Aerospace Engineering & Honors Physics
06 Nov 2018

Aerospace Engineering & Honors Physics Classes Launch into Rocket Engines & Air Cannons

Rocket Engine Characterization

Aerospace Engineering | Model Rocket Engine Characterization

Aerospace Engineering students test fired a number of different rocket engines on a testing stand last week.  The purpose of the controlled firing is to gather data regarding the engine force produced over its burn time.  Using this information, each group will produce an engineering specification document for their engine. These engineering “spec” sheets will be used by the students during future rocket flights to predict rocket velocity, acceleration, and maximum altitude.  These predictions will be compared against actual values recorded by a computer sent aloft on their rockets.

Air Cannon Projectiles

Honors Physics | Projectile Motion | Air Cannons

As an investigation into the difficulty faced by army infantry, our Honors Physics class recreated battlefield calculations and tried their hand at landing artillery projectiles (tennis balls) on a target.  Students have been lectured on the physics of objects projected at an angle and the mathematics involved in determining a projectiles range, max trajectory height, initial trajectory velocity, and angle of projection.  The students used the air cannons to launch tennis balls and measured the aspects of the launch that they were capable of measuring and calculated those parameters that are not easy to measure with the tools at their disposal.  Then, using these parameters, they attempted to land a tennis ball on a target in the field by calculating the necessary launch parameters.