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Glossary for Speed Machines

afterburner: A device for augmenting jet engine thrust by burning additional fuel with the hot exhaust gases.

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 high strength.

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.


Men of the X-1 | Secret History | Sonic Boom | Speed Machines
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