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Transportation Science

The Car Faster Than a Speeding Bullet 405

Posted by Soulskill
from the yeah-but-how's-the-suspension dept.
pbahra writes "Formula 1 is seen as the apogee of engineering excellence and automotive power. So it says something that in Bloodhound SSC — the car that, if all goes well, in 2013 will shatter the current land speed record — the Cosworth Formula 1 engine is just the fuel pump. 'We are creating the ultimate car; we're going where no-one has gone before,' said Richard Noble, the project director. The car, which Mr. Noble says takes £10,000 a day just to keep it ticking over, will be powered by not one, but two other engines. The smaller one, the EJ200, is normally found in the British Royal Air Force's Typhoon jet. Its job is to get the 13.4 meter long car up to 350 mph. That's when the big one kicks in. The big one is the 18-inch diameter, 12-foot-long Falcon rocket, the largest of its kind ever made in the UK. Its job is to catapult the car through the sound barrier to its maximum speed of 1,050 mph. That is, literally, faster than a speeding bullet."
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The Car Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

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  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Monday March 07, 2011 @05:27PM (#35412212) Homepage
    1050 miles per hour, at 1 foot per gallon.
    • by jgtg32a (1173373)
      I seem to remember reading that nonnuclear aircraft carriers get something like 6in to the gallon.
      • by Yvanhoe (564877)
        Which would made the USS Kitty Hawk's range of about 600 kilometers (sorry, 370 miles) http://express.howstuffworks.com/express-aircraft-carrier3.htm [howstuffworks.com]
        Allow me to doubt that claim.
  • The Challenge (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Monday March 07, 2011 @05:29PM (#35412236) Homepage

    The real challenge is not getting a vehicle to go that speed... It's getting a vehicle to stay on the ground and under control at that speed.

    • The real challenge is not getting a vehicle to go that speed... It's getting a vehicle to stay on the ground and under control at that speed.

      Right. And that's where the really, really, REALLY big one kicks in to generate enough downforce. It's a bundle of 5 modified Saturn V's.

      • Would've been funnier if you hadn't chosen a number greater than the number of Saturn Vs still in existence. There are basically three mostly-complete ones on display: one at Johnson Space Center, one at Kennedy, and one at Huntsville, Alabama at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. There's a replica at the last one too, as well as a few other sections scattered around various exhibits and museums around the country.

    • Agreed, it was a problem with the first record this crew did with Thrust SSC. The wind tunnel work they did was almost all about stopping take-off and the nose of the craft was packed with sensors monitoring for catastrophic lift.
    • The real challenge is not getting a vehicle to go that speed... It's getting a vehicle to stay on the ground and under control at that speed.

      Exactly. It shouldn't be "fastest car." It should be "lowest flying rocket." And when you think about it, what exactly is the point of building such a rocket?

      • by Dekker3D (989692)

        BEST. ROADKILL. EVAR!!!

        *goes back to playing Carmageddon*

      • by enoz (1181117)

        Exactly. It shouldn't be "fastest car." It should be "lowest flying rocket." And when you think about it, what exactly is the point of building such a rocket?

        Well it stays under the radar for one thing.

        Though only useful for targeting sites that are situated on salt flats.

    • by Animats (122034)

      The real challenge is not getting a vehicle to go that speed... It's getting a vehicle to stay on the ground and under control at that speed.

      Right. Producing enough downforce has dominated racing for years. Power hasn't been the problem for decades.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Monday March 07, 2011 @05:33PM (#35412296)

    1050 MPH? Thats not very fast for a bullet.

    Well, maybe it is fairly good for a pistol.

    But it is about half the speed of a 5.56mm NATO round from an M-16.

    • by GigsVT (208848) on Monday March 07, 2011 @05:43PM (#35412462) Journal

      1540 feet per second is a respectable bullet.

      Handgun rounds generally are around 1000 feet per second. 30 caliber carbine is about 1500 fps.

      Yeah a .223 which is one of the small and fast rounds can push 2500 feet/second or higher. The fastest rifle rounds go around 3800... but still I'd consider anything over 800 fps to qualify as "faster than a speeding bullet".

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        A hot 9mm Parabellum can get close to that speed.

        Magnum pistol rounds often get higher.

        Every military rifle ammunition that pops into my head gets at least 2000 feet per second.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        What are you talking about?
        9mm loaded hot go that fast. .308 goes a lot faster, so does my .300 winmag. Loaded with the nice barnes copper rounds that goes 3500 fps. In case you doubt me, here is the proof:
        http://www.federalpremium.com/products/details/rifle.aspx?id=750 [federalpremium.com]

        A .223 is not a fast round. I have owned air rifles that beat 800 fps.

      • by reboot246 (623534)
        Check your ballistics chart. There are many commonly used center-fire rifle rounds that leave the barrel much faster than 1540 fps, and a bunch of them that top that speed even at 500 yards.

