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Rocket Project Report

Nathan Gates

To: Mr. Hendricks


The Academy for Math, Engineering, and Science

The general idea was to gain a better understanding of the ideas taught in class through

testing knowledge. The predicted and tested heights:


A8 B6 C6

R/Y 59m 133m 289m

G/B 28m 75m 191m


A8 B6 C6

R/Y 38m 59m OUT OF SIGHT

G/B 26m* 50m BAD ANGLE

*(closest to predicted height)


The purpose of this lab was to expand the understanding of physics through testing it out

with rockets. In this lab thrust was measured, drag forces were calculated, and heights were

predicted. When predicting the heights that the rockets would go, different equations were used

and need an input that a different equation had as the output. Kinematics describes the motion of

an object. Dynamics is the study of the effects that force and torque have on an object. Impulse is

defined as force over time. Momentum is how much motion an object has. Drag Force is

resistance on an object while in flight. The drag coefficient is the number that represents the

quantity of drag force. There are several terms that are relevant to to this experiment. Numerical

iteration was used to predict the height the rockets would go. Numerical iteration is using a

previous equations output as the input in a new equation. The derivation of the impulse

momentum theorem:
Thrust Analysis

The purpose of this particular section of the lab was to measure the amount of thrust in

Newtons that the engine puts out. Then to figure out what type engine it was that was tested.

The experiment was set up like so:

Paige Ney

The data was collected using LoggerPro. It was set to collect data every tenth of a second.

Every tenth of a second it would measure the amount of thrust. The data was measured in

negative values because of the sensor. The sensor measured pulling as positive and pushing as

negative. It would start to collect data at a triggering point. The triggering point for this

experiment was when the newton value was greater than one. However, the program would still

collect data even before the triggering point up to one second. After one second it would discard
the data and begin again. This would continue until the triggering point, then it would zero out

and start measuring. As soon as the engine burned out it would stop again.

There are different types of engines such as C-6 or A-8. The letter stands for the total

impulse which is thrust multiplied by time. The number is the average amount of thrust the

engine puts out over the burn time.

This was the data collected every tenth of a second in table and graph form:

Time Force

0.0 0.00
0.1 1.91
0.2 9.12
0.3 8.00
0.4 5.50
0.5 5.38
0.6 5.14
0.7 4.98
0.8 4.98
0.9 4.65
1.0 4.89
1.1 4.98
1.2 4.80
1.3 4.71
1.4 4.74
1.5 4.84
1.6 4.74
1.7 4.86
1.8 5.07
1.9 4.92
2.0 0.00
To ignite the engine electricity was used. Two wires with Phosphorous wrapped around them.

The was held against the engine with a type of plug. Wire clamps were put on the two wires.

Then when ready the other end of the wire was touched to a battery to complete it. The

electricity would ignite the Phosphorus to ignite the engine. Once the engine was lit the plug and

wire would blow out.

Like this:

Ben Hulleberg

The whole engine was held under control with straps and it was partially encompassed in a box.

The experiment was safely set up and performed. Do not try this at home.

Drag Force Analysis

The purpose of this section of the lab is to determine the amount of drag force the rocket

will encounter while in flight. The resistance acting on the rocket is air or wind resistance.

Since the amount of drag force acting on the rocket cannot be calculated while the rocket

is actually flying something else was used. A Wind tunnel was used. The wind tunnel is shaped

like two cones together. There is a honeycomb shape in the middle that directs the air. In the
middle the rocket was hung from the top with a string attached to its center of mass. Right

behind the rocket was a protractor. The string holding up the rocket was aligned with the ninety

degree mark on the protractor. The rocket weighs sixty-one grams or .061 kilograms.

It was set up like so:

The wind tunnel was then turned on and the rocket was pushed back with the wind coming

from the left side. It was turned on, someone measured the angle at which the string was, and it

was turned back off again. This was done three times.

After the angle was measured, that number was subtracted from ninety. The result of that

is the angle at which the rocket was pushed. Since there were three attempts done the average of

the three was taken. This angle would be used to calculate the drag force. For the larger rocket

which cannot fit inside of the wind tunnel it was estimated.

