Headline Mar 21, 2015/ '' SUPER ENGINEERING [NEEDS] SUPER PLUCK '''



UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND IN BRISBANE:  and scientist Allan Paull knew from experience-

That books were just the thing to hold his precious cargo in place. It didn't look like much: a wedge-shaped box a meter long, like something from high-school shop class.

But Paull had been building his device  - a cross between a jet and a rocket, known as scramjet    -for 10 years.

*Now he hoped to make his decade of labor pay off in a five-second streak across the sky*.

ENGINEERS have been noodling with the idea of a scramjet for decades. Myriad designs have been set to paper.

Prototypes engines have been fired up for a thousandths of a second in wind tunnels. The U.S. space agency NASA, attempted to be the first fly one in June 2001-

But its X43A scramjet, developed at a cost of  $185 million, ''departed from a controlled flight''   and blew up. If NASA couldn't do it, what hope could the others have?

Undeterred, one great engineer, Allan Paull, was convinced that with a million bucks and a few years of work, a  scramjet could be made to work commercially. 

**If right, the device would transform aviation profoundly as the invention of the jet engine**.

Scramjets combine the efficiency of jets with the thrusts rockets. Theoretically, they could zoom to the end of the Earth at ICBM speeds, but for 747 prices. 

Scramjets might also be able to carry space-bound payloads for far less than current launches-

Because, like jets, they take oxygen from the air. There would be no need for the heavy oxygen tanks that help make the current chemical-rocket launches so expensive. 

''This is world changing research,'' says Paul. 

A big problem with scramjets, though, is that you have to get them going three times faster than the speed of sound just to start them up. Supersonic air enters at the pointy end of the wedge and flows into a combustion chamber-

Where it reaches  600 degrees Celsius. Add a little Hydrogen and.......poof!....and you've got rocket thrust. But.........

You've also got one hot engine----------keeping scramjets from melting is another is another big engineering challenge. To get his scramjet going fast enough, Paull borrowed a two-stage rocket from-

A local aerospace company and mounted the scramjet in the nosecone. ''It's a cheap and dirty way of doing it,'' he says.

Paull's team shaved expenses, wherever they could. His brother Ross, a Ph.D in math, designed the necessary software   -for what Paull says was less than a living wage-

His father, Bert, an electrician agreed to wire up the complex sensors that would trip the scarmjet into action once it reached the proper speed.

The scalant that protects the wiring came from Super Cheap Auto and payloads were adjusted with a seconhand tire balance. ''You don't need a high-tech stuff,'' says Paull.

''This is not a piece of Junk, but we used what we could buy off the shelf.''

In a decade of research. Paul reckons he's lavished something like  $400,000 on his scramjet, not counting the salary from the university for teaching courses. 

On launch day, the rocket flew perfect;y and the scramjet ignited as planned. For five long seconds it soared across the sky, topping out at  8,000 kilometers per hour, or 8 times the speed of sound.

To celebrate, that night, Paull put the project's last $200 down to on the bar at of the Eldo pub in Woomera and invited the townspeople for drinks.

''We beat NASA,'' he said wistfully. Of course, NASA tried to fly a complete ship, whereas Paul simply flew the engine. Still, he's savouring the victory and thinking about the future launches.

He now wants to make an engine that gets  22 times  the speed of sound  -and fast enough to lob a small satellite into low Earth orbit.

''That's the open question; how to get that extra speed. We've got ideas,'' he says with grin, ''but I am not telling.''

The basic research is mostly done, he insists. And what we have here is the year, 2002-3.

All that is needed is a little pluck and engineering.

With respectful dedication to all the Engineering Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Space & Planes '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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