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Rocket car

Rocket car

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A rocket car is a land rocket
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

 vehicle
Vehicle
A vehicle is a device that is designed or used to transport people or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats, and aircraft....

 powered by a rocket engine
Rocket engine
A rocket engine, or simply "rocket", is a jet engineRocket Propulsion Elements; 7th edition- chapter 1 that uses only propellant mass for forming its high speed propulsive jet. Rocket engines are reaction engines and obtain thrust in accordance with Newton's third law...

. A rocket dragster is a rocket car used for competing in drag racing
Drag racing
Drag racing is a competition in which specially prepared automobiles or motorcycles compete two at a time to be the first to cross a set finish line, from a standing start, in a straight line, over a measured distance, most commonly a ¼-mile straight track....

, and this type holds the unofficial world record for the 1/4 mile.

Rocket cars are capable of very high speeds, and at one time held the land speed record (now held by a jet car). Rocket cars differ from jet-powered cars in that they carry both fuel and oxidizer on board, eliminating the need for an air inlet and compressor which add weight and increase drag. Rocket cars run their engines for relatively short periods of time, usually less than 20 seconds, but the acceleration levels that rocket cars can reach due to their high thrust-to-weight ratio
Thrust-to-weight ratio
Thrust-to-weight ratio is a ratio of thrust to weight of a rocket, jet engine, propeller engine, or a vehicle propelled by such an engine. It is a dimensionless quantity and is an indicator of the performance of the engine or vehicle....

 are very high and high speeds are fairly easily achieved.

Kitty O'Neil
Kitty O'Neil
Kitty O'Neil is a former stuntwoman and racer noted for a handful of exceptional accomplishments, despite becoming deaf when she was four months old.She became a stunt woman because she was married to a stunt man....

 in 1977 recorded the quickest quarter mile elapsed time of 3.22 seconds at 396 mph using hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide and an oxidizer. Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid, slightly more viscous than water. In dilute solution, it appears colorless. With its oxidizing properties, hydrogen peroxide is often used as a bleach or cleaning agent...

 powered engines and made a quarter mile run with a top speed of 412 mph. This is in excess of the performance of more familiar piston engined
Reciprocating engine
A reciprocating engine, also often known as a piston engine, is a heat engine that uses one or more reciprocating pistons to convert pressure into a rotating motion. This article describes the common features of all types...

 dragsters.

A different type of rocket propulsion uses hybrid rockets using Nitrous Oxide as the oxidant such as the British Rocket Dragster, 'laffin-gas' which after 5 years and tens of thousands of pounds of investment has yet to make the full 1/4 mile under its own power, so technically it's not a dragster yet.

In America, rocket dragsters fell in to disuse after their hydrogen peroxide propellant became too expensive and they are banned in most events for safety reasons, mostly due to their very high performance. However, they continue to run at several European venues.

History


  • Max Valier
    Max Valier
    Max Valier was an Austrian rocketry pioneer. He helped found the German Verein für Raumschiffahrt that would bring together many of the minds that would later make spaceflight a reality in the 20th century.-Biography:Valier was born in Bozen , South Tyrol and in 1913 enrolled to study Physics at...

    , Austrian rocketry pioneer
  • Friedrich Sander
    Friedrich Sander
    Friedrich Wilhelm Sander was a German pyrotechnics engineer and manufacturer remembered for his contributions to rocket-powered flight....

    , rocketry pioneer
  • Kitty O'Neil
    Kitty O'Neil
    Kitty O'Neil is a former stuntwoman and racer noted for a handful of exceptional accomplishments, despite becoming deaf when she was four months old.She became a stunt woman because she was married to a stunt man....

     in 1977 recorded the quickest quarter mile elapsed time in 3.22 seconds (no official record) at 396 mi/h and made a quarter mile run with a top speed of 412 mi/h. This is in excess of the performance of more familiar Piston Engined
    Reciprocating engine
    A reciprocating engine, also often known as a piston engine, is a heat engine that uses one or more reciprocating pistons to convert pressure into a rotating motion. This article describes the common features of all types...

     dragsters.

Famous rocket cars

  • Opel RAK.1, the first rocket car
  • Valier-Heylandt Rak 7, the first rocket car with liquid propulsion
  • Heylandt Rocket Car, see Arthur Rudolph
  • Budweiser Rocket
    Budweiser Rocket
    As the sole operator and calibrator of the radar that actually tracked the Budweiser Rocket Car during the speed of sound run at Edwards AFB, I have noted some incorrect statements provided in this article by the original author....

    , the first vehicle (controversially) claimed to have broken the sound barrier
    Sound barrier
    The sound barrier, in aerodynamics, is the point at which an aircraft moves from transonic to supersonic speed. The term, which occasionally has other meanings, came into use during World War II, when a number of aircraft started to encounter the effects of compressibility, a collection of several...

  • Blue Flame, a vehicle that held the land speed record
    Land speed record
    The land speed record is the highest speed achieved by a wheeled vehicle on land. There is no single body for validation and regulation; in practice the Category C flying start regulations are used, officiated by regional or national organizations under the auspices of the Fédération...

  • The Devil at Your Heels
    The Devil at Your Heels
    The Devil at Your Heels is a 1981 documentary that chronicles the attempt of stuntman and daredevil Ken Carter to jump a rocket-powered car over the St...

     a documentary covering an attempt to cross the Saint Lawrence River
    Saint Lawrence River
    The Saint Lawrence is a large river flowing approximately from southwest to northeast in the middle latitudes of North America, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. It is the primary drainage conveyor of the Great Lakes Basin...

    in a rocket car

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