> Class Projects > Water Rocket Lab

December 2016


Goal was to design, build, and launch a water bottle rocket with a bagel payload at least 50 meters away. Conducted baseline and sensitivity analyses for variable parameters such as center of pressure, center of gravity, stability margin, launch angle, and mass of water required for the rocket to achieve over 50 meter distance. Analyzed performance and stability of rocket model to determine coefficient of drag using a wind tunnel, and chose/built final design. Designed and manufactured nose cone and fins, and assembled rocket using two Pepsi brand 2L bottles, polystyrene modeling foam, glue, and tape. We named our rocket "Finneas" for its over-sized fins. Huge thank you to my teammates Haley Bates and Jacob Swiezy!

Final project for Unified Engineering (16.001 Materials & Structures + 16.002 Signals & System).

Files for this project are not available.

Video from our hilarious launch! Finneas the Rocket definitely lived up to its name!

Here are more images from our design/build/launch process!

Glued the fins onto a piece of paper for easy addition and removal from fuselage of bottle rocket. Designed the fins such that the rocket would be stable when filled with water. This caused the fins to be a bit oversized.

Testing Finneas the Rocket in the wind tunnel to determine coefficient of drag.

Manufactured water rocket + extra fins on the side.

Adjusting the size of the nozzle to prevent water leakage between the nozzle and the launch tube during water pressurization of launch.

Fun award for our over-sized fins and hilarious flight

Finneas the Rocket ready for launch!

We had glued the fins along the grain of the wood, parallel to the direction of flight rather than perpendicular to it, so the slightest amount of stress broke the fins during flight.