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Custom flowmeter helps break world land speed record

Manufacturer and supplier of custom flowmeters Litre Meter has helped a team of British engineers break a unique world land speed record. It has supplied a number of Pelton wheel flowmeters to the British Steam Car Challenge based at Portmore in Hampshire which has just broken the world land speed record for a steam-powered car.


The British Steam Car Challenge made its attempt on the land speed record recently at Edwards Airforce Base in California. The FIA’s official record of 127mph was set by the Stanley Steamer in 1906. This was subsequently beaten in 1985 by Bob Barber at 145mph. Although this record is not recognized by the FIA the British Steam Car Challenge overhauled it, clocking up a top speed of 151mph on its second run.


The LMX220 Pelton wheel meters supplied by Litre Meter were used on the steam car itself to monitor the flow of water into the boilers.


Engineering administrator and strategic planner for the British Steam Car Challenge Matt Candy explained: “There are 12 boilers on the car, each with its own water supply system, six on either side of the car. The Pelton wheel meters are used to measure the flow of water down each side of the car.


“It takes the car six to eight minutes to get up to temperature. We use static rigs to supply water, electricity and liquid petroleum gas (LPG). The water is supplied via a piston pump at a pressure of 40 bar at 40 liters’ per minute, 20 liters’ per minute down each side of the car.


“Each boiler operates at a temperature of 400°C and the steam produced powers a two stage turbine that runs at a maximum of 13,000rpm to deliver 360hp to the rear wheels. The car should be able to attain a top speed of 170mph.


“With the system running at high pressure and high temperature it is critical that we are able to accurately measure the flow of water in order to control the pressure and the power output.”


The LMX220 flowmeters have been designed to measure flow rates between 0.01 – 28 liters per minute and are rated up to 100 bar.


The Pelton Wheel flowmeters have a custom-built 316 stainless steel cover fitted and ferrules and connectors are supplied to enable the instruments to be connected to 9mm pipes.

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