Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Making a Model Rocket

I have recently gotten very interested in rocketry. I think it is a super cool science that almost anyone can appreciate, I mean who doesn't like rockets? Now, I could just go out and buy some Estes rockets and launch those, that wouldn't be too hard, but I am a little weird, I want to build my own rockets. I have discovered that this is a much more difficult task, I have yet to actually get a rocket off the launch pad and I have tried several times.

Yesterday I came the closest I ever have to getting a rocket airborne. Unfortunately, I forgot to take any pictures, but the rocket is basically made out of  card stock and a few different types of glue. It is about a foot high and a little less than an inch in diameter. The rocket propellant is a potassium nitrate sugar mix. When I actually get a successful launch I will post more information on the making of the rocket. With this rocket I was able to successfully light the motor, but the propellant burned about 30-40 times too long. I expect this is because I directly melted the sugar and potassium nitrate instead of dissolving them in water first. By doing this I caramelized the sugar, which I have heard can seriously decrease performance. The one thing that is confusing me is the burn test I did before hand that had the fuel burning at about 12s/inch. I looked burn rates up and this is just a little above average, so I don't quite know what went wrong. However, I plan to make up another batch of propellant using the water method and hopefully that will work.

More post will be coming shortly as I continue to work on this project. 

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