Speed of light, close, but not quite!

Speed of light, close, but not quite!

How fast is too fast?

How fast has the world's fastest car travelled? The wheel driven record is 756Km per hour (470 miles per hour). That's the fastest you're going to go in a regular car.

Could it go any faster? That's exactly what the Bloodhound team have been trying to do: get a car up to speeds of 1609Km (1000 miles per hour).

How do you go faster?

The best way is to add a jet and use the air surrounding the car. Adding a jet will give you that extra thrust you need to gain speed. The jet does this by sucking in the air from the front of the car and pushes it out if the back of the jet.

jet

With just air?

Kind of, but jets don't just push still air; this would be far too awkward!  Ever heard of Newton's Third Law? It's a big part of how jets work. Air is pushed out of the back of the jet, but this is done at such a massive speed that it recoils and takes the car with.

How strong is a jet engine?

The answer to this is, as you might have already guessed, incredibly strong. A regular jet can release as much as over a tonne of air per second, and that's one great, big push! But it's still not enough to get the car up to 756Km per hour (470 miles per hour). To do that you'd need an extra thrust by attaching a rocket motor.

Rocket motors work like jets, but instead of using air they use oxygen. It's more like a controlled explosion. To keep it on track and moving in one direction you need to pull a neat trick. The rate of burning must be controlled so that the high explosive in the motor is burning at the right rate to keep the gas wall moving in one direction. But it's not an easy feat, even experts get it wrong.

So with a jet and a rocket engine the Bloodhound team should have enough power to be able to get up to 756Km per hour (470 miles per hour) in about 15 miles!

Trying it out!

flat beach

To be able to move at such high speeds you need some really long, flat runways. Back in the day beaches were used, some in the UK, like Pendine Sands in Wales. Others were in America like Daytona Beach or the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. But these too weren't ideal because they were too short or too hard. The best place found in recent years is somewhere called Hakskeen in South Africa where the surface is very fine and dry mud.

Follow the bloodhound team online!

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