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For: Mr.Hendricks Honors Physics

Academy for Math, Engineering and Science

December 5, 2016

4B

Vaish Thiraviyarajah 1

ABSTRACT

This lab was done to predict the height of different rockets with different engines before

launching it and to compare the results when the rockets were actually launched. In order to

calculate the height, different values had to be known and in

order to gain those values, smaller labs had to be done. One of

the lab was to obtain the engine thrust value of an unknown

engine, this was done by putting a rocket with an engine

connected to battery against the digital force gauge, then a lab

to find the drag force of each rockets by putting the rocket in

the wind tunnel and measuring the angle. Using the calculated

information, the predicted height was obtained through

numerical iteration.The predicted heights matched the

measured heights quite well for two of the rockets, but not so

well for the other three.

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this lab is to gain better understanding of the concepts that was taught in

physics. A few of the concepts that are being reinforced are kinematics and dynamics.

Kinematics is the branch of motions that deals with pure motion and not related to mass or the

forces acting on the system. Dynamics is the branch of motion with forces acting on the system.

In this lab, 3 different types of rocket with multiple combination of engines were to be launched,

but before the rockets were launched, the goal was to calculate the expected height of each

rocket. In order to calculate the height, few things about the rockets and engines needs to be

known.

One of the most important thing to know is the drag coefficient of each rocket. Drag

coefficient is unique to each rocket based on its shape, size , air temperature and air pressure and

it doesnt change based on the velocity. Drag coefficient(k) is needed to find the drag force(Fd)

using the equation kv2 = Fd . Drag force is the force that would be y component of the rocket that

acts against the rocket as air resistance. Impulse is another important thing to calculate the

height. Impulse is defined as force times time which is equal to p or momentum. This is

derived by F = ma, which is the Newtons second law. Acceleration is equal to v t

, this

v

definition will replace the a in Newtons second law giving the equation F = m t . Change

in time will be multiplied to the force giving the equation F t = m v. momentum is defined as

mv, therefore impulse is equal to change in momentum, F t = P. Using the impulse, the type of

engine can be calculated. Each engine is marked with a letter, number - number, an example

would be A8-3. A is the impulse, 8 is the average thrust and 3 is the delay time for the parachute.

An A engine has a 2.5Ns, B engine has a 5Ns, and a C engine has a 10Ns.

Predicting the height is the harder part as the thrust is constantly changing, it requires

complicated calculations, therefore, an easier method was devised. In this method called

numerical iteration, it was to assume that the thrust is constant rather than changing, this will

allow the height to be calculated; this is the easiest and most accurate way possible so far.

Vaish Thiraviyarajah 2

EQUIPMENT:

Rocket

Engine

Ignitor

Battery

Ramp

PROCEDURE:

The purpose of this specific lab is to find out the engine thrust of the rocket and find

whether the engine was C-6, B-6 or A8. Before the experiment starts, the calculator needs to be

set up to collect the data accordingly. The calculator was connected to the CBL and set to collect

the force vs. time. The CBL was setup to collect data every 1/10

second with a maximum of 30 points which means the data will be

collected every 0.1 seconds for 3 seconds. The prestore was set to 10%

which ensures that 10% of the data before the actual data will be

recorded as well, The threshold was set as - 2 Newtons. The triggering

channel was set as decreasing since the force gauge measures the

pushing factor and it is recorded as negative. The triggering was set so

that the calculator would already start to record the data when it

notices that the thrust is changing, this ensures that all of the necessary

data is recorded.

The equipment was setup by securing the rocket to the ramp to hold it

in place. The engine was inserted in the rocket followed by the ignitor.

The ignitor was bent down and connected to the battery. The gauge

was re-zeroed because it was already reading due to the track being at

an angle. The battery sent power through the ignitor, it starts up the

engine and the CBL records the force of the engine through the digital

force gauge.

The first 2 times the data was messed up due to the ramp not being set straight. Once that

mistake was fixed, the data points seemed right, these data points were shared with the class.

