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Acceleration Explained

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#1 bgkid2966 OFFLINE  



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Posted October 16, 2013 - 05:46 PM

Ever wonder why a Top Fuel dragster gets a rebuilt engine after each run?       

Stay with this - even if you aren't a 'car nut', this is stunning.       

One Top Fuel dragster outfitted with a 500 cubic-inch replica Dodge (actually Keith Black, etc) Hemi engine makes more horsepower (8,000 HP) than the first 4 rows of cars at NASCAR's Daytona 500.      

* Under full throttle, a dragster engine will consume 11.2 gallons of nitro methane per second; a fully loaded Boeing 747 consumes jet fuel at the same rate but with 25% less energy being produced.       

* A stock Dodge Hemi V8 engine cannot produce enough power to merely 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 lockup at full throttle.       

* At the stoichio metric 1.7:1  air/fuel mixture for nitro methane the flame front temperature measures 7050 degrees F.       

* Nitro methane 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. Which is typically the output of a small electric arc welder in each cylinder.       

* Spark plug electrodes are totally consumed during a pass. After 1/2 way thru the run, the engine is 'dieseling' from compression and the glow of the 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 enough force to blow the cylinder heads off the block in pieces or split the block in half !!       

* Dragsters reach over 300 MPH+... before you have completed reading this sentence.       

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

* Top Fuel engines turn approximately 540 revolutions from light to light!       

* Including the burnout, the engine must only survive 900 revolutions under load.       

* The redline is actually quite high at 9500 RPM.       

* THE BOTTOM LINE: Assuming all the equipment is paid for, the pit crew is working for free, & NOTHING BLOWS UP, each run will cost an estimated $1,000 per second.       

0 to 100 MPH in .8 seconds (the first 60 feet of the run)       

0 to 200 MPH in 2.2 seconds (the first 350 feet of the run)       

6 g-forces at the starting line (nothing accelerates faster on land)       

6 negative g-forces upon deployment of twin 'chutes at 300 MPH       


An NHRA Top Fuel Dragster accelerates quicker than any other land vehicle on earth…quicker than a jet fighter plane…quicker than the space shuttle…or snapping your fingers!!       

The current Top Fuel dragster elapsed time record is 4.420 seconds for the quarter-mile (2004, Doug Kalitta).  (I think the time is now closer to 4 seconds, M.)

The top speed record is 337.58 MPH as measured over the last 66' of the run (2005, Tony  Schumacher).       

Let's now put this all into perspective:       

Imagine this...........You are driving a new $140,000 Lingenfelter twin-turbo powered Corvette Z-06. Over a mile up the road, a Top Fuel dragster is staged & ready to 'launch' down a quarter-mile strip as you pass. You have the advantage of a flying start. You run the 'Vette hard, on up through the gears and blast across the starting line & pass the dragster at an honest 200 MPH.... The 'tree' goes green for both of you at that exact moment. The dragster departs & starts after you. You keep your foot buried hard to the floor, and suddenly you hear an incredibly brutally screaming whine that seares and pummels your eardrums & within a mere 3 seconds the dragster effortlessly catches & 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 it not only caught, but nearly blasted you off the planet when he passed you within a mere 1320 foot long race !!!!      
That, my friends.....is acceleration

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#2 shorty ONLINE  



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Posted October 16, 2013 - 06:16 PM

That is some interesting info. Neat reading.

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Posted October 16, 2013 - 06:41 PM

It may be interesting info. but soooooooo long.





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Posted October 16, 2013 - 07:18 PM

It may be interesting info. but soooooooo long.





Whadda ya mean??

#5 LilysDad OFFLINE  


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Posted October 16, 2013 - 07:20 PM

I remember when top fuel dragsters broke 200 mph. And we thought that was as good as it would ever get.

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#6 IamSherwood ONLINE  


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Posted October 16, 2013 - 07:30 PM

Amazing stats.

Thanks for posting

#7 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted October 16, 2013 - 11:39 PM

I remember when "BIG DADDY" stood the "Swamp Rat" at somewhere around 150 MPH 100' off the line, the car did a 180 degree spin on the wing and came back down smoking the tires headed back towards the starting line. That was another something to think about.


Thanks the posting this, Very interesting Read!! :thumbs:

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Posted October 17, 2013 - 05:25 AM

Very visual writing, thanks .
It's another something I plan on sharing with my Dad.

#9 JDBrian OFFLINE  


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Posted October 17, 2013 - 05:54 AM

Pretty scary what's going on inside that engine! As long as it all stays inside the block it's not a problem.

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#10 toomanytoys84 OFFLINE  



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Posted October 17, 2013 - 06:23 AM

It may be interesting info. but soooooooo long.






TL;DR.  Short version.  Dragster fast, cost lots of money, pass 200mph car before 1320 feet.


Pretty interesting read.  They just keep getting faster and faster.   Took us 28 years to get from 200 to 300.   Another 7 years to get 30 more mph....I wonder whats next.


• Don Garlits records first 200-mph run.


• Kenny Bernstein records first 300-mph run in NHRA history.


• Top Fuel racer Tony Schumacher becomes first driver to break 330-mph barrier.

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#11 LilysDad ONLINE  


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Posted October 17, 2013 - 07:02 AM

It will probably take another techno break through to move ahead. I read about the invention of the advance mechanism that advances the engine when it hits a certain rpm. That the car does a second wheelie when that happens. Dunno' if that's right, just read it.


My question is, is the driver even in control of a vehicle that moves faster than a person can react? Or . . . do they just point it and shoot?

Edited by LilysDad, October 17, 2013 - 07:04 AM.

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#12 WNYTractorTinkerer ONLINE  


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Posted October 17, 2013 - 07:23 AM

maybe someone will discover the 'flux capacitor' and arrive @ the finish line exactly .033 seconds after they leave the starting line!! :dancingbanana:

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#13 Guest_gravely-power_*

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Posted October 17, 2013 - 07:39 AM

maybe someone will discover the 'flux capacitor' and arrive @ the finish line exactly .033 seconds after they leave the starting line!! :dancingbanana:

Or before.