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The Affect of Swept-Tapered Fins on a Rocket

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Bread McMuffin

on 6 May 2014

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Transcript of The Affect of Swept-Tapered Fins on a Rocket

The Affect of Swept-Tapered Fins on a Rocket
Does the shape of the fins on a straw rocket affect the distance the rocket flies?
For our experiment, we decided to do it on the shape of the fins. The only starting problem was that we needed to choose the best possible shape. This was hard, but soon, we found the shape we wanted, swept-tapered fins (shown left). To thank for this, we have the articles that we read. They not only gave us the fact that swept-tapered fins were the best, but also, what to write in our hypothesis.
If we change the fin shape of our rocket, then the rocket with the steepest fins will go the farthest because, according to Michael Banks, "an angled (swept-tapered) fin is a more elliptical fin shape." Moreover, according to Joe Gilbert, "a more aerodynamic (steeper shape, able to move through air better) shape will generally perform better, that is, it will fly higher and longer."
INDEPENDENT: Shape of the fins,
length of straw

DEPENDENT: Distance rocket travels (meters)

CONTROL: Shape of cone, weight of cone, material of rocket, material of fins,
shape of rocket
Materials / Procedure

Clay (for cone)
Straw (used as rocket body)
Paper (for fins)
Control Rocket
Pen and paper
(To record and compare data)

Mostly, we observed the rocket's flight patterns. However, sometimes we made different types of observations. We noticed that sometimes the distance of the launch decreased each time, especially on the control rocket. We predict this happened because of damage to the cone or fins on each landing. This must have affected how the rocket launched and how far it traveled negatively.
Despite what we thought, the steepest swept-tapered fins did not go the farthest, refuting our hypothesis. Why we believe this happened, is that although steepest is the most aerodynamic, it was so steep, it was almost a ninety-degree angle. This angle was so small, that it didn't balance the rocket out. This means the fins were so small, they hardly did much to keep the rocket moving.
Shearer, Deborah A., and Gregory L. Vogt. "Apllying Newton's Laws." Trans. Array Rockets Educator Guide. Maury Solomon NASA Education, 2011. 40-41, 43. Web. 17 Oct. <http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/topnav/materials/listbytype/Rockets.html>.
Banks, Micheal. Countdown The Complete Guide to Model Rocketry. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: TAB Books Inc.. 1985. 66-68, 138-140. Print.

1. Create swept-tapered fins
2. Create rest of rocket,
according to control
3. Launch control three times at 30 degree angle
4. Record data
5. Launch design three times at same trajectory
6. Record data
7. Edit fins, make them steeper
8. Test edited rocket three times
9. Record data
10. Edit fins, make them as steep
as possible
11. Test edited rocket three times
12. Record data
13. Compare and chart data
By Eli Thompson and Louise Wagenseil
There were only couple minor problems with our experiment. These problems had to do with the scaling and technology of real rockets. These rockets were to test how real rockets would fly, but making an actual scale model of a real rocket using straw, clay and paper, is obviously no substitute for the strong metals used in real rocket ships.
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