CO2 Powered cars or Dragsters

CO2 cars are small models which are alternatively known as dragsters and use a propellant gas CO2 to move the car forward.

These car models are used by would be Engineers in schools and colleges to understand the dynamics of aerodynamics of a vehicle.

The car works on the principle of Newton’s third law of motion which states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The CO2 which is released at great velocity exerts an equal force in the opposite direction which causes the car to move forwards.

The same principle comes into work in a space rocket or the recoil of the gun while firing. CO2 powered cars are model dragsters and can be found in many workshops of engineering institutions. It is also valuable to explain the principles of speed, motion, acceleration and inertia.

It also helps the students to have a better understanding of the forces of gravity, frictional forces acting on the car and the resistance of wind and other forces acting on the car. It usually moves along a 65 feet ramp with railings on both sides to prevent it from moving out of the ramp. The dragster is usually made of light weight plastics or balsa wood. The speed and other features are calculated by a laser sensor at one end and the calculations for different physics terms like speed, acceleration, or any other value is calculated.

CO2 cars are a part of the curriculum in the US and New Zealand and Australia. The inert nature of CO2 gas makes its use ideal by students since CO2 is neither poisonous nor inflammable thus making it safe to be used by students.

There are projects and competitions which are held under the auspices of the Technology Student Association at middle school and high school levels.

The car is much akin to the Pinecar model and since the race can be started simultaneously for all the cars the winner is the car which has the best aerodynamic designs and least wind resistance. The car can hold an 8 Gms CO2 cartridge much akin to the bicycle tire inflation systems.

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