Paper Airplane Experiments KEN BLACKBURN NCASE Atlanta, GA March 2004
Presentation Overview • Uses of paper airplane experiments • Types of experiments • Examples • Ball vs. airplane • Wind tunnel • Glide tests
Uses for Experiments • Classroom • Visually explain principles of flight • Addresses many requires standards • National, State • Scientific Inquiry, motion & forces, properties & measurement • Science Fair Projects • Youth group (scouting…) activities • Team Building • Fun!!!!!
Types of Experiments • Lift • Glide test – paper airplane vs. the paper ball • Wind tunnel – effect of wing area, airspeed, and wing angle • Drag • Drop test – paper parachute vs. paper ball • Effect of wingspan on drag • Glide tests to compare drag of different paper airplane designs • Stability • Effect of paper clip location on flight stability
Glide Test – Airplane vs. Ball • Principle demonstrated: Lift (force, test) • Procedure • Take 2 sheets of paper – make a paper plane and a paper ball • Give them a gentile toss straight forward, one in the right hand, one in the left • Results • The ball hits the ground first. Why? The paper airplane has wings which create lift to slow its fall to the ground.
Wind Tunnel – Air Flow • Principle demonstrated: Conservation of mass, pressure • Procedure: Construct wing tunnel, Use incense to show air flow into, through, and out of tunnel • Results: How does the wind tunnel work? Where does the air flow fastest, at the narrow or wide end of the tunnel?
Wind Tunnel Construction • Materials: 20” square box fan (Wal-Mart), four 22”x28” poster boards, two 36”x1/4” dowel rods, duct tape • Procedure: Cut out poster board sides, duct tape together, cut dowel rods into 14” lengths and tape around entrance, curl 2” narrow ends and tape for smooth airflow. • Balance: Wood yardstick and 2”x2” wood frame can make see-saw balance with letter scale. • Air flow can be measured with Radio Shack pocket wind gauge (I measured 10 mph).
Wind Tunnel – Lift • Principle demonstrated: Lift (force, test, measurement) • Hypothesis: Lift increases as a wing is angled nose up • Procedure: Measure vertical force – measure with wings set nose up at 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 degrees • Results: Lift increases with angle of wing
Glide Test – Elevator • Principle demonstrated: Drag (force, test, measurement) • Hypothesis: The best glide distance is achieved with a particular elevator setting that sets the best glide wing angle • Procedure: Measure glide distance (angle) for increasing elevator settings • Results: Maximum glide distance is achieved at a particular elevator setting, reduced distance for less elevator angle, constant to reduced glide distance for more elevator angle
SPAN 2” 4” 6” 8” Glide Test – Span • Principle demonstrated: Drag (force, test, measurement) • Hypothesis: Drag decreases and glide distance increases with increasing wing span • Procedure: Measure steady glide distance. Make 3 or more paper airplanes of the same design, each with the wings folded out to a different span. Adjust elevator of each for best glide distance. Plot glide distance divided by initial height for each. • Results: Longer wingspan results in greater glide distance, therefore has reduced drag compared to shorter span.
Internet Resources: • My educational information http://paperplane.org/resource.html • Smithsonian Air & Space Museum http://www.nasm.si.edu/exhibitions/gal109/gal109.html • NASA GLENN Research Center http://www.grc.nasa.gov/Doc/educatn.htm