West Lothian students aim to smash land speed record by creating '˜high speed rocket car'

Students are zooming beyond the starting grid with plans to build a rocket car and smash the land speed record.

Wednesday, 21st March 2018, 6:54 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st March 2018, 7:03 am
Project manager Mark McGovern and the rest of the team. Picture: JON SAVAGE

Ambitious engineering students from West Lothian College are giving up their free time to design and manufacture a high speed rocket car.

Described by engineering lecturer Steven Hunter as a “jet fighter without wings” the students aim to produce a vehicle that will rocket past Scotland’s land speed record.

Steven added: “It’s a huge challenge to build a rocket car capable of breaking the Scottish land speed record of 504mph, but we are aiming high with this project.

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“Our dedicated project team of students from mechanical and electrical engineering courses, supported by staff, are giving up two lunch breaks a week to achieve this, in addition to their existing work.

“The students will learn a lot in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects through this project, as well as learning vital skills such as setting deadlines, working as a team and making decisions.

“Every bit of the design has its own different challenges, but we have a great group of students and great support from the engineering department.”

When complete the self-guided remote operated car will be made from aluminium and raced on an airfield.

The team, made up of students from various different engineering disciplines, are now testing the combustion chamber which will power the car and making the frame with the help of JB Engineering and Lareine Engineering, are still to locate a track to test the final model and will need the length of at least an airfield.

Project student ambassador Mark McGovern from Livingston said the initial task had been finding the right materials.

“The challenges in the design are using the right type of materials as we are always aiming to gain maximum speed from our design.

“We’re doing the rocket car project outside of our own timetable, but it’s something totally different – I’m buzzing as each week the design continues to develop.

“We have different levels of students which is great as it gives us different inputs.

And when asked how confident he was that the team would be successful, he replied: “We can definitely do it - I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t think we can achieve the goal.

“I’m so proud of the whole team – their dedication, commitment and determination to complete our design.”