Racing Rocket Engines

Hydrogen peroxide rockets can be used to drive all kind of vehicles like cars, motorcycles, go-carts, bicycles and ice sledges.
Here below some examples:

Drag racing car:

Rocket motorcycle:

(He doesn´t start until 1 min 57 sec in to the movie clip!)

Read more and look at a video of the HP Rocket Go-kart here

Read more and look at videos of the HP Rocket bicycle here

Rocket "Kick Sledge"

We have built a racing rocket engine, intended for installation on a small vehicle like a bike or a Go-cart.

Engine parts:
1. Composite Compressed Air bottle, 1.1 liter, 300 bar
2. Pressure control regulator.
3. SS Peroxide Tank 9 liters, 22 bar, with safety relief valve and pressure gauge.
4. ¾” flow control ball valve, SS
5. Catalyst package chamber. Di = 81 mm.
Catalyst package at testing was 37 discs of solid silver wire screens plus 95 discs of silver plated SS screens.
6. Rocket Nozzle. Throat D = 38 mm. Exit D = 52 mm

The engine has the following calculated performance at maximum peroxide pressure, 22 bar, in the peroxide tank:

Thrust 142 kp =1390 Newton
Peroxide consumption 0.95 liter/second. H2O2% =85
Running time with full tank, 9 liters 9.5 seconds

Performance calculations here

Static tests in test stand
The engine was tested in the test stand seen on the below picture. The rocket thrust was measured by the stand was pushing on a digital balance, placed between the stand and the cottage porch seen on the picture.

Three tests were made:

Test 1Test 2Test 3
Peroxide Tank Pressure (appr.)2.5 bar4 bar8 bar
Measured Thrust (appr.)5 kp25 kp50 kp
Runtime with 9 liter peroxide fuel80 sec45 sec24 sec

The tests can be seen here:

Low pressure test, 80 sec runtime

8 bar,50 kp,24 sec runtime

The conclusions from these tests are:
* The engine is running clean with no visible plume. That means the decomposition of peroxide is complete.
* The thrust at different pressures is as expected. That means that the calculated performance of 142 kp can be expected at maximum tank pressure, 22 bar.

Don Heith and his son Alex are building a rocketbike. I have helped with the rocket engine design.

Design thrust: 777 lbs

Calculated performance (not taking drag into account):
Time for a quarter mile: 6.x seconds
Final speed: At least 200 mph

Real performance still remains to be seen.

I visited Don and Alex on May 9, 2014, when the below picture was taken.

We made the first hot test of the rocket with the bike tied down in the garage. The rocket worked fine!

Don´s bike has only one rocket nozzle, located straight behind the back wheel. Other rocketbikes use to have two nozzles: -One on each side of the back wheel

Racing Performance Calculations
We have prepared an excel program for estimating the performance of the vehicle at racing. To download the program , click here

The first page is calculating fuel consumption, acceleration, top speed and travelled runway distance and time, considering no aerodynamic drag and no friction losses.
Input numbers are rocket thrust and peroxide volume in the tank.

The second page is calculating the “braking” force caused by the aerodynamic drag. The drag is needed to be subtracted from the rocket thrust to estimate the real performance of the vehicle.

One calculation example:

Thrust 50 kp
Fuel in tank 4.5 liters
Weight of vehicle 120 kg

Calculated performance (at zero drag):
Travelled distance at end of rocket run time: 0.25 miles (Standard Drag Racing Distance)
Top speed after 0.25 miles: 198 kmh (124 mph)
Time for travelling 0.25 miles (from stand-still): 13.4 seconds

The performance will be limited a bit because of the aerodynamic drag (page 2 in the program), but the thrust can be increased to more than compensate by increasing tank pressure/rocket thrust.

At estimated max thrust, 142 kp, we believe it is possible to break most world records for small vehicles!

We found at the test of the engine that we needed an adjustable pressure regulator for better control. See picture below:

This article was updated on May 12th, 2014