I report an innovation that provides a compelling demonstration of rocket propulsion, appropriate for students of physics and other physical sciences. An electrical spark is initiated from a distance to cause the deflagration of a combustible vapor mixed with air in a lightweight plastic bottle that is consequently propelled as a rocket by the release of combustion products, i.e., a “whoosh rocket.” My recommendation is that the standard fuel for pedagogical whoosh demonstrations be isopropanol, and the recommended vessel is the 3.8-L high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottle.
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PAPERS| January 01 2017
Spark Ignition of Combustible Vapor in a Plastic Bottle as a Demonstration of Rocket Propulsion
Phys. Teach. 55, 30–33 (2017)
J. R. Mattox; Spark Ignition of Combustible Vapor in a Plastic Bottle as a Demonstration of Rocket Propulsion. Phys. Teach. 1 January 2017; 55 (1): 30–33. https://doi.org/10.1119/1.4972494
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