Water Rockets

Bulletin Board

Visit the bulletin board first. It is for Bryan's Tyndall STEM class. User names and passwords will be handed out in class. If you are in the class I lead then I have already created accounts for each of you. Send me an email address and I will send you the password.


Before you send an email, you must tell your parents about this web site and this bulletin board. They should be aware of the internet sites your visit. If they want an account so they can follow along then ask them to register and I will activate their account.

Very Important! See the above note.

Reference Sites

I have searched many times for water rockets and information about how they work. Many of the sites and papers are for college level physics and too complex for me. The list below contains some of the sites that I prefer. More will be added as our class continues.

At this writing the most useful document for me is listed first. The full title is: Iterative Predictors of Water Rocket Flight Events
The second link appears to be the parent site. It is mostly in German with many sections in English. There are many good articles, but many are quite advanced.

During our meeting on 12 December, we launched a water rocket several times. While we made no scientific measurements, we discovered that the ideal amount of water is about 1/2 full. In this series of web pages and lessons will will discover some of the things that control how the water rocket flies and what determines how fast and how high it flies.

Our first rocket was a simple store purchased one. It uses a simple plug to hold in the water and air until some pressure is reached. At that point, the pressure forces the plug, called a bung, out and the rocket launches. There is little control over when it launches and consequently, little control over the air pressure at launch.

The next set of links are to some discussions and tutorials on building a better launch mechanism. Students may wish to get their parents involved and build a launch platform. As I learn more I will write more. Meanwhile, do some searches of your own with phrases like: water rocket release and water rocket launch.

The NASA document is not real clear about what holds the rocket in place while presurizing it. Part 11, the Mending Plates supply the downward force to keep the rocket pressed onto the bung.

We begin with the basic characteristics of the water rocket: its mass. Visit this web page and start there: water_rocket_mass.htm page.

At this writing I have created the pages for calculating the Thrust and the Acceleration of our water rocket.

Dec 2014
Bryan Kelly
send comments to: on line at bkelly dot ws