BOTTLE ROCKET RESEARCH
Group members:
The bottle rocket project will require you to use your knowledge from the Forces and Motion
Unit, particularly Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion.
Newton’s 3rd Law:
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
A bottle rocket is connected to an air compressor. The compressor pressurizes air and inserts
the air into the bottle. Once you disconnect the bottle from the launch pad, the bottle flies up
as the pressurized air is pushes out of the bottle. (Similar to how a balloon flies around a
room if you untie the end and allow the air to come out)
What is the action or initial force?
What is the reaction or opposite force?
Prediction: What do you think makes a successful bottle rocket? List 3-4 factors that you think will affect
the height a bottle rocket achieves.
1.
2.
3.
4.
Draw a picture of what you think the rocket should look like:
Video #1: Getting Started (3-4 min.) http://tclauset.org/21_BtlRockets/BTL.html
1.
Make a list of the supplies that you will need to make your rocket (include the supplies that you have already
brought in and the ones you still need to bring).
2. What are the two things that you need to remove from the bottle before you start building your rocket?
3. What are the two ways that you can apply your strapping tape to the bottle in order to protect it from
bursting?
4. Make a list of the 3-4 steps for drawing the markings for fin placement on the bottle.
Video #2 - Fin Video - http://tclauset.org/21_BtlRockets/BTL.html
5. What are the three rules for Fins?
a.
b.
c.
6. Smaller fins can produce less __________________________.
7. What type of material should and shouldn’t be used to make your fins?
8. Sketch the 4 shapes that can be used for fins
Bottle Rocket Construction
http://www.siouxbsa.org/pubs/c/98_waterbottlerocket.pdf
This three-page PDF file provides instructions on how to build a water bottle rocket. Includes list of needed
materials and illustrated with drawings.
9. What are the functions of the body, fins and nose cone of a bottle rocket?
10. What properties should the parts of your bottle rocket have? Name 1 or 2 pieces of information for
each of the following parts:
Body:
Fins:
Nosecone
Rocket Classroom Activities
http://exploration.grc.nasa.gov/education/rocket/rktbot.html
Read this page, and then click on the link for “stability”. Read on to learn what affects the stability of a
rocket. Then, answer these questions.
11. When a rocket is inclined to its flight path, a lift force is generated. What is responsible for
generating this lift force?
Physics Central
http://www.physicscentral.com/experiment/askaphysicist/physics-answer.cfm?uid=20080509041417
This site will explain how Bottle Rockets demonstrate Newton’s Laws of Motion. Read the question and
response to help you answer the following questions.
12. How many fuel and energy sources are used in a “water bottle rocket”?
13. What is the fuel for the bottle rocket?
14. What is the energy source for the bottle rocket?
RESEARCH DAY #2
Video #3 – Bottle Rocket Nose Cones http://tclauset.org/21_BtlRockets/BTL.html
15. Where should the Center of Mass (Balance Point) be located on your rocket? How can you move/change
the location of the Center of Mass on your rocket?
16.In what range should the mass (how many grams?) of your completed rocket fall between? How can you
adjust the mass of your rocket to be within this range?
Now, go to the Rocket’s Away Software Demo
http://www.ohio4h.org/statewide-programs/4-h-science/science-alive-4-h-schoolenrichment/rockets-away-launch-simulator
This site will allow you to simulate rocket launches. You will focus on finding the optimal
amount of water to use for your launch. THE ONLY VARIABLE THAT YOU MAY
CHANGE IS THE AMOUNT OF WATER USED FOR THE LAUNCH. Also note that these
values are measured in English units (oz.).
To help with your rocket construction: 1 oz = 28.34g
Test #1
Cone weight:
Test #2
Test #3
Test #4
2.65 oz
Cone weight: 2.65 oz
Cone weight: 2.65 oz
Cone weight: 2.65 oz
Body Weight: 3.53 oz
Body Weight: 3.53 oz
Body Weight: 3.53 oz
Body Weight: 3.53 oz
Tail Weight: 1.75 oz
Tail Weight: 1.75 oz
Tail Weight: 1.75 oz
Tail Weight:
1.75 oz
Water:
Water:
Pressure: 100 lbs
Pressure:
Altitude:
Speed:
Time:
Altitude:
Speed:
Time:
Water:
100 lbs
Pressure: 100 lbs
Altitude:
Speed:
Time:
17. Which water volume produced the best results for your simulations? Why?
Water:
Pressure: 100 lbs
Altitude:
Speed:
Time:
18. Based on your results from above, what might you change on your initial design?
Now, use some of the websites to improve your initial design. Some sites have great pictures that you can
use as a model. You will be given 2 bottles (just in case you make a mistake), manila folders to use for fins,
and tape to attach your fins. You may bring in other materials for your rocket as long as you get them
approved first.
Draw a final design for your rocket and plan the steps you will take to make it. For example, use numbered
steps to explain how you will build your rocket.
Design:
Steps to build (a.k.a. – Procedure):
Post-Construction: Scale Drawing
Now that your rocket has been built, you must create a scale drawing of the rocket. A 2L
soda bottle is 30 cm in height, so your rocket should be built to a scale that will fit on this
paper. It is recommended that you use the scale of 1 cm (drawing size) : 2.5 cm (actual size),
but this may differ depending on the final size of your rocket. Be sure to use a ruler,
protractor, compass, etc. to create a neat and accurate drawing.
The following must be included in your scale drawing
 All details and sizes must be labeled, ex. Fins, nose cone….
 Determine the mass (in grams) of the rocket with AND without water
 Record the volume of water (in mL) that the rocket will use
 Explain the design of your rocket’s fins, nose, and body. Each must be explained in 2-3
sentences; include: general shape, estimated mass of each part, how it relates to physics
content we have studied.
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BOTTLE ROCKET RESEARCH