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Angle of Trajectory Experimental Design Diagram

Question: How does the angle of trajectory affect the horizontal distance of the rocket's flight?

Hypothesis: If the angle of trajectory is too great, then it will have a short flight distance because it will
just go straight up. If the angle of trajectory is too small, then it will have a short flight distance because
it won't have as much of a cushion between it and the ground. If the angle of trajectory is right in the
middle (about 35º-75º), then it will have a long flight distance because it will have a perfect balance of
the two factors stated above.

The Rocket's Flight Distance Depends On the Angle Of Trajectory


Angle of Flight Distance (m) Average Distance
Trajectory Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 (m)

25º 20.5 31 33 28.17

45º (Control) 42 51 48 47
65º 50 49 48.5 49.17
85º 32 39 26 32.33
Source: Nate DeCook, Brooks VandeBurg, Kurtis Slenk

Controlled Variables: Size of fins, number of fins, shape of fins, size of bottom bottle, size of top bottle,
whether cap is on or off, same amount of water in bottom bottle, same amount of water in top bottle,
same amount of air pressure, same time on launcher

Materials: 1 2L pop bottle, 1 20oz pop bottle, duct tape, 3 6in x 4in (4in side coming out from rocket)
cardboard right triangle fins, water, air compressor
Procedure: Tape the bottoms of the pop bottles together so that the openings on each bottle are facing in
opposite directions. Tape the fins to the 2L bottle with the 4in side coming out from the bottle and the
6in side is touching the side of the bottle. Make sure that flat bottom of the fin is towards the opening
of the 2L bottle. Fill the 20oz bottle with 200mL of water. Screw the cap onto the top bottle. Fill the
bottom bottle with 250mL of water. Set the air compressor/launch pad to launch the rocket at the
current angle being tested. Place rocket on launch pad. Make the air pressure in the bottom bottle 75
psi. Launch the rocket. Repeat the experiment with the same rocket until all data has been gathered.

Conclusion: A 65º angle of trajectory offered the best average, although the first trial for 25º dragged
down its average due to the fact of that it was done on a day where the wind was blowing in our faces.
However, that really has no great effect on the conclusion of my data. The data proved my hypothesis
correct. 65º was one of the middle angles I thought would yield better results than an angle almost
parallel to the ground or almost aiming straight up. So, to conclude this experiment, I would urge you
on your final rocket to use an angle that is somewhere in the middle.