Hovercrafts are really interesting as they move on top of a layer of air. The layer of air reduces friction allowing the hovercraft to move quickly over both land and sea. We’ve been learning about friction recently, which is quite a difficult topic to grasp, but a hovercraft is a useful demonstration.
You will need:
- A CD you don’t need. We actually used the plastic cover from a pack of CDs which also worked well.
- A pop up lid from a drinks bottle
- Take the lid off the drinks bottle. Discard the plastic cover cap and ensure the push down mechanism is down.
- Put superglue around the bottom rim of the lid and stick to the centre of the CD over the hole. Make sure there are no holes for air to escape through.
- Blow up a balloon, don’t let our the air. We used a hair clip to hold it in place.
- Place the balloon over the pop up.
- Lift the pop up part and let go off the balloon.
Your Hovercraft should shoot across the surface as the air is forced out the bottom.
Can you try the Hovercraft on different surfaces? What happens?
What is Friction
When two surfaces rub against each other, the force between them is friction. Friction can slow you down if you’re trying to move. Generally the rougher the surface the more friction there is. Real Hovercrafts use a powerful fan to pump air underneath themselves. Hovercrafts can travel over air and water as they move on top of a layer of air. Our balloon hovercraft reduces friction by blowing air from the balloon between the CD and surface to hold them apart.
Other Friction Activities