High Powered Steam Engine
Takes Shape


In the 70's I watched here in Mexico the most incredible demostration of speed with the rocket powered dragster of Rusell Mendez and the rocket powered go- kart of Jack McClure and two years later I started building 90% hydrogen peroxide rockets and the last one was for a go-kart, after the death of Jack McClure in the rocket kart I decided to build something less prone to fly, after many years raising a family was very difficult for me to have money for my rocket toys, and the toys where left aside, then two years ago I decided to build a rocket dragster and after looking for the 90% hydrogen peroxide I was informed from the FMC company that this concentration was not available any more, so I searched for ways to vacum distillate the H2O2 from 50% the comercial grade to 90%, after some tests it was obious that the "old" 90% H2O2 was a different kind of product and very pure because it was produced in the past by electrolisis, the new form of production wich is organic has too much phosphates that poison the catalist screens and in order to remove the phosphates I have to spend to much money in lab equiptment.

Many years ago I read about Robert Truax a man that tested many steam or hot water rockets in the sixties, this man was the builder of the Evel Knievel Sky rocket cycle engine used to jump the great canyon, some years before he built the steam rocket engine that broke all the quarter mile records in his time in the car of Art Arfons at more than 260 mph in the quarter mile, the principle is very simple and the performance of this type of rocket is quite respectable so I decided to investigate to built this kind of rocket.

I want to thank to Douglas Malewicki that gift me the book Steam Rockets 2 from B. J. Humphreys. The suitability of the hot water rocket lies in its ability to deliver astounding performance without the use of any dangerous chemicals. The "fuel" propellant is superheated water. Moreover, the basic rocket engine is the essence of simplicity and can be constructed at low cost by the mid skilled craftsman. The hot water rocket makes use of the fact that water, if kept under pressure, can be heated far beyond its normal boiling temperature of 212 ºF. For example in a container under 500 pound per square inch of pressure, water can be heated to some 475 ºF. If a hole is made in the container part of the water flashes into steam and the water inside the tank boils and the steam created replaces the water forced out and mantains the pressure inside the container. The escaping steam if expanded through a properly designed De Laval nozzle will reach about 1500 feet per second. The reaction of this jet will drive the car to more than 400 mph.



My rocket engine was developed expressly for a dragster, it delivers from 2000 to12000 pound of thurust and the amount of thrust is controlled by the pressure, the temperature and a valve in the nozzle in the form of a plug that is operated by a bar that goes inside the tank. The water is heated by a propane burner that heats a pair of radiators that are recirculating water from the tank, this heater is removed before each run and a well insulated engine with fiberglass insulation and aluminum wrap will stay in ready to launch condition for has much as two hours. The cost of each run in "fuel" is about $ 9.00 USD including the cost of the water and the propane to heat it. and the best "fuel" to use is the rain water because it is distilled water, so you can collect all your "fuel" in just one day of rain, is wonderfull.

The engine is constructed enterely of stainless steel type 316, and the pressure vessel is built in acordance of the ASME code and all the weldments are done by the TIG weld process and radiografiated or x-ray. The engine only moving part is the bar thats operates the nozzle plug, no regulators, no valves, no pressure nitrogen, no expensive fuel, no catalist, no danger transporting the fuel. The original Truax Thunderbolt I engine is still in use after 35 years and belongs to one member of the Craig Breedlove team. Now I am designing the chasis in Autocad and I hope to receive many e-mails to encourage me to finish soon.


Juan Manuel Lozano G.(jmlozano@spin.com.mx)