FW: [megasquirt] Definition of Acceleration

Alan Pritchard apritchard at seaeye.com
Mon Jan 5 08:53:38 EST 2004

>From megasquirt list
Subject: The definition of acceleration. 
* One Top Fuel dragster 500 cubic inch Hemi engine makes more horsepower
than the first 4 rows at the Daytona 500. 
* Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes 1-1/2 gallons of
nitromethane per second; a fully loaded 747 consumes jet fuel at the same
rate with 25% less energy being produced. 
* A stock Dodge Hemi V8 engine cannot produce enough power to drive the
dragster supercharger. 
* With 3000 CFM of air being rammed in by the supercharger on overdrive, the
fuel mixture is compressed into a near-solid form before ignition. Cylinders
run on the verge of hydraulic lock at full throttle. 

* At the stoichiometric (stoichiometry: methodology and technology by which
quantities of reactants and products in chemical reactions are determined)
1.7:1 air/fuel mixture for nitromethane the flame front temperature measures
7050 degrees F. 

* Nitromethane burns yellow. The spectacular white flame seen above the
stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, dissociated from atmospheric water
vapor by the searing exhaust gases. 

* Dual magnetos supply 44 amps to each spark plug. This is the output of an
arc welder in each cylinder. 
* Spark plug electrodes are totally consumed during a pass. After ½ way, the
engine is dieseling from compression plus the glow of exhaust valves at 1400
degrees F. The engine can only be shut down by cutting the fuel flow. 

* If spark momentarily fails early in the run, unburned nitro builds up in
the affected cylinders and then explodes with sufficient force to blow
cylinder heads off the block in pieces or split the block in half. 

* In order to exceed 300 mph in 4.5 seconds dragsters must accelerate an
average of over 4G's. In order to reach 200 mph well before half-track, the
launch acceleration approaches 8G's. 

* Dragsters reach over 300 miles per hour before you have completed reading
this sentence. 
* Top Fuel Engines turn approximately 540 revolutions from light to light! 
* Including the burnout the engine must only survive 900 revolutions under
* The redline is actually quite high at 9500rpm. 
* The Bottom Line; Assuming all the equipment is paid off, the crew worked
for free, and for once NOTHING BLOWS UP, each run costs an estimated
$1,000.00 per second. 

The current Top Fuel dragster elapsed time record is 4.441 seconds for the
quarter mile (10/05/03, Tony Schumacher). The top speed record is 333.00
mph. (533 km/h) as measured over the last 66' of the run (09/28/03 Doug

Putting all of this into perspective: You are driving the average $140,000
Lingenfelter "twin-turbo" powered Corvette Z06. Over a mile up the road, a
Top Fuel dragster is staged and ready to launch down a quarter mile strip as
you pass. You have the advantage of a flying start. You run the 'Vette hard
up through the gears and blast across the starting line and past the
dragster at an honest 200 mph. The 'tree' goes green for both of you at that
moment. The dragster launches and starts after you. You keep your foot down
hard, but you hear an incredibly brutal whine that sears your eardrums and
within 3 seconds the dragster catches and passes you. He beats you to the
finish line, a quarter mile away from where you just passed him. Think about
it, from a standing start, the dragster had spotted you 200 mph and not only
caught, but nearly blasted you off the road when he passed you within a mere
1320 foot long race course. 

That folks, is acceleration 

Greg Schriner
*Gear Head*

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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