As Ryan requested in Episode 46 – Alien Invasion, here is my preliminary design of a coal-powered rocket:
Find out my design assumptions, and how you can win a prize after the jump…
- The coal is a “super-coal” that burns extra hot; so hot that an infinite amount of water would never “cool off” the heat exchanger. (Not this stuff)
- The water is “super-water” that is mega-dense yet extremely light, so that enough of it can be stored as “fuel” to allow a full flight. It also vaporizes into steam much more violently and with a higher pressure than regular water. I’m calling it “H20-10“.
- The materials of the heat exchanger and super-coal burner are hereto-unforeseen MEGA-ALLOYS that have no melting point. They can withstand infinite heat without melting, weakening, or creeping.
- Charlie can shovel coal infinitely fast. This is only barely an assumption…
- The turbopump is augmented by an external power source to ensure the flow never reverses.
- The aerodynamic stability of the rocket is handled by either thrust vectoring or fins. The kink in the steam tube will create a pitch-moment that will need to be corrected for.
- The heat exchanger is perfectly efficient, so that all of the heat & kinetic energy is removed from the coal smoke and heat source and absorbed by the water.
- I forgot about Oxygen for Charlie & the coal-room… Sorry Charlie. Assume there’s an infinite amount of oxygen in the coal-room, or that the oxygen bubbles released from the water during vaporization is captured and re-used.
- Assume the coal-feeder has an infinite amount of super-coal.
Potential for Prizes
Ok, so given my perfectly reasonable assumptions listed above… *cough*… I can think of at least one reason why this design wouldn’t actually work, and I’m sure there are more that I haven’t thought of.
If you can find a valid, physics-based reason for why this design wouldn’t work, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you’re right, I’ll send you a special prize!!