[V8] Off topic - Neat posting on top fuel dragsters
Michael Larosa Jr
Mc.Larosa at Sun.COM
Wed Dec 31 07:34:12 EST 2003
George Tur wrote:
> A gearhead I know from another list forwarded this article and comments to me
> and I thought it might be appreciated by some of the "more power is better
> guys" on this list. It's about top fuel dragsters.
> Wish the best of the holidays to all of the list.
> George Tur
> 91 V8
> I thought some of you tech fans would like this post, I know I did.
> The drag races that you flip past on Speed Channel TV on a Saturday
> afternoon actually contain the machinery and techniques that are at the
> absolute pinnacle of modern engineering achievement. Every year these
> guys go faster, too.
> To the below list of Top Fuel lore I'll add two more.
> There was a presentation in front of the Peterson Museum in California,
> where there was on display a Top Fuel rail dragster. They wanted to
> fire up the car as part of the show, but couldn't get insurance for it.
> The reason was that the car would be so loud all the windows up and down
> the street would very likely break. I used to live about 10 miles away
> from Firebird Raceway in Ahwatukee, AZ. Sometimes on Saturday and Sunday
> you would periodically hear a roar off in the distance. If you looked
> at your watch the roar lasted about 4 seconds. [The time needed to cover the
> quarter mile.]
> Top Fuel sand drag cars reach 100+ mph in 100 feet. Not yards, feet.
> In the sand.
> Top Fuel, baby.
> >A Lesson in Acceleration:
> >First, some useful info:
> >* One Top Fuel dragster 500 cubic inch Hemi engine makes more horsepower
> >than the first 4 rows at the Indy. 500.
> >* Under full throttle, a Top Fuel dragster engine consumes 1= 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 426 Hemi V8 engine cannot produce enough power to drive
> >the dragster's 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 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 1/2
> >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
> >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 at
> >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
> >* Including the burnout the engine must only survive 900 revolutions
> >under load.
> >* The red-line is actually quite high at 9500 rpm.
> >* 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 Kalitta).
> >Putting all of this into perspective:
> >You are riding the average $250,000 Honda MotoGP bike. 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
> >RC211V hard up through the gears and blast across the starting line and
> >past the dragster at an honest 200 mph (293 ft/sec). The 'tree' goes
> >green for both of you at that moment. The dragster launches and starts after
> >You keep your wrist cranked 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.
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