Hooked on Science: Build a rocket

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Build rocket with a few items from around the house.

Materials

* Paper matches

* Straight pin

* Paper clip

* Aluminum foil

* Grill lighter

Instructions

STEP 1: Cut a piece of aluminum foil 1 inch by 2 inches.

STEP 2: Hold the straight pin along one side of a paper match so that the tip of the straight pin touches the match head.

STEP 3: Wrap the aluminum foil tightly around the match head and straight pin. Using your fingernails, crease the aluminum foil along the straight pin. Remove the straight pin.

STEP 4: Bend the paper clip into a shape that will hold the paper match.

STEP 5: Place the paper match into the paper clip launcher. Using the grill lighter, hold a flame directly under the end of the aluminum foil wrapped paper match head, and observe.

Explanation

The matchstick rocket demonstrates Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion. The Third Law of Motion states that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. As the matchstick rocket burns, gases and tiny particles are forced out of the small hole created by the straight pin. These gases and particles push down. The opposite and equal reaction causes the matchstick rocket to launch into the air.

Jason Lindsey is a science outreach educator with Hooked on Science. Check out his website www.hookedonscience.org for webcasts and experiments.

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