Vaish Thiraviyarajah 3

RESULTS:

CALCULATION:

The impulse is found by calculating the area under the curve of the graph of force vs.

time. Due to the complicated math needed to calculate the precise impulse, an easier and simpler

method was devised. The area under the curve could be found through separating the graph into

small rectangles and finding the rectangles area first and then adding them all together in the

end. The graph was divided into pieces by the width of 0.1. Since the area of a rectangle is base

times height, every triangle will have the base as 0.1 and different height. Instead of finding the

area of each and every rectangle, the heights were all added together and then was multiplied by

0.1.

h = height

0.1h = 8.2

example: 0.1(0 + 0 + 0 + 1.3 +4.6 +9.5 + 5.7 +4.3+4.1+4.1 + 4.2+...)

Vaish Thiraviyarajah 4

The impulse of 8.2 shows that it is in fact a C engine but the average thrust is needed as well. In

order to find the average thrust, add all of the forces and divide by the number of the force. All

the forces add up to 82 and the number of forces with actual data was 20. 82 20

= 4.1. This can be

rounded to 4. This shows that the Engine is in fact a C4 engine.

DRAG FORCE

EQUIPMENTS:

Rocket

Wind tunnel

Protractor

INTRODUCTION:

The main purpose of this lab is to calculate the drag coefficient in order to calculate the

drag force. Drag coefficient is defined as kv2 which is proportional to air resistance. Since the

rockets move so fast, the air resistance cant be ignored. If it was ignored, an accurate predicted

height could not be reached. Drag coefficient depends on size of the object and the shape. A

rocket was placed in the wind tunnel along with a protractor. When the wind tunnel is turned on,

the rocket will move a certain number of degrees. The number of degrees can be found using the

Vaish Thiraviyarajah 5

protractor.The wind tunnel has a honeycomb structure through where the air will come through.

This structures purpose is to make the air force a laminar force. laminar force is where the air

flow is going straight and smooth. In this case, the air flow will be going straight, leading the

rocket to only move horizontally. This experiment is to find the drag force, then using the drag

force to find the drag coefficient of that specific rocket.

PROCEDURE:

A rocket of 61g was placed in the wind tunnel by tying a string to the middle of

the rocket. After the rocket was placed,the wind tunnel was turned on. Once the

wind tunnel was on, the rocket moved horizontally due to the air flow.The

movement of the rocket will move the string which in return will give an angle.

This experiment was done three times to attain an accurate data. The recorded data

will be averaged. In order to average the results, the results were added and

30+30+35

divided by 3. 3

= 31.7 32.

The average angle turns

out to 32.

Fx = max Fy = may

mg

Fd = Tsin cos

=T

mgsin

Fd = cos

Fd = mgtan

Vaish Thiraviyarajah 6

Using the x and y components of the free body diagram an equation was created to find the drag

force. The 32 was inserted into the equation and the drag force was found. However, the mass

and the gravity needs to be in the standard physics unit.

Fd = (0.061 kg)(9.8 m/s) tan 32

Fd = 0.374 N

The drag force could be used to find the drag coefficient through the equation Fd = kv2 .

Fd = kv2 The k is the drag coefficient and the v is the velocity of the wind tunnel which

Fd / V2 = k was already determined to be 30 m/s.

0.374N

(30)2

= 4.15 E - 4 .

It is determined through calculations that the drag coefficient of the red and yellow rocket is

4.15 E- 4 but due to sig figs and uncertainty the drag coefficient would only be 4 E- 4 . The red and

silver rocket was a bit bigger than the red and yellow rocket therefore it was hypothesized that

the drag coefficient is 6 E-4. The small white rocket was about half the size of the red and yellow

rocket, therefore the drag coefficient was determined through educated guess as 2 E-4.

