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Designing an Efficient Balloon Car

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

In creating our balloon car, we used many physics principals to change the designs until we had a well performing car.   The different principals helped us to change certain aspects of our car so that every part worked well together.   The principal that with every action there is an equal and opposite reaction is what we used for the thrust of our car.  We based our wheels on what ones caused the least friction.  We used the fact that vertical motion has no affect on horizontal motion to determine how to orient our balloon on the car.  These different pieces of the car working together help it perform well.  

        For the thrust of our car, we used a balloon attached to a PVC pipe.

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Middle

        Friction between the wheels and the ground was a big concern.  We tried a bunch of different wheels to see which ones rolled the best.  We settled on using CDs for the wheels since they had enough friction that they could grip the ground, but not too much that it slowed the car down.  We also had to worry about the friction of the axles spinning.  When we would have the wheels spinning on the ends of a stationary axle, they slowed down too easily.  We then used a dowel rod through a straw so that the wheels would spin at the same time.

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Conclusion

        Putting all these different aspects together helped us to build an effective car.  For the thrust, we used Newton’s Third Law to design it.  We tested our wheels based on how much friction was created.  Because vertical motion has no affect on the horizontal motion, we knew all the thrust had to be horizontal, so we knew how to orient our balloon on the car.  The principles of physics helped us to build an efficient balloon car that has the speed and stamina desired.

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This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Forces and Motion section.

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