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How to make Paper Rocket and other paper airplanes - Alex's Paper Airplane

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Paper Rocket

Paper Rocket main image

You're right this is not a paper airplane either but is supremely simple to make and has some very interesting science behind it. This was shown to me by a Cambridge (UK) Physics lecturer so must be a great paper airplane (kinda).

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Paper Rocket Folding Instructions

  • DIG. 1 diagram

    Cut out the shape shown in DIG. 1 from lightweight cardboard, the kind used in cereal boxes (i.e. one side is laminated). This shape should be about 1 inch long.

Paper Rocket Flying

Place the rocket on the surface of a sink full of pure water (there must be no soap in the water so rinse the sink out once first). Now drip some washing up liquid into the hole in the center of the rocket cut out. The rocket should shoot across the water.

This is showing the effect of surface tension. At the back of the rocket where the washing up liquid exudes the surface tension becomes zero but it is still high elsewhere around the rocket. Therefore the resultant force propels the rocket forward. The sink will have to be emptied and refilled before you do this again. This is bad for the environment in the amount of water you use so don't do this too may times.