NUMERICAL MODEL

The purpose of this part of the lab is to find the highest height that a specific rocket would go

with a certain engines. There are 4 engines available: 12 A3 , A8, B6, and C6 and 3 different

rockets available. In order to find the highest height certain things need to be found such as:

thrust for every 0.1 s, average thrust, drag force, average net force, average net impulse, initial

velocity, final velocity, and average velocity. The easiest way to find the height is to assume that

the force is constant for each time and to calculate the height for each

specific time. Using this method, the highest height could be found for a

specific time.The thrust for every 0.1 second is found through the digital

force gauge and cbl calculator. The average thrust can be found using the

the thrust1 + thrust2 divided by 2( (T hr1 +2 T hr2) ). The drag force is found

through multiplying the drag coefficient and final velocity squared (Fd =

kdv2). Average net force is found by taking the average thrust and

subtracting drag force and mass times gravity from it (Thravg - mg - Fd).

Average net impulse is found through time times average net force (Favg net*

t). The initial velocity is the final velocity of the last time or 0 for the first time (last rows Vf).

Final velocity is found by adding the average net impulse and mass times initial velocity and

dividing the entire thing by the mass ( mvi + Fmnet * t ) . the average velocity is initial and final

Vaish Thiraviyarajah 7

velocity added together and divided by two ( vi +2 vf ). The final height would be the average

velocity times time and add the initial height to it (hi + vavg t).

SAMPLE CALCULATION:

mass of rocket: 65 g type of engine: B6 mass of engine: 18 g drag coefficient: 5E- 4

total mass: 65 + 18= 83g = 0.083kg mg = 0.8134 N

Avg thrust Drag force Avg net Avg net initial final average final height time

(N) (N) force (N) impulse velocity velocity(m/s) velocity( (m) (s)

(m/s) m/s)

0 + 6.0 (0+0.219) 0 + 2.64

2

= 3.0 (5E-4)(0)2 = 0 3-0.81-0 2.19*0.1 0 0.083

= 2.64 2

= 0 + 1.32*0.1 0.1

= 2.19 = 0.219 1.32 = 0.132

6+10 (0.083*2.64 + 0.72) (11.3+2.64)

2

=8 5E- 4 * (2.64)2 8-.81-.00 7.2*0.1 = 2.64 0.083 2

0.132+6.97*0 0.2

= 0.0035 35 = 7.2 0.72 = 11.3 = 6.97 .1 = 0.829

It can be clearly inferred from these 2 samples that doing these calculations for each and every

one of these is tedious and time consuming therefore an easier way was devised. An Excel was

prepared with all the equations and columns, this made it easier so that only the mass, drag

coefficient and the thrust needs to be input and all of the other necessary data such as average

thrust, drag force, average net force, average net impulse, initial velocity, final velocity, average

velocity and height will be outputs. This is the excel without the inputs.

Vaish Thiraviyarajah 8

The table down below is for the B6 engine and the red and silver rocket with the

- 4

5E drag coefficient. The highest height that this rocket could go would be found by

scrolling down in the final height column and finding the highest height out of all of it.

According to the excel, the highest this rocket could go is 77.17 m at 4.1 s taking the air

resistance into consideration.

rocket, the results would be vastly

different if the air resistance was not

taken into account. This theory was

tested out. According to the same exact calculations, it is shown that the highest it can go is

118.59 at 5.3 s. This is exactly 1.5 times higher than the height calculated with air resistance, this

shows that air resistance is a vital part to calculate the rockets height precisely. These

calculations were done to different rockets with different engines to calculate their expected

height. B6 and C6 engines are way too big for the small white rocket and 12 A is too small for the

red/silver and red/yellow rockets. The drag coefficients for red/silver, red/yellow and small white

are 5E- 4, 4E- 4 , and 2E- 4 respectively.

1

Small white 23g 2

A3 7g

Vaish Thiraviyarajah 9

1

2

A A8 B6 C6

6.4s

This is an example excel of the estimated height of the A8 engine of Red/Yellow.

engines.

