Would you drink rocket fuel?

We already know that alcohol (ethanol) is a powerful drug, but its power is not limited to its mind altering qualities.

Used as a fuel it is capable of producing some mind bending statistics. For example, the fuel E85 is 85% alcohol and 15% petrol. When used in combination with a high performance Top Fuel dragster, 8000BHP can be produced resulting in 0-100MPH being achieved in less than one second and the driver being subjected to 8G, or eight times the force of gravity. A quarter mile is covered in less than four seconds with a terminal speed of well over 300 MPH.

In fact motorsport is a very important sector of the UK economy. About 38,000 people are employed in the 4,500 companies involved in the sport in some form or another, turning over some 6 Billion pounds in the process. Alcohol can be found in a number of places within the industry including paints, various solvents and even the anti bacterial wipes used by the mechanics.

The interaction between cars and alcohol can be traced back to the Model T Ford automobile. These early cars ran on ethanol but with the introduction of prohibition in 1920, fuel sellers were often associated with ‘moonshiners’ and the fuel type needed to be changed. Alcohol was also sold as lamp fuel as early as 1840 in the United States.

A more sinister side to the use of alcohol as a fuel is witnessed by the fact that the German V2 rocket used an ethanol/water and liquid oxygen mix as a fuel source. The first weapon of its kind had a range of about 200 miles and an impact speed of more than 1800 MPH; more than 3100 were launched at various targets in Europe during 1944.

It is not difficult to see that alcohol in its various forms is serious stuff. It is able to power cars, kill off the most potent bacteria’s, help launch rockets weighing many tons into the air and propel them to more than 3500 MPH. The energy that can be released by one of nature’s most effective cleaning agents and warning systems is obviously very powerful and very potent.

Are you absolutely sure that you want to drink it?

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