Free body diagram of the structure:

Numerical Analysis
The purpose of this section of the lab as a whole is to predict the height at which the rocket

got to. This was calculated using an Exel spreadsheet. Several columns were used and each had a

different purpose and equation. All the cells are labeled as either undefined or zero until you

input your numbers and definitions. It looked like so:

The time was measured in tenths of a second. The weight of the rocket was entered in kg

and the drag coefficient of the rocket was also entered. The thrust for each tenth of a second was

put into the thrust column. The values for each row are then calculated automatically. The

greatest height is the predicted height. Each row has a different purpose and equation.

Thrust: The amount of thrust a rocket engine puts out.

Average Thrust: Is defined as (Thrust1+Thrust2)/2

The previous thrust plus the present thrust divided by two.

Drag Force: (Fd = kd*v2)

The velocity multiplied by two all multiplied by the drag force.

Average Net Force: (Thravg - mg - Fd)

The average thrust minus the mass times gravity minus the drag force.

Average Net Impulse: (Fnet∙Dt)

The net force multiplied by the constant acceleration.

Initial Velocity: (= last row's vf)

The previous velocity.

Final Velocity: (vi+FnetDt/m)

The initial velocity plus the net constant acceleration over the mass.

Average Velocity: (vi + vf)/2

The initial velocity plus the final velocity all over two.

Initial Height: (= last row's hf)

The previous final height.

Final Height: (hi+vavg*Dt)

The previous height plus the average velocity multiplied by the constant acceleration.

These calculations gave an output of the predicted height that the rocket went. It’s not

however realistic to be able to calculate the final height of the rocket to the nearest hundredth of

a meter with the instruments that were used in this experiment. The final heights were rounded

off to the nearest one meter. If there no air resistance at all, 0 would be the input for the drag

coefficient and the predicted heights would very high.

Predicted Heights:

A8 B6 C6

R/Y 59m 133m 289m

G/B 28m 75m 191m

Flight Results

In this portion of the lab as a whole the rockets were actually launched and tested. The

heights that the rockets went were calculated and estimated. This gave an estimation to compare

with the predicted heights.

Set Up:

A stand with a rod held the rocket straight while in its initial flight with two rings on the rocket.

The engine was put into the rocket. To ignite the engine electricity was used. Two wires with

Phosphorous wrapped around them. This was held against the engine with a type of plug. Wire

clamps were put on the two wires. The clamps had a long wire attached to a plastic box. The

with batteries. A button on the box was pressed to complete the circuit. The electricity ignited the

Phosphorus to ignite the engine. Once the engine was lit the plug and wire would blow out.

Flight Calculations
To give a better estimation of how high the rocket went there would need to be an average of

multiple angles since the rocket rarely goes exactly straight up. There were three different people

around the ready to launch rocket. Each person spaced exactly one hundred feet from the rocket.

Each person had a protractor with a string attached with its end at zero degrees. On the other end

of the string was a weight to hold down the string. Once the rocket was launched, the three

persons would wait until the rocket was at its highest point. They would then look down the

straight end of the protractor and line it up with the rocket at its peak. The angle at which the

protractor was angled was read and recorded.

Calculating the Height

The average of the three angles calculated during each of the flights. The estimations were found

using trig properties such as sine, cosine, and tangent. To calculate the heights cosine was used.

Cosine is defined as the adjacent side to the angle divided by the hypotenuse to the angle. Red

and yellow, and gold and black rockets were used both with a, b, and c engines.

Sample calculation:
A1 A2 A3 Average Calculated height in meters

R/Y A 32 48 29 36 38

R/Y B 37 75 35 49 59

R/Y C Out of sight None None

G/B A 24 24 29 26 26*

G/B B 29 54 50 44 50

G/B C Flew at a bad angle None None

*(Most accurate to predicted height)


After the rockets were launched and the heights were predicted they were compared with

each other. Most of the tested heights were far from the predicted heights and some of them were

even unable to be calculated due to bad curves or the rocket couldn’t be seen. Perhaps next time

the rod could be put at an angle to compensate for the curve. It was discovered that the gold and

blue when used with the A8 engine was the closest to the predicted height. The predicted being

28 meters and the tested being 26 meters.

I think that this was a great way to experiment with our knowledge of physics. I remember

when I was younger I would go out to the great salt lake and launch rockets and it was a lot of

fun. This project helped me understand physics in a different way and see it in a different way. I

think it was a little bit tedious to keep write so many individual papers, but I learned a lot.