        All of Remington's .223's leave the muzzle faster than 3000 fps.

        Remington publishes very comprehensive charts for their cartridges online. Google it.
    • by afidel (530433)
      It's faster than most common civilian rounds (.22LR, 9mm, .45ACP basically anything other than a high power long rifle)
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        9mm is that fast and loaded hot can be pushed higher. .22 is for kids and shooting rats/squirrels, might as well claim this is faster than a pellet gun.
        Normal power rifles are much faster, heck many pistol rounds are.

    • by tehcyder (746570) on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @06:28AM (#35417228) Journal
      Well spotted, the article should really have said "That is, literally, faster than a moderately speeding handgun bullet, though clearly only half the speed of a standard NATO round from an M-16"

      Fucking inaccurate journalism, as usual.

  • If there's anything that can make a triple jet powered car cooler, it's launching it up off a ramp.

    • by GigsVT (208848)

      Things traveling at 1000 mph tend to act more like fluids upon collision. Even if the ramp had a relatively mild slope, it would be hard not to just become a smear on the surface of it.

  • Wait, wait, wait - so what happens if I fire a speeding bullet from the car while the car is in motion?

    • It would be pretty snazzy to fire a gun from the car at such an angle that you end up running into the bullet from behind (at a slow relative speed).
      • by hldn (1085833)

        no, they should fire the bullet in a forward arc such that the bullet impacts the driver in the back of the head.

    • by 3vi1 (544505)

      The bullet comes out pretty fast. ME-262's were doing it 70 years ago.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        The bullet comes out pretty fast, but then rapidly slows down: [wikipedia.org]

        The F-11 Tiger is noted for being the first jet aircraft to shoot itself down. On 21 September 1956, during a test firing of its 20 mm (.79 in) cannons, pilot Tom Attridge fired two bursts mid-way through a shallow dive. As the velocity and trajectory of the cannon rounds decayed, they ultimately crossed paths with the Tiger as it continued its descent, disabling it and forcing Attridge to crash land the aircraft; he survived.

  • TFS:

    Formula 1 is seen as the apogee of engineering excellence and automotive power.

    F1 may be the pinnacle of engineering excellence (though Le Mans racers may give 'em a run for the their money...?), but in terms of raw "automotive power," NHRA Top Fuel [wikipedia.org] has F1 beat by an order of magnitude (F1 ~ 1k bhp, Top Fuel ~ 10k bhp).

    True, a dragster may not be able to run for more than a few seconds without blowing up, but that's beside the point...

    • F1 is of course very heavily limited. Engine size, for example, is intentionally capped.

      It used to be a relative free-for-all but the cars got too fast to be safe (at least in the minds of the FIA).

    • by Gordonjcp (186804)

      The Le Mans 24-hour is far, far cooler than F1. Even the stuff earlier in the day like they hybrid and electric racing cars - last year I watched one of the hybrid Audis coast silently down the straight to Mulsanne, then launch like a bomb going off as the engine kicked back in and all the drive motors powered up - gone. Amazing.

      In the actual race, the diesel Audis took the podium, and the Peugeot diesels made a decent show too. Bear in mind that these racing cars are running on the same diesel you put i

    • by DaveGod (703167)

      Yeah F1 engines are only 2.4L, and a huge number of other restrictions like 18k RPM, single fuel injector, standard fuel... Even the air ducts are heavily regulated. Sucks if you were wanting to watch the fastest cars that can still go around corners, but it does keep things sane and leads to a lot of development on the other stuff.

    • F1 may be the pinnacle of engineering excellence

      http://jalopnik.com/#!373884/f1-boss-max-mosley-caught-with-five-hookers-in-nazi-orgy-video-scandal

      True, a dragster may not be able to run for more than a few seconds without blowing up

      Well, how true that fits into this context.

  • by DaveGod (703167) on Monday March 07, 2011 @05:41PM (#35412418)

    That'll cut down on the commute, but what's the CO2?

  • by femto (459605) on Monday March 07, 2011 @05:44PM (#35412470) Homepage
    Also of interest, is the Australian Competitor [aussieinvader.com]. The "Aussie Invader" team is attempting to beat the Brits, while using a fraction of the budget.
  • by 99luftballon (838486) on Monday March 07, 2011 @05:44PM (#35412478)
    I met Nobel and Andy the pilot/driver when Thrust SSC was going and they are both very enthusiastic, utterly committed to breaking land speed records and madder than a sack of badgers. Green said the weirdest thing about the whole drive was dealing with the brain's capacity to process relative speed, or rather the lack of ability to do so. At the end of the run he'd found himself getting ready to brake hard as the vehicle felt like it was going slowly enough and found he was still going around 400mph.
    • by Reeses (5069)

      It also highlights the brain's ability to adapt to ludicrously high speeds, which has come in handy as we've gone further up the technological progress curve.

