Bottle Rocket

This experiment demonstrates how a build up in pressure can launch a rocket.

As we pump air through the water the pressure inside the bottle builds up until the force of the air pushing on the water is enough to push the cork out of the end of the bottle. The water rushes out of the bottle in one direction whilst the bottle pushes back in the other. This results in the bottle shooting upwards.

Bottle rocket

 

What you need

  • an empty plastic bottle
  • cardboard made into a cone and  4 fins
  • a cork
  • a pump with a needle adaptor
  • water

Instructions

  • Push the needle adaptor of the pump through the cork, it needs to go all the way through so you might have to trim the cork a little bit.
  • Decorate the bottle with the cone and fins.
  • Fill the bottle one quarter full of water and push the cork in tightly.
  • Take the bottle outside  and connect the pump to the needle adaptor. Ours wouldn’t stand up on the fins so we rested it on a table, but if you make some strong fins it should stand up by itself.
  • Pump air into the bottle, making sure all spectators stand back, the bottle will lift off with force after a few seconds.

 

 

Warning!

Please make sure an adult is around as the rocket takes off very suddenly and forcefully as you can see in this video clip. Do not approach the rocket once you have started pumping even if it looks like nothing is happening.

The Science bit

Space rockets work in a similar way to the bottle, but instead of squirting water they burn fuel to make a powerful jet of hot gas. The force of the gas  downwards pushes the rocket upwards.

Isaac Newton worked out the three laws of motion which describe how all objects move. The third law says:

‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’

This is demonstrated by the bottle rocket.

 

Don’t forget you can follow Science Sparks on Pinterest and Facebook.

 Bottle rocket

 

Author: Emma Vanstone

Science Sparks, is a site dedicated to making Science fun for kids. I’d love you to follow me on my Google Profile+.

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29 Comments

  1. What a lovely project! We’ll give it a go too, thanks for sharing:)

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  2. This is so fun! I was out searching for kid’s crafts to feature on Fun Family Crafts, a site similar to Craftgawker (but kid’s crafts only) when I came across this. I would love it if you would submit it! http://funfamilycrafts.com

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  3. Oh WOW Emma and Kerry this is AWESOME!!! We will definitely be trying this amazing experiment out …. all for the children’s benefit of course (cough, cough).
    Donna :) :)

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  4. This is so much fun, I used to do it with my 5th grade class. I’d love for you to stop by http://www.laughloveandcraft.com and link up to my Share the Wealth Wednesday Link Party! I’m your newest follower!

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    • Thank you. We are very excited by it, and can’t wait to add to our growing collection of experiments!

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    • It was brilliant! I’m so glad you liked it. :-)

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    • It was quite scary! We were lucky it didn’t go out of the garden! x

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  5. That looks awesome. I learned the hard way not to go near projects like that after I did……. That was an unpleasant chemical burn and took a few days to stop stinging.

    I’ll have to see if we have a hand pump anywhere.

    Post a Reply
    • ouch, sounds painful! The rocket was fantastic though.

      Post a Reply
  6. The little blue cone makes the rocket look so much more exciting!!!

    This is a great experiment that I think any kid would enjoy! Thanks for sharing with Learning Laboratory at Mama Smiles :)

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    • its great and so easy!

      Post a Reply
    • Thank you, my children thought it was fantastic

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  7. Love love love this experiment! Such fun! And love the Science Sparks look!

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty! Great to see you there!

    Maggy & Alissa

    Post a Reply
  8. This looks so much fun I can remember making them with my physics class. J would also love it. I love the new look to science sparks.

    Thank you for linking up to Tuesday Tots

    Post a Reply
    • oh no. what happened?

      Post a Reply
    • oh wow, thank you.

      Post a Reply

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