Around 1963, when I was a teenager, I became fascinated with
Ramjet engines. Where standard jet engines are very complex,
where hundreds of precise components spin at extremely high
speed to create power, the concept of a RamJet engine is
It was invented around the 1940s when jet engine technology was first being created. Rather than needing to use spinning compressor blades to create the needed compression ratio for efficient burning of the jet fuel, a RamJet relies on its high speed of forward motion, It has no moving parts, and it is possible to look completely through the whole thing!
As a teenaged kid who was fascinated with Physics, I thought I could improvise an experimental Ramjet engine. My father had a ratty old flatbed trailer that he never used any more. So I found sturdy steel and created what is called an exponential horn, which I bolted to that trailer, with the large opening facing forward. The front opening was about three feet in diameter, and it funneled down to become a two-inch iron water pipe. There are a couple details which I choose to not describe here, to try to avoid any other kid trying to duplicate my Ramjet experiment!
But my theory was that if I towed the trailer down the highway at 70 mph, the air would be forced through the exponential horn by the velocity, which both would speed up the air going into the two-inch pipe and also cause that air to be compressed as needed.
A fuel-injector nozzle was mounted in the sidewall of the two-inch pipe, and a spark plug to start the fire. Then the fuel injector would constantly feed gasoline in, it would mix with the compressed air and ignite and burn, and a very powerful jet exhaust would go out the back end (at close to supersonic speed!).
Once I got this thing built and bolted to the trailer, there was a problem! I had not yet gotten a Driver's License, so I could not drive my father's car to pull the trailer. And my 'friends' were very skeptical of my idea and none wanted to pull it with their cars, as well as the fact that teenaged boys tended not to have trailer hitches on the back of their cars!
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It only then dawned on me that if a car with a 90 horsepower engine was towing a trailer that suddenly might produce over a thousand horsepower of forward thrust, the trailer might easily then try to suddenly PUSH the car, big time! And only then I realized that if my experiment actually worked as I hoped, the 70 mph towing car might easily be hit from behind into an extremely serious accident. And I remember smiling at thinking about how such an accident might be explained to a Traffic Cop!
In any case, once I realized how dangerous my Ramjet experiment might easily be, I gave up the idea and took it apart and never actually tried to test it after that!
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