550813) Homepage

      Does it provide new insights into the science invlved, such as aerodynamics?

      Actually, yes. It's extremely difficult to keep a car level with that much thrust, and not flying or burying itself. Also, before ThrustSSC nobody really knew what would happen with the sonic boom and how it would interact with the ground, reflect back onto the car, etc.

      Also... it's *awesome*! Do we stop doing cool stuff because there's no immediate benefit??

    • by Spad (470073)

      Because it's fucking awesome and nobody has done it before.

      When did doing cool things out of curiosity become so derided?

  • All things considered, I'd rather have a 1000mpg car than a 1000mph car.

    • by idontgno (624372)

      Here you go. [discovermagazine.com]

      You'll notice that in terms of utility, a 1000 MPG car is no less practical than a 1000 MPH car. No more practical, either. In fact, not at all practical.

      I take it that on further reflection, you don't want either?

  • Richard Hammond (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Pax681 (1002592)
    keep the FUCK AWAY FROM IT!!! that is all :P
  • ...or do all these land speed records seem to boil down to just how fast you can scrape a de-winged jet aircraft along the ground?
    • by berashith (222128)

      your definition is correct, but I imagine that it isn't quite as easy as you make it sound.

  • by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:46PM (#41550483) Journal

    I've got plenty of karma so I'm just going to say it.

    I've just been scrolling through the "what's the point" posts and all I can say is get the fuck over yourselves. If this thing were built in America you'd be calling it the greatest thing since the outside toilet. Same as how you pissed on Concorde, one of the greatest technical achievements of the 20th century, after you didn't get your act together with your own SST projects. Same s how you defend your suckiness at soccer by claiming "oh but we don't care about that game anyway."

    But you know what? The Brits have made the land speed record their thing. I say good on them and I have to ask what ground-breaking records have you broken from the comfort of your mother's basement lately?

    Lighten up, you depressing fucks!

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by DRJlaw (946416)

      I've just been scrolling through the "what's the point" posts and all I can say is get the fuck over yourselves. If this thing were built in America you'd be calling it the greatest thing since the outside toilet. Same as how you pissed on Concorde, one of the greatest technical achievements of the 20th century, after you didn't get your act together with your own SST projects. Same s how you defend your suckiness at soccer by claiming "oh but we don't care about that game anyway."

      Actually, I wouldn't. Roc

    • by Algae_94 (2017070)

      Same s how you defend your suckiness at soccer by claiming "oh but we don't care about that game anyway."

      This isn't a defense mechanism to explain bad performance. Americans really don't give a shit about soccer. Games are not shown on TV unless you are watching a Spanish language channel, OR it's either the World cup or Olympics. I hear there's an American soccer league, but it's small potatoes. Any trash talk by other countries about soccer falls on deaf ears.

    • Frankly, you're worse than the Americans about taking an unrelated subject and injecting bafflingly out-of-context nationalism. Concorde? That was 50 years ago, dude. And I assure you that the American indifference towards soccer is genuine. (Shouldn't you be lecturing us about how it's actually called "football" and our sport should be called "[insert insulting name here]"? I thought that was standard procedure.)
  • All this talk about "breaking" the speed barrier and how fast this car goes with not one sentance devoted anywhere to how this thing stops reminds me of an earlier darwin award involving JATOs.

    At 1050 MPH if course is perfectly flat at same alt you have between 6 to 15 seconds depending on height of obstruction to change course after any object can even be detected by any sort of optics over the horizon.

    • by Spad (470073)

      Changing course enough to avoid any sizeable object would probably be fatal in that thing; there's a reason they've had people clear all the rocks & pebbles from the proposed test site so they don't have to worry about it.

      It stops mostly by use of a parachute.

  • Google tells us that

    ((30 000 horsepower) / (27 500 pounds force)) * (10 seconds) = 1.8 kilometers

    Unless that's a BIG aircraft shelter, they probably didn't get 30K HP out of the engine.
    My guess is they bolted it to a static test stand, where it generated exactly 0 HP.

    Compare
    (1.21 gigawatts) / (88 miles per hour) = 30 757 874 newtons

    • by Ogive17 (691899)
      No, they literally had 30,000 horses lined up to push against the engine to keep it from moving.
  • It uses coffee!

    Won't that cause blindness in the driver?

  • Sounds more like a horizontal rocket to me.

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @02:41PM (#41551779) Homepage

    The engine isn't the problem. There are many aircraft engines powerful enough. The problem is keeping the "car" stably in contact with the ground. Really, anything going that fast is an aircraft. The aerodynamic forces dominate.

    Finding a long enough flat area to run the thing is getting hard. The Bonneville Salt Flats aren't big enough any more. The last few land speed record efforts moved to Black Rock Desert, and this one is planned for the Hakskeen Pan dry lake bed in South Africa.

    Rails work better than salt flats. Holloman USAF Base has a 10-mile high speed test rail track for rocket sled tests. The speed record there is 6,481 MPH.

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