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Day 113 - Alternative Fuels
Some alternative fuels used instead of
First up we tried bread crumbs.
Mum always uses bread crumbs on schnitzel
Loaded into old launcher.
Launched at 120psi.
Using an air gun to clean the launcher and
release head after a launch.
Hundreds and thousands coming up next.
Man your battle stations.
"Dad, are you sure we have to pour them all
We switched to break wire triggering after
the slow launch with 100s and 1000s.
The most colourful fuel tested on the day.
Coming in for a gentle landing.
Sugar pouring in from above the tornado
About to feed some ants at the launch site.
This one almost landed back on the pad.
Axion III. 3.35L capacity.
Setting up for the next launch.
The other kind of sugar (candy) motor.
To launch, or to have lunch? ... tough
mmmm ... looks almost good enough to eat.
Preparing to push all the noodles out
through a 9mm nozzle in less than a second.
November 2011, 8:30am - 1:00pm
Location:Doonside, NSW, Australia
Conditions:Calm, warm and overcast,
Team Members at Event:John K, Paul K, PK and
Occasionally we take a break from the
serious world of water rockets to have a bit
of fun with the kids. On this launch day we
decided to try some alternative fuels in the
rockets. We knew it was going to be messy so
we decided to refurbish a couple of our old
launchers as we didn't want to mess up our
regular launcher. We also assembled 3 of the
Axion III rockets as there were likely to be
some unpredictable launches.
The first launch used about 2 cups of
bread crumbs, After a few years of drenching
the ants at the launch site we decided to
feed them this time. That's all they get ...
bread and water. The launch was nice and
quick and the breadcrumbs performed very
much like flour that we've tried before. For
the second launch we used more breadcrumbs
and again the flight went well.
We brought along an air gun attachment so
we could clean the launcher and release
mechanism between launches. This worked
Next up were hundreds and thousands. This
was the kids favourite and they kept
insisting that we don't use all of them in
the rockets, From my point of view this was
going to be an interesting one because they
looked like they flowed well and were nice
and round. As we launched you could clearly
see that the rocket was a lot slower on
take-off and the rocket also did not go very
high. I guess you just can't force so many
of them through the 9mm nozzle. I also
suspect the big gaps between the little
spheres allowed a lot of the air to escape
before pushing them out. The resultant slow
take off caused the rocket not to deploy the
parachute and it crashed. Damage was only
minor because the rocket is light and did
not go very high. Only the top bottle was
crushed and the nosecone fairing was
buckled. Everything else survived without a
problem, and we can reuse the deployment
mechanism as is.
Because of the slow take-off we decided
to switch the trigger mode on the timer to
the break-wire option. This setup then
worked well for all the other remaining
For the second 100's and 1000's launch we
used a lot more of them, with the negotiated
deal that we would keep at least one packet
for the boys. :) The second flight was also
slow but the break wire option worked well
and deployed the parachute at apogee. The
slow mo video showed the 100's and 1000's
flying around like they were inside a
particle accelerator colliding in all
Next up was regular sugar. On the first
flight, the rocket definitely went higher
than the 100's and 1000's even though there
was about the same volume used. I guess the
smaller particles don't quite allow the air
to pass by them and they get pushed out. I
distinctly remember hearing tiny voices from
the grass yelling something along the lines
of "Yipeee!!! Mana from Heaven".
For the second sugar flight we used about
twice as much sugar and that produced a nice
long stream on the way up. As Phil commented
"That was one sweet flight"
To load the rockets we had to invert the
launcher, as normal loading procedure with
water did not work. If a few grains of sugar
or crumbs came out they would jam the nozzle
in the release head.
Leaving the messiest one until last we
filled the rocket with cooked 2 minute
noodles still in the broth. (They were
cooked in the morning before going to the
launch site ) It took a bit of effort
getting the noodles in in the first place,
and then getting them back down through the
tornado tube. The launch was very much like
a regular water rocket launch, and the
rocket went up the highest. When we looked
at what was left around the pad, you could
not recognise anything that looked like
noodles. They were well and truly
obliterated on the way out.
We loaded up the rocket again with more
noodles and broth, ... I was going to say
that that's one of the strangest things
we've done... but it isn't :) The rocket
flew fairly high again. The parachute
deployed well, but it was our turn to make
an offering to the rocket gods, and the
rocket landed in the highest tree. Sadly it
wasn't the only rocket that ended up in the
tree that day. Phil also lost his beautiful
rocket in the same clump of trees. :( These
trees are at least 20 meters tall so there
is no easy way of reaching them. One can
only hope that they come down by themselves
in a wind storm, but with 2 weeks between
launches someone is bound to find them. I
believe this is our first rocket that we did
not get back from a tree in the last 5.5
years. Though we lost one of the timers, we
still have plenty left as spares. Luckily we
didn't have an altimeter or camera on board,
so only a minor loss.
All in all it was a good day, with the
kids and ants getting to eat plenty of the
sweet stuff. We wanted to try rice on the
day as well, but ran out of time. On all
these flights we used the same size nozzle,
volume and pressure. Though these really
technically can't be considered water
rockets, it was a fun experiment to do
anyway. back to more serious water rockets