Posted by jerry on July 11th, 2009 — Posted in Journal, Steam
The British Steam Car Challenge crew arrived at Edwards Airforce Base on 29 June to prepare for their land steam record attempt with the steam turbine powered car ‘Inspiration’.
The car has arrived safely and the crew are working now to install the safety equipment required by the Southern Timing Association – the recognised body for Land Speed Records, and unpack everything needed to support the car – the tools, the turning jack, and everything needed to sustain the crew – even the toilets have to be brought to the site.
But it’s not easy – with temperatures soaring to 100F during the day, the crew have to work early before the place heats up. And the afternoon winds are too strong for the car, so this will affect the time for the speed attempt. The British Steam Car Challenge team are aiming to break the official land steam record of 127mph set in 1906 by Fred Marriott in a modified Stanley steam car. The official record has stood unbroken since that time, making it the longest standing speed record.
On 11 July the team’s test driver, Don Wales will arrive and dynamic test runs are expected to start on Monday 13th July
It takes about 15 minutes to raise steam using charcoal fuel, bringing it up to an ideal operating pressure of 50-100psi. Rusnan estimates the bike may be capable of up to 50-75mph (80-120kph). The safety valve is set to release at 100psi to keep things safe, although the boiler has been tested to 150psi. The bike can carry 10litres of water and the burner 3kg of briquettes, giving it an endurance of 3 hours continuous running in a static display. The engine appears to be a single cylinder single acting piston-valve type, and the boiler is likely a simple water tube type with a burner grate below, which can use charcoal, coal, coke or wood – it could also potentially use compressed waste paper making it a very cheap vehicle to run.
The bike is an inspiration in terms of what can be built from scrap sheet metal, some motor parts, piping and an old bicycle! This is the ultimate in appropriate technology, particularly for a developing country like Indonesia. Rusnan hopes that this will be the start of a whole movement aimed at building and running steam motorbikes – he has certainly made a good start!