How about a toffee-fired rocket or a chocolate-powered racing car?...

Michelle Berriedale-Johnson ts amazed...

Those on restricted diets often find themselves eating some fairly strange things but the weird things that some of us do with food pale into insignificance compared to a toffee fired rocket – or a chocolate powered racing car…..  And I don’t mean toy ones either!

Ray Wilkinson, Principal Lecturer in Aerospace Design and Rocket Propulsion at the University of Hertfordshire maintains that rockets do not necessarily have to be run on materials derived from oil as there may be alternatives that perform well and are very viable – and to prove it he has worked with the BBC’s Bang goes the Theory programme audiences  to develop a hybrid rocket motor fuelled by toffee to power a bicycle which can reach speeds of thirty miles an hour.

All of the important safety and performance testing was carried out at the University of Hertfordshire, and the team also used toffee to power a railway trolley which can reach speeds of 150 miles per hour.
Earlier this year, Wilkinson and a student team also developed a rocket sled which will reach over 1200 miles per hour in about a third of a second.
For more information, visit: http://www.rockets.herts.ac.uk.

Meanwhile, Dr Kerry Kirwan and his team at the University of Warwick have just built the world’s first fully sustainable Formula 3 racing care.

The car is made from woven flax, recycled carbon fibre, recycled resin and carrot pulp for the steering wheel. It runs on biofuel made from chocolate and animal fats and is lubricated with plant oils.

But don’t be deceived – this care is also fast… It has a top speed of 135 mph, can achieve 0-60 in 2.5 seconds and is turbo charged to give it more torque and will make its competitive debut in the Formula 3 Championship final at Brands Hatch on 17th October.

According to Dr Kirwan the idea behind the project is to show that: "being sustainable and green can be incredibly sexy, fun and fast."
A video of the car in action can be found at www.impactworld.org.uk.

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First Published in October 2009