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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

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paper airplane experiments

Paper Airplane Experiments

KEN BLACKBURN

NCASE

Atlanta, GA March 2004

presentation overview
Presentation Overview
  • Uses of paper airplane experiments
  • Types of experiments
  • Examples
    • Ball vs. airplane
    • Wind tunnel
    • Glide tests
uses for experiments
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
glide test span

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
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