Supersonic cars

Published: Friday 31 January 1997

Two jet-powered cars, developed in the UK and the US, are being readied for a race in Nevada's Block Rock Desert next month. If all goes well, one or both will break the sound barrier on land for the first time, reaching a speed of 1,215 km per hour within 30 seconds of its start. When planes travel faster than sound, their shock waves are dissipated over many kilometers in all directions. But a race car rides just 25 cm above the ground and totally distorts the air flow. The sonic boom could thus, reverberate back into the car with devastating force -- unless the car can be shaped to contain the shock wave under it ( Science , Vol 273, No 5281).

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.