Glossary for Speed Machines
afterburner: A device for augmenting jet engine thrust by burning
additional fuel with the hot exhaust gases.
Men of the X-1 |
Secret History |
Sonic Boom |
axial flow engine: An engine in which the air flows in a straight line
from the jet inlet through the combustion chamber and out the jet exhaust.
composite: A material produced by bonding together filaments of very
full-pressure suit: A body suit that inflates around the pilot, in the
event of a loss of cabin pressure, to simulate air-pressure at sea level.
horsepower: A unit of power devised by James Watt in the 1760's to
express steam-engine power in terms comparable to that of a horse. Watt
determined that a strong horse could move a 750-newton object one meter in one
second—representing power equal to 750 watts. Today, horsepower is more
precisely calculated at 745.56 watts.
kinetic: Of or produced by motion.
Mach: A number named for the Austrian physicist and philosopher, Ernst
Mach, that measures the speed of an object relative to the speed of sound.
Mach 1 equals the speed of sound. [see Sonic Boom]
straight-away: A straight stretch, course or track used in racing.
thrust: The forward-directed force developed in a jet or rocket engine
as a reaction to the rearward ejection of exhaust gases.
turbojet: The most common jet engine in use today; it takes its name
from the gas turbine in the exhaust stream, which turns the air compressor in
the engine's inlet.
sound barrier on land: The speed of sound varies according to altitude and
temperature. (See Sonic Boom) On the Black Rock Desert,
which is one mile above sea level, it normally ranges from 750 m.p.h. to 770 m.p.h.,
depending on the temperature.
Teacher's Guide |
Editor's Picks |
Previous Sites |
Join Us/E-mail |
About NOVA |
Site Map |
PBS Online |
NOVA Online |
© | Updated October 2000