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Ashline and Ellis-Monaghan Modeling Water Rocket Flight HOW HIGH? HOW FAST?
 

Summary: Ashline and Ellis-Monaghan Modeling Water Rocket Flight
HOW HIGH? HOW FAST?
HOW LONG?
MODELING WATER ROCKET
FLIGHT WITH CALCULUS
George Ashline1
and Joanna Ellis-Monaghan2
ADDRESS: (1) and (2) Department of Mathematics, St. Michael's College,
Winooski Park, Colchester VT 05439 USA. (1) gashline@smcvt.edu
and (2) jellis-monaghan@smcvt.edu.
ABSTRACT: We describe an easy and fun project using water rockets
to demonstrate applications of single variable calculus concepts. We
provide procedures and a supplies list for launching and videotaping
a water rocket flight to provide the experimental data. Because of
factors such as fuel expulsion and wind effects, the water rocket does
not follow the parabolic model of a textbook projectile, so instead
we develop a one-variable height vs. time polynomial model by in-
terpolating observed data points. We then analyze this model using
methods suitable to a first semester calculus course. We include a list
of questions and partial solutions for our project in which students

  

Source: Ashline, George - Department of Mathematics, Saint Michaels College

 

Collections: Mathematics