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Transcript of O-Wing Experiment
The O-Wing glider (also known as the hoop or ring glider) is a glider that instead of wings to keep it in the air, it has rings.
There are many different designs for the O-Wing glider, but the most common design consists of two different sized rings made from paper, which are fixed to a plastic drinking straw (fuselage), the smaller ring at the front of the straw and the larger at the back.
Other designs of the O-Wing use cardboard instead of paper for more steady wings. Some designs have a weight, such as a paperclip, attached to the front of the glider to improve flight. Different O-Wing glider designs also vary in the number of rings they have, the ring size (ratio of large to small ring) and the length of the fuselage (plastic straw).
Some O-Wing glider designs are very different to the most common design. One of these designs is made by taking a piece of paper and folding one end over multiple times until half the paper has been folded. The paper is then rolled into a ring/cylindrical shape and is held in shape by tucking the 2 ends of the folded edge together.
Here is a short video on how to make this type of O-Wing glider...
How the O-Wing glider flies...
The O-Wing glider flies because its rings act as wings. The curved surface of the O-Wing glider’s rings causes the air above and below the loops to have a difference in pressure, which creates lift, the upward force that keeps the glider in the air. The thrust is the force which pushes the glider forward, and is provided when the glider is thrown.
By Taylor Harrington
9 Science Red
Some elaborate O-Wing designs...
Museum of Science. (2013). Hoop Glider Engineering. Available from: <http://legacy.mos.org/discoverycenter/aotm/2013/02> [last accessed 7/8/2013].
Moorman, R. (2004). The “O-Wing” Experiment. Available from: <http://www.abc.net.au/science/surfingscientist/pdf/lesson_plan06.pdf> [accessed 7/8/2013].
Childrens Museum of Houston. (2012). Hoop Glider. Available from: <http://www.instructables.com/id/Hoop-Glider/step7/The-Launch/> [accessed 10/8/2013].
Anon. (2012). 12 Paper Aircraft - 8 - Annular/Ring Wing. Available from: < [accessed 10/8/2013].
Independent and dependent variables:
The length of the fuselage (plastic straw) is the independent variable in this experiment as it is the variable that I am changing.
The dependent variable is the flight time of the O-Wing glider (how long it stays in the air), as this variable is affected by the independent variable (the fuselage length) and it is the variable being measured.
To test the effect different fuselage lengths have on the flight time of an O-Wing glider.
The flight time of the glider will increase as the length of the fuselage increases.
1) 5 identical drinking straws were measured with a ruler and cut with scissors to lengths of 10cm, 12cm, 14cm, 16cm and 18cm, to make the fuselages of the gliders.
2) A ruler and pencil were used to mark out measurements, and scissors were used to cut 10 strips of paper, each 1.5cm in width. 5 of these strips were cut to 20cm in length and 5 strips were cut to 29cm in length. 1cm of glue was applied to one end of each strip, and each strip was bent and fastened with the glue into a ring shape.
3) To finish the construction of the glider, 1 small ring and 1 large ring were attached at a perpendicular angle to either end of each drinking straw and were held in place with a strip of sticky tape.
4) Once construction of the gliders was complete, the glider with the 10cm fuselage was thrown from a height of 1.5m. Its flight time was carefully recorded with a stopwatch. This was repeated five times for reliability, and the flight times were recorded for each flight.
5) Step 4 was repeated for all the gliders of different fuselage lengths.
Flight Times of O-wing Gliders
Average Flight Time of O-wing Gliders
The flight time of the o-wing gliders does increase as the fuselage length increases, as stated in the hypothesis, but once the fuselage length gets longer than 14cm, the flight time starts to decrease.
My results differed from my hypothesis as, even though the flight time did increase when the fuselage length increases, the flight time started to decrease once the fuselage length got longer than 14cm. This is because up until it reached 14cm, the longer fuselage helps the glider to fly, therefore increasing the flight time, but once it becomes longer than 14cm, the fuselage becomes too heavy and weighs the glider down, therefore decreasing the flight time.
One of the problems I encountered while conducting my experiment was objects lying in the flight path of my gliders. The pool fence and the large flower pot interfered with some of my results as the gliders would run into them if they flew to far to the right, cutting their flight time short. I overcame this problem by throwing the gliders more towards the left. I also had difficulty getting my gliders to not fall straight to the ground, turn and fly backwards or veer off to one side and crash. These problems were solved by slightly adjusting the angle of the rings on all my gliders in order to provide more lift and to help them fly straight. I also adjusted the way I threw my gliders; at first I was throwing them with to much force and they were falling straight to the ground, so I through them with a slower and more gentle motion, which helped them to glide better.
There are several factors in my testing that had an impact on the validity of my experiment. Since my experiment was conducted outside, the flight of my gliders may have been also been affected by wind and other environmental factors, even though it was a very still day with little wind. Human error may have also had an impact on my results, as the amount of force I used to through each glider and the angle at which I threw them may have varied slightly between each flight. The timing may have been inaccurate also, as I may have been slightly early or late in starting and stopping the stopwatch when timing each gliders flight time. The flights of my gliders may have been affected by the shape of the rings, as the paper bent slightly out of shape when the glider landed, or when the gliders were left lying on the table.
If I were to conduct this experiment again, I would conduct it in a larger area clear of any obstacles that might interfere with the flight of the gliders. I would also conduct it indoors, so the flight of the gliders could not be affected by things such as wind. As well as this, I would use cardboard to construct my gliders wings, as that would be more stable than paper and would not bend out of shape as easily.
The purpose of my experiment is to test the effect different fuselage lengths have on the flight time of an o-wing glider. To do this, I will have to make several gliders, each with different fuselage lengths. I will then have to fly them, time their flights, and compare the flight times of all the gliders.
The experimental controls in my experiment are: the ring size on all the gliders, the ratio of front and back ring, the width of the rings, the materials used on all parts of the glider, the time and location of the flights (ensuring identical environmental and weather conditions), the force with which the gliders were thrown, the angle they were thrown at and the height from which the gliders were thrown from.
Cutting the straws and paper when making the fuselage and rings for the gliders is a hazard as the scissors may be sharp and could injure your hands. This risk can be reduced by using the scissors in a place with few distractions and where you can concentrate on using the scissors carefully.
Throwing the gliders is a hazard as there is a risk of them hitting someone, which may be dangerous if the gliders hit them in the eye. This risk can be controlled by making sure there is no one in the area where the gliders are being thrown, and by wearing safety glasses.
Ensuring validity and reliability:
Validity was ensured by having only one independent variable (the fuselage length), only measuring one dependent variable (the flight time), and by making sure all the other variables were the same for each flight.
Reliability was ensured by repeated testing. Each glider was thrown 5 times and the flight time was recorded for each one.
Video of how my experiment was conducted:
My experiment findings about fuselage length can be applied in real life when designing and building aircraft. Aircraft designers need to make sure that the fuselage of the aircraft is made to best balance drag and weight with lift and thrust while not being too heavy. My experiment shows that when designing the fuselage of an aircraft, careful consideration must be taken into the length of the fuselage, so it long enough to balance the craft and help it to fly effectively, while not being so long that it becomes too heavy and overbalances the aircraft or weighs it down.
(Hover mouse over video to bring up the play button)