About two weeks ago, my son and I had a lock-in at the Knoxville Community Center (the old Gertrude Case Elementary School). Matt, my son, is in scouts now and they held their annual bottlerocket event. A great night of movies and games was followed up by a large breakfast and the launching of homemade bottlerockets. Being new to the whole bottlerocket thing, I slopped a few together not really sure if what I was doing was the slightest bit correct. I had briefly seen the contraption pictured below and still wasn't sure about proper design. I did my best for Matt and even spray painted them.
Jason Gehman, the man pictured below on the far right, put about a week's worth of hours into this amazing machine. Mechanical arms clamp above the ring just under the screw-cap. Water is then pumped into the bottle. Air from a compressor is then pushed above the water creating some mighty forces that want to get out.
After the kids count down from five, WHOOOOSHHHHH! The clamps are released and the air wants out. The best part is that the young scouts get to control the whole thing.
My first rocket failed!. Once the air pressure was applied, water shot out from the many holes created by the hot glue. A novice move indeed! Matt was a bit confused as it wouldn't take off and even more sad that his dad was inept. I was very concerned that I was about to let the boy down. The kind of let-down that he'd remember on his high school graduation day. Luckily, I had a second rocket that I only used duct tape on.
It launched about 40 to 50 ft into the air. Poor design had it curving about 30 ft off the ground (as seen above). It wasn't the best rocket there, but it worked. Some of the rockets just about left our sight. They were designed beautifully and went hundreds of feet in the air. Impressive to say the least.
After the first round of launching, Mr. Gehman turned up the air pressure substaintially. Some didn't survive. This lucky shot caught the explosion of one that wasn't so lucky. You can see the plastic shrapnel heading toward the innocent bystanders. Yikes!
It was an awesome day! AWESOME!!!!!!