Extreme Science: Pop Bottle Water Rocket - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

EXTREME SCIENCE

Extreme Science: Pop Bottle Water Rocket

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What you will need:

  1. 20” piece of ½” PVC pipe
  2. (1) # 11 “O” ring
  3. (2) small and 12-15 medium Zip Ties
  4. Hot glue gun
  5. (2) 1 liter pop bottles
  6. Scissors
  7. Drill
  8. (1) ¾” 4 way PVC connector
  9. (1) ½” PVC 90 degree connector
  10. (1) ½” end cap
  11. (1) tire valve stem
  12. Tire pump
  13. String (about 10 feet in length)
  14. (1) 1” coupler
  15. (1) 1 ¼” coupler
  16. File or Dremel tool
  17. 80” of ¾” PVC pipe
  18. (4) 45 degree ¾” PVC fittings
  19. (2) small eye bolts
  20. (1) large eye bolt (about 4 “ in length
  21. Adult supervision
Procedure:

1) Cut a groove on your 20” length piece of ½” PVC pipe approximately 9” from one end. This will end up being the top of your launch pad. This groove should be just wide enough for the “O” ring to fit into (approximately 1/8” wide). The groove should be just less than 1/8” deep (approximately 3/32” deep). I found it was easiest to set up my router table with a small 1/8” bit and set the fence so that I could lay the PVC pipe against the fence and “roll” it against the bit.




2) Stretch “O” ring over end of PVC pipe and slide it down into your groove. The outer edge of the “O” ring should protrude out approximately .010” farther than the side of the PVC pipe. Hint: a Piece of paper is typically about .008”




3) Make sure that a 1 liter pop bottle will fit over the PVC pipe far enough that the inside of the mouth of your bottle forms a seal over the “O” ring. Measure the distance between the “O” ring and the “over” the lip on the pop bottle. This should be just under ½”




4) Cut approximately 12 “Zip Ties” down to about 3 ½” in length leaving the “head” on the Zip Tie as shown. Place your Zip Ties around the PVC pipe with the heads facing inwards as shown so that they completely surround the outer edge of your pipe. Synch a couple of smaller Zip Ties around the base of them to hold them in place as shown. The inside edge of the head of the Zip Ties should be about 3/8” from the “O” ring so that they will just fit OVER the lip of the bottle and hold it tight over the “O” ring.






5) Using a hot glue gun, generously cover the lower end of the Zip Ties to ensure that they cannot slide along PVC pipe. Cover the lower end of the Zip Ties with a 1” coupler leaving the end of the coupler approximately 1” from the “O” ring. Fill the coupler with hot glue (from both ends) to keep it in place.




6) Cut about 4” from the center of a spare 1 liter or smaller pop bottle. Discard top and bottom ends of the bottle. This center piece will act as your spring.




7) Cut two round holes in opposite sides of your “spring.” One hole (lower) should be about 1 ½” in diameter and the other hole (upper) Should be about 1 ¾” in diameter.




8) Slide the spring up over the 1”coupler making sure that the larger (1 ¾”) hole is towards the top. The larger hole should slide over the 1” coupler that is glued in place and the smaller hole should come to a rest at the base of the coupler. Use your hot glue gun to glue the bottom of the spring to the coupler and to the center PVC pipe. DO NOT glue the top of the spring. The top of the spring should easily slide up and down over the coupler that is glued in place.




9) Drill two small holes approximately ¼” from the end of the 1 ¼” coupler (one on each side) and thread your two eye bolts through making sure that they DO NOT come through on the inside of the coupler. You will also need to use a file or Dremel tool to remove the ridge inside of this coupler. It “will” work without removing the ridge but it is well worth the time to remove it as you will find that you have a lot smoother action when you launch your water rocket.



10) Slide the 1 ¼” coupler down over the top of your PVC pipe so that the eye bolts are towards the bottom as shown. This coupler should just fit over the Zip Ties and come to a rest on top of your spring.




11) Drill a 7/8” hole in the center of your ½” “4 way” connector as shown.



12) Slide the base of your PVC pipe into this hole and bring the “4 way” connector all the way up to the base of your spring. Use hot glue to secure it in place as shown.



13) Drill a hole in the center of the ½” end cap and thread your tire valve stem through this hole. It is best to use a valve stem that has a nut that you can also attach from the inside of the end cap just to make sure that it is secure under pressure. Attach the end cap to the ½” 90 degree fitting using PVC glue. Attach the other end of the ½” 90 degree PVC fitting to the bottom of your PVC pipe using PVC glue as shown.



14) The (4) legs are all made out of ¾” PVC pipe. Press one 5” piece of PVC pipe into one end of a 45 degree connector. Press the 15” piece of PVC pipe into the other end of the 45 degree connector. Repeat this process for each of the 4 legs. Now insert the other end of the 5” piece into each of the holes of the 4 way connector on your launch pad. Do not glue these leg pieces as this will allow you to adjust them so that you can adjust the angle of the launch of your rocket.



15) Once you have your launch pad set up, attach a 14” string to the two eye bolts. Now, tie a long string to the center of the 14” string and run it through a large eye bolt that you have pressed into the lawn. When you pull this string, it should pull the 1 ¼” coupler down and release your pop bottle rocket into the air. Attach an air pump to the tire valve. Fill up a one liter bottle half way full of water, then turn it upside down and slide it down over the top of the PVC pipe. Push the 1 ¼” coupler down to allow the pop bottle to slide down over the “O” ring and allow the Zip Ties to lock over the edge of the lip on the bottle. Pull the 1 ¼” coupler back up over the bottle. This will keep the Zip Ties pressed tightly over the lip which will keep your pop bottle from launching until you pull the string. Carefully pump your rocket to about 75 Lbs./in. DO NOT over pressurize your bottle. They WILL explode if you put too much air into them and can be VERY dangerous. After ensuring that everyone is at a safe distance and your pop bottle rocket is aimed in a safe direction, gently pull the string and the bottle should launch as soon as the large coupler moves far enough for the Zip Ties to release your rocket.

Push the large coupler down in order to load your rocket. Pull it back up over the lip of the bottle to lock it in place.



What is going on?

Newton's third law of action states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. By pressurizing the contents of the bottle, once the air and water are released, they are forced out through the small opening at the base of your pop bottle rocket. As the water is being forced out of the mouth of the bottle downward, it is causing the bottle to be pushed high up into the air.

Try this:

What do you think would happen if you did not fill the bottle half way full of water? Would the rocket still be launched into the air or would all of the air just be pushed out so quickly that it wouldn't really launch the bottle? If it does still launch the bottle, will it go a=farther with only having air in it or will it go farther with ½ air and ½ water? Why?

Radical Rick
Extreme Science
www.ExtremeScienceFun.com
509-892-7621


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