Carson Pardue's Bottle Rocket Project

1. Define the Problem

What need or want must be met by the solution?

The problem at hand is to make a fully operating bottle rocket that can launch successfully and come back down in one piece.

2. Brainstorming

In the space provided, sketch three possible solutions to the given problem. Remember to be creative

3. Research and Generating Ideas

In the space below, document your research. Be sure to include proper citations at the end of your notes.

  • Most rockets were used for war and special occasions
  • The thought of rockets being used to go into space came to mind in the 1900’s
  • One of the most successful rockets was the German V-2 that was used for warfare
  • Eventually the Americans begin making similar models of the V-2 with help from the germans, soon after the germans began working on a rocket that could make it into space
  • America made the first working satellite called Explorer 1
  • Rockets were then used to make faster planes such as jets which were used later for war
  • The Bell X-1 was the first working jet
  • Russians and Americans Began fighting over first group to make it the furthest in space
  • Russians were the first to send a working satellite into orbit
  • America had launched the first space station into orbit, it was called Skylab
  • A challenge was held to see who could launch a rocket that could go into space twice in the matter of two weeks
  • Space tourism was thought to be created fairly soon, today you can buy a trip up into earth's orbit for a small amount of time
  • Scientists and other explorers will have a chance to study and explore many parts of space and can even think about rockets that could carry us further into space.
  • A force is anything that can influence a change in speed or direction of an object
  • Drag is when the rocket is being pushed down by the other direction
  • Lift is a side force used to stabilize and control the direction of flight
  • Thrust - This is the force that produces lift-off, or upward movement of a rocket
  • A combination of factors affect the weight of a rocket and can include cargo, passengers, fuel, parts of the rocket, materials, and other items
  • There are three key axes that define this movement: Roll (longitudinal), Pitch (lateral), and Yaw (vertical)
  • The longitudinal (roll) axis runs lengthwise down the rocket, the rockets tends to twist about this axis
  • The lateral (pitch) axis runs side-to-side
  • The vertical (yaw) axis runs top-to-bottom
  • There are many parts that make up a rocket, these parts are classified into the following systems: Structural, Propulsion, Guidance, Payload, and Recovery
  • Propulsion System - the propulsion system must produce enough thrust to overcome weight and drag to achieve lift-off, there are two main types of rocket propulsion: solid and liquid fuel
  • Guidance System -the guidance system has two main roles during the launch of a rocket; to provide stability for the rocket, and to control the rocket during maneuvers
  • Payload System - Payload is what the rocket is carrying
  • Recovery System - Rocket recovery systems are an important aspect for safe rocket launching, a rocket recovery system should allow the rocket and possibly payload to land undamaged
  • Weather conditions is vital to how a rocket flies
  • The 5 layers of Earth’s atmosphere are troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, ionosphere, and exosphere
  • A rocket must generate enough thrust to overcome mass, gravity, and drag to achieve a sufficient velocity to exit the atmosphere
  • There are many specialized fields within aerospace engineering: aerodynamics, thermodynamics, mechanical systems, propulsion, acoustics, guidance, control, and others
  • There are numerous career titles in aerospace engineering: aerospace engineer, design engineer, test engineer, structural design engineer, engineer, and associate engineer
  • The laws of physics determine how a rocket flies, including the thrust to achieve lift off, the ability to control the rocket's stability, and the success of recovering the rocket

Newton's Three Laws of Motion

  1. Every object persists in its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed on it.
  2. Force is equal to the change in momentum (mV) per change in time. For a constant mass, force equals mass times acceleration (F=ma)
  3. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
  • Yaw refers to the side to side movement of the rocket's nose. This movement can take the rocket off of its intended flight path and could result from a gust of wind (very similar to pitch)
  • momentum = mass x velocity
  • If we want to increase the rocket's velocity, we can do so by increasing the velocity of the ejected water, or by decreasing the mass of the rocket
  • The variables that you can actually control to affect the velocity of the ejected water are bottle pressure, water volume, and bottle size
  • When wind speed increases, the pressure increases and this produces a force that resists forward motion
  • Drag occurs when a solid object moves through a gas or liquid
  • A rocket's drag can be affected by the rocket's frontal area, shape, velocity, and air density
  • Air density changes with altitude, so the value of this variable depends on the height at which you expect to fly
  • Increasing the frontal area will result in higher drag, so minimizing frontal area is a good way to minimize drag
  • In order to maintain stable flight, rotation around all three axes - especially yaw and pitch - must be prevented
  • A recovery system is part of the rocket that allows the rocket to safely return to earth after launch
  • The standard (lawndart), tumble, and backslider recovery systems are considered passive designs because the rocket's return to earth is largely based on the same principles of stability that took the rocket upwards
  • Lawndart- the rocket reaches its maximum altitude, then rotates and falls nose first back to earth
  • Tumbling- the rocket reaches a maximum altitude, then proceeds to tumble, spinning and rotating back to earth
  • Backsliding- the rocket reaches maximum altitude, then falls tail, rear, or nozzle end first back to the earth
  • Active recovery systems tend to be better for heavier rockets, and provide a safer recovery

4. Identifying criteria and specifying constraints

What are the criteria and constraints?

Criteria: I need the rocket to be able to make it to a great height so that if it were not to fall slow it would have a little more time to be in the air. It doesn't have to be a first place model, but i want it to work and make a decent time.

Constraints: weight, size, length, speed, time, material, and efficiency.

Materials List

Bottle, board, cardboard, tubing, water, and plastic.

5. Exploring possibilities

Reflect on your brainstorm ideas and research notes. Generate any additional designs which you feel meet the criteria and constraints in the space below.

When I was first made my first design(Pink Fury) it worked out pretty well. There were some problems however with the decent, it would come back down too fast due to the weight. In my second model I decided to lower the weight and work on the fins. THis model worked really well(Iron Man) and was in the air for about twenty seconds. So for my third model(Dust in the Wind) I wanted to improve on the time it stayed in the air, in the end its was pretty close to my second sketch.

6. Selecting an Approach

a. Enter the constraints of the project in the first column.

b. Score each sketch for each constraint. + = 3 pts., √=2 pts., - = 1 pt. c. Total the columns and circle the highest score.


Sketch 1

Sketch 2

Sketch 3

























7. Developing a Design Proposal

Take your highest scoring sketch and create working drawings (sketches with dimensions, so that you could build your project). Attach your working drawings to this sheet.

Dimensions: nose length- 218.3mm

fins- 4, parachute size- 270, 2 liter bottle,

air pressure- 70 psi

8. Making a model or prototype

In the space below, document (using digital pictures) your construction of the model/prototype. Be sure to include a picture of the final model/prototype.

9. Testing and Evaluating the Design, using specifications

The biggest problem I faced was trying to make the parachute deploy. I continuously kept changing the size of the tube and the amount of clay. After finally making the design I tested it out and got about 7.05 second, the parachute still didn't deploy.

10.Refining the Design

The weight of the rocket probably could have been lowered to a certain point to make it lighter. This would allow it to fall slower. I could make the tube bigger so that the parachute could actually deploy when it is launched.

11. Creating or Making It

The rocket would actually have to function and be able to launch. If pieces fell off, there should be extra pieces so you fix your rocket. A paint set might be added so you could paint your own design. Directions to build the rocket would be included.

12.Communicating processes and results

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