Exploratorium
Bottle Blast-Off!
Building a Rocket Launcher
 

You can build a rocket launcher from an old plastic soda bottle.


What Do I Need?

2-liter plastic bottle (only one is required for each launcher, but we strongly recommend that you make two launchers and have a couple of extra soda bottles on hand in case one fails)
1 meter (about 3 feet) of clear flexible vinyl tubing with 1/2 inch inner diameter and 5/8 inch outer diameter (the type of tubing doesn’t matter, as long as you can tape one end to the neck of the soda bottle and the other end to the PVC pipe)
Duct tape
60 cm (about 2 feet) of PVC pipe with 1/2 inch inner diameter

What Do I Do?
Step 1
Remove cap from bottle.

Step 2
Insert about an inch of flexible tubing into the bottle opening. Tape it in place with duct tape. Try to make the connection between the tubing and the bottle airtight.

Step 3Rocket Launcher
Push the PVC pipe against the other end of the flexible tubing. (Don’t try to insert the tubing into the PVC pipe.) Tape the tubing and the PVC pipe together. Again, try to make the connection airtight.


Your finished launcher should look something like this »»

 

 

Next
Launching Rockets

 


For tips on how to use this trick with a class or group, go to the Teacher/Leader
version
 
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