Aerodynamics

Aerodynamics is a big word that simply means the way air moves around things. There are different forces that help to move an object through the air. The first to consider is weight. Everything on Earth has a weight and is pulled down by gravity. In order for an object to fly it has to push in the opposite direction of gravity. Do you think a kite would need a strong push? How about a jumbo jet? When designing your rocket think about it’s weight. Do you want a thick rocket, which will be heavier? Or a thin rocket, which is lighter?

The next force to consider is lift. Picture in your mind lifting a heavy box off the floor. Is it easy? No, it isn’t! You need to use the strength you have in your legs and force the box up against gravity. When we launch our rockets we will use pressured air to send them flying through the sky. The fins you design for your rocket will help it glide.

Drag, or the force that tries to slow something down, is your next consideration. Picture yourself running to first base. Are you moving easily? Now, picture yourself running to first base with a parachute attached to your back. What will happen to you?  When designing your rockets consider this. The shape of an object matters. Round surfaces have less drag than flat ones. What type of nose do you want for your rocket? Are you going to carve anything into the side of your rocket or keep a smooth surface?

Now engineers, the decision is up to you! Picture in your mind what you want your rocket to look like and let’s make it.

 

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