Hawai'i Space Grant Consortium, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, 1996

Alka Rockets
by Dale Olive
Purpose

Design a paper rocket propelled by Alka-Seltzer® and water to demonstrate Newton's third law of motion.

Key Words

rocketry

launch

pressure

For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.

Materials

index card (5 x 8 in.)

empty, film canister with lid that snaps inside

markers, crayons, or

colored pencils

tape

sizzors

Alka-Seltzer® tablets

water

metric tape measure or meter sticks

Procedure
1.
Decorate the index card. This will form the body of your rocket.

2.
Roll the index card into an 8-inch-tall tube. Slide an empty, film canister into the tube so that the canister opens at one end of the tube. Securely tape the paper tube to the canister. You do not want these two parts to separate.

3.
Now tape the 8-inch-long seam of the paper tube.

4.
Cut two triangular, paper fins and tape them onto the rocket.

5.
What is the function of the rocket fins?

6.
Make a small paper cone and tape it to the top ofthe rocket if you would like a nose cone.

7.
What is the function of the nose cone?

8.
Hold the rocket upside down and add water to the canister to one-quarter full.

9.
Add half a tablet of Alka-Seltzer® to the film canister and quickly snap on the lid.

10.
Place the rocket on the ground, lid down. Stand back and count down while you are waiting for launch!

Observations

11.
How high did the rocket go?

12.
What happened when the Alka-Seltzer® was added to the water?

13.
What action happened inside the film canister?

14.
What was the reaction of the rocket?

15.
Experiment using different amounts of water or Alka-Seltzer® to see how it affects the height of the rocket.

16.
Experiment to see how the weight of the rocket affects the height it travels keeping the amount of water and Alka-Seltzer® constant each time.

Interpretations
17.
What is the best combination of Alka-Seltzer® and water to produce the maximum launch height? What is your evidence?

Extensions
1.
Design and launch a rocket powered by two, three or more film canisters.

2.
Design and launch a rocket that launches in two stages.



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