Steam-powered car `breaks century-old speed record`

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 - 11:41

London: For the first time in 100 years, a British-built steam-powered car has smashed a speed record set in 1906, by achieving an average speed of 225 kilometres per hour on road.

The previous official record of 204 km per hour was set in 1906 by Fred Marriott of the US in a modified version of the then-popular steam car known as the Stanley Steamer.

Now, a team, led by Charles Burnett, has created history by driving the long-slung car, called Inspiration, at an average speed of 225 kilometres per hour during two drives at California`s Edwards Air Force Base yesterday, the `New Scientist` reported.

The 7.6-metre-long, 3-tonne Inspiration grew out of a 1997 student project at Southampton University in Britain.

The car`s engine burns liquid petroleum gas to heat water in 12 suitcase-sized boilers, creating steam heated to 400°C. The steam then drives a two-stage turbine that spins at 13,000 revolutions per minute to power its wheels, according to its developers.

Inspiration made the first run at 1427 GMT and turned
around for the return run with just eight minutes to spare.
Before and after each timed run, it took four km to accelerate
and another four km to slow down.

And, the record-setting drives came after several
earlier attempts had been thwarted by electrical faults, valve
problems, a storm and a tyre puncture the previous week.

But the team is planning another run to try to get
even closer to the car`s theoretical top speed of 274 km per

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 - 11:41

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