  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Timmmm (636430) on Monday March 07, 2011 @05:49PM (#35412534)

    I hate to be the one to say it, but this does seem utterly pointless.

    Not in the "we should be spending money on hospitals" sense, but rather "all you're doing is taking a rocket and trying to cripple its flying tendencies". There are so many more cool inspire-the-kids (which is the nominal point) projects they could do! Here are some crazier and more cool ideas I just had:

    * A manned quadrocopter.
    * A massive computer-controlled Archimedes mirror.
    * An Asimov-style multi-speed travelator.
    * A Back to the Future hover-board using active magnetic levitation.

    Those would all be way more awesome than "Oh its a rocket with wheels attached". /rant.

  • That is one slow bullet. Faster than a very slow bullet maybe, this is only modern pistol round velocities. Heck, some pistols like the FN Five-seven chuck rounds faster than this.

  • In my opinion, just because a rocket has wheels doesn't make it a car.
  • So the job of the 800 break horse power internal combustion engine is to deliver fuel into the rocket engine (not the jet engine). But the rocket is a solid fuel booster (essentially a glorified fireworks motor). Err wait, what? What do you need a fuel pump for a solid fuel rocket booster?
    • So the job of the 800 break horse power internal combustion engine is to deliver fuel into the rocket engine (not the jet engine). But the rocket is a solid fuel booster (essentially a glorified fireworks motor). Err wait, what? What do you need a fuel pump for a solid fuel rocket booster?

      It's not a pure solid fuel rocket. It contains solid fuel, but then they pump hydrogen peroxide thru the rocket as an oxidizer. That's being pumped by the F1 engine. Seeing how it has to pump one ton of HTP in 22 seconds [bloodhoundssc.com], you can see why they need that much power for the pump. More details on the rocket engine. [bloodhoundssc.com]

      • by pyalot (1197273)
        So just hypothetically speaking, wouldn't it be easier to just strap yourself in front of one giant single propellant rocket booster on wheels then mucking about with a gazillion moving parts machinery in the middle of a dusty desert?
  • What's the point, I guess. I guess that is what cliff walls are for, eh?
  • by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Monday March 07, 2011 @06:09PM (#35412800) Journal

    I've just been scrolling through some of the comments above. "Why bother?" "Spend money on hospitals!" "What are we going to learn from this?" "This isn't really a car because the power isn't going through the wheels." "Waste of money!" "There are cooler projects to spend money on!"

    You know what? Get over yourselves!

    Every time I see a cool story posted on /. I find myself bracing for the impact of a squillion know-it-all comments about how useless it is from the usual armchair "I call bullshit" merchants who think they have all the answers to all the world's problems. Oftentimes it's American commenters from the "not invented here" lobby who want to pull a World Cup defence and say "Well it's a bullshit competition anyway so we don't care if we get whipped!" Grow the fuck up! The Brits have made the land speed record their own and I for one tip my hat to them. It's a great way to inspire kids to get involved in engineering, just like your toy with the heavy wings and expensive heat shield up there at the minute.

    So the UK government is pushing a sponsorship-funded R&D project that doesn't have immediate commercial payoff. Big deal! What would you prefer to spend the money on? Another day in Iraq?

    Jesus wept! Can we not have a story posted on here anymore without having to wade through all this obnoxious crap?

    Oh, and I have karma to burn, so knock yourself out if you don't like a bit of straight talking.

  • fuel pump? (Score:4, Informative)

    by zardor (452852) on Monday March 07, 2011 @06:11PM (#35412810)

    Strictly speaking, the F1 engine is actually the oxidiser pump for the hybrid rocket engine - it runs the peroxide pump.

    (i'll go back and lock myself in the basement now)

  • Pilot-in-training: "So my landing went well, don't you think?"

    Flight Instructor: "Yes, but you forgot one thing. You are supposed to slow down before we land. We are now doing Mach 1, on the ground."

  • by unity100 (970058) on Monday March 07, 2011 @06:26PM (#35413038) Homepage Journal
    Its about land speed record now, but it was about the sound barrier a few years ago - this SSC series cars this guy has made - they were pursuing breaking sound barrier.

    They were claiming that sound barrier wasnt broken on land, because the device that did it (budweiser rocket) had 3 wheels and didnt run a full course of some distance back and forth in some given amount of time. Budweiser rocket's record was determined with an air force radar.

    The catch is this, these rules are the rules of british association of motor sports or cars or something. apparently, some people somewhere have the opinion that breaking sound barrier should happen on 4 wheels, and a round circu .....

    aah never mind. as you can understand, like any other sane people on the face of the planet, i dont give a flying fuck about what some bunch of people who banded as an association somewhere think - sound barrier is going over ~340m/s, and a 3 wheeled rocket powered device has broken it long before anyone else.

    im saying this, even tho im not american. so, go figure.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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