Steam car Inspiration to attempt land speed record

July 3rd, 2008 - 3:38 pm ICT by ANI  

London, July 3 (ANI): A UK team hopes that its 7.6 metre-long car Inspiration will emerge as the fastest ever steam-powered land vehicle by beating the 205.5 kilometres per hour record, which was set in 1906 by the Stanley Rocket Racer on Daytona Beach.

The team will try to create the new record on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, US, in August.

To date, only control, air and water systems of the car have been thoroughly tested.

Once the team becomes sure about the cars proper functioning, Inspiration should travel 10km during its record attempt, including acceleration and braking.

The car will be driven for just two minutes, with its engine reaching a top speed of up to 274kph.

The car’s engine burns liquid petroleum gas to heat 40 litres of distilled water in 12 suitcase-sized boilers, creating superheated steam at a pressure of 40 bars and a temperature of 400 degrees Celsius.

The steam drives a two-stage turbine that spins at 13,000 revolutions per minute to power its wheels.

Inspiration, which started as a design exercise for postgraduate students at the University of Southampton in 1997, has today evolved into a complex engineering jigsaw puzzle.

It was made from an unusual collection of bespoke and off-the-shelf components, from kettle elements to power station steam valves.

The team behind it says that its work on the project has yet not completed.

“Perhaps its a folly and eccentric, but to get this eclectic mix to work together will be a real challenge,” New Scientist magazine quoted chief engineer Matt Candy as saying.

RAF wing commander Andy Green, who drove the world’s first supersonic car to break the world land speed record in 1997, calls Inspiration as a “home science” project.

“But home science was what Orville and Wilbur Wright were doing,” he added. (ANI)

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