Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"SCALDED DOG, SCALDED CAT, MR. ROCKET & HOT DOG"


I discovered a site that documents the construction and flight of several steam rockets (names as shown in this post's title). One of these is the one presented in the current issue of Extreme Rocketry. I feel like I need to provide a warning that these involve high pressures, metal tanks, and superheated steam...which together could easily ruin your day.

These all utilize commercially available tanks (paintball or fire extinguishers) that are directly heated with a gas (propane or MAPP). The positioning and release mechanism are operated via long ropes and resemble a industrial-strength water rocket release. Long distances are a good thing. The designs are simple but require some welding. I found their performance impressive.

Something about steam rockets still captures my fancy, but I fear that I might learn enough just to be dangerous to myself. I wonder how the metal tanks hold up to multiple heating cycles. If the metal weakens, one best be able to calculate the distance the resulting shrapnel will travel.