A mini-rocket that uses water and carbon dioxide as "fuel". (2/26/2006)


I don't remember exactly when I started to build this "rocket". I may guess in the 80's, maybe 1984 or 1987. Later, in the 90's I saw the TV series "The Beakman World" and his rocket. Beakman used a plastic film can. Later, he used a plastic bottle and a air pump.


Materials needed. Here is what you need to make this rocket:


1. A plastic can with an air-sealed cap.
2. Effervescent antiacid tablets.
3. some water.


First, we need to know how "rockets" works.


The principle of the rocket is simple; the newton's third law of motion states "for every action there is an equal opposite reaction". The action is the gas produced by the effervescent when is in contact with water. The gas creates pressure and accumulates until the cap pops out. As the cap have no where to go, the plastic can goes up (the opposite reaction) because the gas pushes it.


Here is the steps to build your rocket:


1. Remove the Silica gel from the cap and discard it. Do not touch it, do not eat it, do not do anything with it. If fact, DO NOT BUILD THIS PROJECT.


2. Take a piece of the effervescent table and put it in the cap. Be sure the piece of the tablet doesn't fall when the cap is upside down.


3. Put some water in the plastic can. Do not use too much water because it causes a big mess. The rocket works better just using little water, not even a 1/4" of water.



4. Put the cap and be sure it is sealed, so no air escapes. If the cap is tight, the rocket will fly higher. Now the "rocket" is ready to be launch. To launch it, just put it upside down and wait until it pops. Remember to take it outside.


It takes about 10 to 15 seconds for the launch, so is plenty of time to get away from it. No kids should be close to the rocket when it is ready for lunch. Ooops, I mean: Launch.


The same piece of effervescent table is enough for three or four launchs. If you want to re-use the "rocket", clean it and dry it completely before it go for storage.


Here is another sucessful launch:



I guess lemon juice may work better, but is messy. Film can may work better. Have fun.


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