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Day 1) Introduction to the Hovercraft Competition

Name _____________________

Goal: Build a hovercraft that goes the farthest along the hallway after being released from a ramp.
Restrictions:
The ability to hover is provided by air pressure from balloons and the forward momentum comes
from sliding down the ramp and/or air from balloons. No other source of energy is allowed.
The hovercraft must slide - it may not roll on wheels.
No lubricants that leave a residue on the floor may be used.
The base must be made from easy to find objects and not cut from special materials like Plexiglas.
Exploring Plexiglas Hovercrafts
We will test a variety of Plexiglas hovercrafts. You will test one several times with a small balloon and
record the best distance you get for it. Then you will test the same hovercraft several times with a large
balloon and record the new best distance. Be sure to observe how well the other hovercrafts work. Your
task today is to begin to understand what variables result in a large distance not to go the farthest.
1) Keeping Balloon Volume Small
label
d(m)
Highlight the largest distances. What were the dimensions of the hovercrafts that went farthest?
2) Keeping Balloon Volume Large
label
d(m)
Highlight the largest distances. What were the dimensions of the hovercrafts that went farthest?
3) What thickness seems best? What might be wrong with a thicker or thinner disk?

4) What radius seems best? What might be wrong with a larger or smaller radius?

5) What are the advantages of putting more air in the balloons?

6) What are the advantages of putting less air in the balloons?