Have you ever seen a rocket launch into the sky? It is a fantastic sight to see an enormous spacecraft shooting into deep outer space. Clearly, scientists should supply their rocket with a tremendous amount of force to so that it will launch through Earth’s atmosphere.
But have you ever thought about launching your rocket? This might still require a bit of force. But of course, to a much lesser degree. For this experiment, you will make your own rocket launcher that will shoot a paper rocket with moving air power. This is an easy project to make because all you need is a few items lying around your house. What are we waiting for? Let’s get started!
What You Need:
- an empty 2-liter bottle
- ½ inch PVC pipe, which is about 8-12 inches long
- Cut the ½ inch PVC pipe to about 8-12 inches if necessary. Remember, if you’re still not capable of cutting it yourself, an adult should do this step.
- Put the pipe into the opening of the bottle.
- Make your rocket by rolling the paper around the PVC pipe and shape it like the rocket’s body.
- Remove the paper from the PVC pipe, then fold the end of the rocket closed.
- Stick the folded end of the rocket so that it stays closed.
- Cut out three paper triangles to make fins, and tape these to the rocket base.
- Put the paper rocket back onto the PVC pipe, which is fitted inside the bottle’s opening.
- Finally, squeeze the bottle with quick and robust hard movement, then watch your rocket fly to the sky.
- You can also try different ways of launching your rocket, such as stomping or sitting on the bottle.
- You can repeat the launch and see how high or far your rocket travels.
If your rocket isn’t working, double check if the end of the paper is closed and taped tightly that air cannot escape. Remember to be careful so you will not crack the 2-liter bottle when squeezing. Otherwise, it will not work effectively.
How it Works
By forcing air out of a bottle and into the cylinder, the pressure was able to send your rocket flying. This rocket also teaches you the important set of ideas, also known as Newton’s Laws of Motion.
This idea explains the way objects in our world interact and move. The First Law of Motion states that “An object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion until acted upon by an outside force.”
This law of motion can be applied to your rocket because it was at rest, and it needed force in order to send it flying into the air. You’re probably thinking that you could have just thrown your rocket up in the air using the power of your muscles. However, that wouldn’t be as effective as using an empty bottle to launch it. You’re probably wondering why the bottle should be empty anyway? That is because the air pressure inside the empty bottle made your rocket fly.
When you quickly and firmly squeeze the bottle, it forced all the air inside out at once. The air movement shot out of the bottle and entered the cylinder of your rocket, thus propelling it up in the air.
Even if this was a great way to launch a paper rocket, actual rockets are sent to space by using fuel and powerful engines. Gases create an explosion of force at the end of the rocket—this explosion sends the rocket into the air in the opposite direction.