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Aviation science fair project:
The effects of the size and shape of a balloon rocket on its flight speed

Science Fair Project Information
Title: The effects of the size and shape of a balloon rocket on its flight speed
Subject: Aviation
Grade level: Elementary School - Grades 4-6
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Low
Awards: 2nd place, Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (2007)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (VSF)
Year: 2007
Description: The purpose of this project is to measure whether the size and shape of a balloon rocket will affect how fast and how far the balloon will travel on a string. The balloons were blown up and taped to a straw with a fishing line strung through it. The balloon was released and distance was measured.
Link: http://www.virtualsciencefair.org/2007/ullr7m2/SciFair.swf
Short Background

A balloon rocket is a balloon filled with air. Besides being simple toys, balloon rockets are a widely used teaching device to demonstrate physical principles and the functioning of a rocket.

To launch a simple rocket, a person releases the opening of a balloon, which is then propelled somewhat randomly by the escape of the air which creates thrust. The flight altitude amounts to some meters. The balloon rocket can be used easily to demonstrate simple physics, namely Newton’s third law.

A common variant of the balloon rocket consists in adding other components such as a string, a drinking straw and adhesive tape to the balloon itself. The string is threaded through the straw and is attached at both ends to objects of some kind, such as a doorknob on one end and a chair on the other. The straw is then taped to the side of the air-filled balloon, with the open end of the balloon touching one of the objects. When the balloon is released, the thrust from the opening propels it along the length of the string. Alternatively, a balloon rocket car can be built

The balloon can also be filled with gases other than air, with similar results.

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)

For More Information: NASA Office of Education. Rockets: A Teacher’s Guide with Activities in Science, Mathematics, and Technology.

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