Launch of a Soda-Bottle Rocket

This photograph is of me launching a bottle rocket at Musqueam Park near my home in Vancouver, BC. A bottle rocket consists of a two litre soda pop bottle partially filled with water and held upside down in a launching mechanism. Air is then pumped into the bottle with a bicycle pump. When the pressure reads 700 Kpa or more the bottle is released from the launcher. As water is ejected from it, the bottle accelerates upward at 100 g, sometimes reaching over 50 m altitude. A long string is used to activate the launch mechanism in order to keep the launch person dry. The experiment illustrates Newton's second law, Bernouilli's Eqn. and the Gas Laws. The water from the bottle forms a "solid" round "shaft"; this phenomenon lasts only a few milliseconds. As the water (0.7 litres) is exhausted, a puff of mist is seen at the end of the water column. At this instant the bottle is out of the picture. The launcher was designed and built by myself, for UBC's Physics Outreach program, where the rocket experiment is shown to elementary and high school students.

George Babinger

Category 2 (Open)

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