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This engineering project is best described by the engineering design process, as opposed to the scientific method. You might want to ask your teacher whether it's acceptable to follow the engineering design process for your project before you begin.
Overview of the Challenge The goal of this project is to design and build a balloon-powered car. Balloon-powered means the car is propelled forward by nothing other than air escaping from a balloon. Since this is an engineering project, you need to specify your design requirements.
You can come up with your own design requirements, but here are some suggestions: The car should be sturdy and not fall apart when in use.
The car should go straight. The car should go as far as possible. There are several different options for the project: You can build a balloon car using any materials that you want.
You can use your phone to measure your car's velocity using Google's Science Journal app. See this section of the procedure for more details. You can follow the rules from the Fluor Engineering Challengewhich has strict rules about how you can build your car and what it must accomplish.
While the challenge is over, you can still follow the rules and compare your car to the high scores. Designing Your Car Once you have defined your design requirements, you need to start designing your car.
The design phase is an important part of the engineering design process. There is no fixed procedure for this section; you get to come up with your own design!
If you are new to the engineering design process, here are some suggested steps to get you started: Do some background research on balloon-powered cars.
Do an internet image or video search for "balloon powered car" and you will see many different designs, made from different materials.
This can inspire your design. Think about what materials you want to use for your car, and how you will connect the different pieces together.
For example, what do you want to use for wheels? Make a sketch of your design on paper before you start building. Figure 4 shows an example sketch of a design. Documenting your design ideas is important for an engineering project, especially if you are entering a science fair.
An example sketch of a balloon car design. The following steps include some specific tips that might be helpful when building your car, but remember that you do not have to use the construction methods shown in this project.
Many balloon-powered car designs attach the neck of the balloon to a "bendy" straw using a rubber band, as shown in Figure 5.
This makes it easier to attach the balloon to your car, to inflate the balloon, and to aim the direction of the air escaping the balloon. Left If the balloon is attached directly to the body of the car with tape, it will be difficult to inflate the balloon and aim the escaping air.
Right If you attach the balloon to a straw first, it is easier to work with. Most balloon cars work better if the axles can rotate freely. If you insert a pencil or skewer through a drinking straw—as shown in Figure 6—this will allow it to rotate and serve as an axle.
Left If the skewer is taped directly to the cardboard body of the car, it cannot rotate, so it does not make a good axle. Right If the skewer is inserted through pieces of straw that are taped to the cardboard, then it can spin freely. Wheels usually work better if they are centered on the axles and do not wobble.
Depending on what you use for wheels and axles, you will need to come up with a way to securely attach them. Figure 7 shows an example.
Left The hole in the middle of the CD is much too big for the pencil, so the CD will wobble on the axle and not make a good wheel. Right If the hole is filled with a bit of modeling clay or a sponge, the CD will stay securely in place.
Building Your Car Once you are done designing your car, it is time to start building! Again, there is no fixed procedure for this section.Balloon-Powered Car Challenge.
you can harness the balloon's energy to propel the car forward! The engineering goal in this project will be to design, build, and test a car that is powered by nothing but a balloon. You want to design your car so it can travel as far as possible.
You can build a balloon car using any materials that you want. The Energy Systems division pursues applied research and development to strengthen the economy, enable energy independence, mobility, and national security. The division conducts research, development, and demonstration from bench through development based on critical alliances/partnerships with industrial partners, universities, other national laboratories, and other .
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