To launch a simple rocket, a person releases the opening of a balloon, which is then propelled somewhat randomly by the escape of the air which creates thrust. The flight altitude amounts to some metres. The balloon rocket can be used easily to demonstrate simple physics, namely Newton’s third law.
A common variant of the balloon rocket consists in adding other components such as a string, a drinking straw and adhesive tape to the balloon itself. The string is threaded through the straw and is attached at both ends to objects of some kind, such as a doorknob on one end and a chair on the other. The straw is then taped to the side of the air-filled balloon, with the open end of the balloon touching one of the objects. When the balloon is released, the thrust from the opening propels it along the length of the string. Alternatively, a balloon rocket car can be built.
The balloon can also be filled with gases other than air, with similar results.
- NASA Office of Education. Rockets: A Teacher’s Guide with Activities in Science, Mathematics, and Technology. EG-1999-06-108-HQ
- Zimmerman Jones, Andrew. "Collect your materials for the rocket balloon". How to Create a Rocket Balloon. About:Physics. Retrieved 2007-04-29.
- Summer Science Newsletter: Building a balloon rocket car
- NasaQuest: Teacher Information on balloon rockets
- YesMag: Balloon rockets
- Science Museum of Minnesota: Rocket
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