Vaish Thiraviyarajah 10

FLIGHT RESULTS

EQUIPMENTS:

Protractor

weight

string

rockets

types of engine

launcher

meter stick

INTRODUCTION:

This part of the lab is to perform the actual experiment that was being build up to, which

was launching the rocket. The height of the launched rocket was to be calculated using the angle

of the rocket in regard to the horizontal axis. The angle was recorded with the protractor by

putting it to the eye level and following the rocket to its highest height and recording the angle

shown by the protractor. There is a highly likely chance of the rocket going curved, therefore the

data collected will be skewed. In order to avoid that three average heighted students were placed

around the launcher so the average angle of the three could be taken. The average height of a

student is 1.5 meter. These students were placed 50 meters away from the launcher.

In preparation for the launching, the rockets were prepared by putting wadding in

the rocket so the heat from the engine wont melt the parachutes. The wadding is

treated with fire resistance substance. After the wadding is placed in the rocket, the

parachute is neatly folded and placed inside. Then the engine and the ignitor is

inserted and the ignitor will be connected to the battery. Then a small plastic plug

was inserted so that the igniter wont fall out. The rocket will be placed on the

launcher. Once everyone is in position, the battery will be turned on, the battery

will sent electricity through the ignitor and launch the rocket. The three students

will follow the rocket with their respective protractors and record the angles down.

These angles will be averaged. the angle will be averaged be adding the three angles and then

dividing by three. The average angle will be used to find the height of each rocket with different

engines.

B Red/Yellow 64 71 68 68 125m

C Red/Yellow 68 67 82 72 155m

B Red/Silver 58 58 61 59 85m

C Red/Silver 61 70 64 65 109m

1

2

A White 61 65 61 62 96m

Vaish Thiraviyarajah 11

Since the distance from the rocket and the angle is known, a triangle can be made to find

the height. The height would need to have 1.5 m added since that is the height from where the

angle is being measured. Tangent can be used to find the height:

y

tan = x

x tan = y

y + 1.5 = height of the rocket

SAMPLE CALCULATIONS:

average height of B engined Red/Silver : 58 + 58+ 61 =

177 177/3 = 59

height of the B engined Red/ Silver : x tan = y

50tan59 = y = 83.21 83.21+1.5 = 84.71

85m

CONCLUSION

These results show that 2 out of 5 predicted height

were good. These calculations were done by

assuming that the rocket will go straight but that

assumption is not always correct, Assuming that the

rocket will go straight will give a close enough

prediction but not the best. The results that were far

from the predictions were due to the rocket curving

when it was launched. Even though all rockets

curved, the really bad results were from the rockets

that curved a lot. Another possibility of a bad

prediction could have been due to the fact that the

drag coefficient was assumed for the small white and

the red/silver rocket. If the accurate drag coefficient was achieved, a more accurate prediction

could have been made. One way to achieve a more accurate drag coefficient is to test the rockets

in a bigger wind tunnel or just to use rockets that is shorter. The Red/Silver rockets drag

coefficient was assumed to be 5 E-4 , this worked well with the B engine but for the C engine, it

was vastly different. The rocket couldve had a higher drag coefficient, therefore the calculations

were redone with a drag coefficient of 6 E-4 and even then the prediction showed 170 m which is

still not in the range of error. This shows that the inaccuracy of drag coefficient did not impact

the prediction that much to make a difference.

REFLECTION

This lab required lots of hard work and focus.One thing that I found hard is to keep up

with the dead lines sometimes.I learned a lot about how the rockets are launched. I liked how

each of us were able to participate in different part of the lab and gain knowledge through

actually doing it. I was able to tie in the things that we have been learning throughout physics

such as trigonometry, forces acting on a system, free body diagrams, and educated guess into

one physics lab. I feel like this allowed us to review the things that we learned with fun and

Vaish Thiraviyarajah 12

excitement added to it. This showed us how we can apply physics in real life application unlike

just teaching us each concept separately, it ties it all together which makes it more

comprehensible.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

http://www2.estesrockets.com/pdf/Estes_Time-Thrust_Curves.pdf

http://my.uen.org/myuen/79523/3;jsessionid=090B09367030E3D42D11AA057849E4C8

http://www.freeiconspng.com/png-images/rocket-ship-png

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