mighty physics in action

Join us for a rocket showdown to see who can fly the farthest!

Build a rocket, show up, and Mr. Darlington's physics classes will supply the launcher, the rocket fuel (compressed air and water), and tell you how far your rocket can fly.


how do i build a rocket? remember the 5 t's

Two liter soda bottle, two hundred and fifty grams, top-heavy, three fins, and tough.

Two liter soda bottle: IMPORTANT! Bottles must have a 'regular' sized flange. Some bottle manufactures make bottles with oversized flanges - THESE WILL NOT FIT THE LAUNCHER! If you compare a few brands on the shelf, you'll notice the larger sized flange - don't buy it, get the 'standard' size. Other than this stipulation, any two liter will do.

Top heavy: High flyers will have most of the rocket mass concentrated as close to the tip of the nose cone as possible. Moreover, if the nose cone isn't balanced, the rocket will hook and not fly straight. CAUTION: Do not use anything for mass that could be projected as shrapnel in the event that a rocket bursts on the launcher. Screws, nails, rocks, marbles, pebbles, nuts, bolts will not be permitted. Use innocuous building materials such as clay or play-dough.

Tough: Rockets have been known to travel well over 100 meters at speeds of 50 meters per second. They must be durable to survive multiple launches. Many rockets have had an early exit from competition because they didn't hold up.

Two hundred and fifty grams (just over half a pound): The ideal rocket is not too heavy and not too light - around 250 grams is just right.

Three fins: While three is the ideal number, rockets with four have also done well. Make fins, not wings. Smaller fins are better. Place them towards the back of the fuselage, pointed away from the bottle opening where the fuel comes out.

Email Mr. Darlington and ask for help! kjdarlington at galway csd dot org. Happy building!