Each flight log entry usually
represents a launch or test day, and describes the
events that took place.
Click on an image to view a larger image, and
browser's BACK button to return back to the
Day 74 - Flour Rockets
Loading up the first rocket with self
Neutrino pressurised to 100psi. ~200grams of
Flour cloud makes for a healthy breakfast.
Video frame grab of Axion III rocket
launching with 400grams of flour.
Reaching for the moon.
Inches from landing
The second flight also produced a nice cloud
and "smoke" trail from the rocket.
Going back for more...
Okay John ... one more handful ... but
2009(7:00am to 8:00am)
Location:Denzil Joyce Oval
Conditions:Calm, 18 degrees C,
perfect flying conditions
Team Members at Event:
GK, PK, Paul K and John K
At the last NSWRA launch day Craig had
asked us if we ever experimented with talcum
powder in our rockets instead of water. We
hadn't heard of the concept before and so
when we got home we tried looking it up in
Google, but came up empty handed. We then
asked on the Yahoo water rocket forum, and
we got a quick response from Dr. Pitan Singhasaneh.
They have been using them for their opening ceremony of the space technology camps organized by GISTDA in Thailand.
They use flour
instead of talcum powder. He provided some
great pictures and links to fantastic slow
motion videos of flour rockets during their
We bought both talcum powder and
flour as we wanted to test both to see how
they behaved. When deciding which kind of
flour to use, the answer was obvious ....
Self Raising..... of course. Cost of flour
was 60c / kilo.
The night before we prepared three small
rockets to test on the day. We can't fly
larger rockets at the oval due to the
limited range clearance.
Flight Day Events
We got to the oval just before
sunrise on Sunday. We have to come early
because people usually start arriving
around 8:30am to play sports. We took
along only our old launcher because we
were warned that it was going to be
messy. The grass was a little wet from
the rain storm the night before but at
least it wasn't muddy.
We first filled up our smallest
rocket, Neutrino, about 1/3 full of
flour. Despite the warnings we didn't
realize actually HOW messy it could be.
The flour dust just goes everywhere. We
improvised a funnel made from paper that
helped to get the flour in. Filling
takes a little longer because you have
to make sure the flour doesn't cake up
as you pour it down the funnel. A large
hole funnel works best.
Lesson #1 - Don't try to fill
the rocket over the top of any
equipment. After we filled the rocket, I
spent 5 minutes cleaning the the tool
box that just happen to be under it when
we filled the rocket.
We pressurised the rocket to 100psi.
We really weren't sure what was going to
happen as we were using our standard 9mm
nozzle and the flour could have caked
itself well into the nozzle. But sure
enough the rocket launched easily and
produced a nice cloud. There were
absolutely no problems with getting all the
flour out even from a restricted nozzle.
Next we loaded up a 3.35L rocket
with about 400 grams of flour. This rocket also had a
parachute deployment mechanism as we
expected it to go higher. We pressurised
the rocket to 120psi and let it go. This
time the cloud was much more impressive
and the rocket flew nice and straight
with a good deploy and landing.
It was either the surprise of an
instant cloud or the fact they hadn't
had breakfast yet but the kids sure
loved running in and out of it.
We loaded up the same rocket again
and put about the same amount of flour
in it. The second flight was almost
identical to the first, and it offered a
second breakfast helping for the kids.
By then there was a nice patch of
white on the grass and other kids
started to arrive for their football
game. So we packed up and went home. We
were off the oval by 8:00am.
Lower quality video is
also available on YouTube
All in all it was a fun morning, and we
recommend it as a fun experiment, but be
warned that it is VERY messy, and anything
that is not dry will get caked with the
flour. Be sure to brush all flour from your
equipment, and give it a good wash
afterwards to get all residue off. You may
also want to take apart your launch
mechanism and give it a good cleaning in
case some flour got inside. Wash out your
rockets as well.
We didn't get a chance to try the talcum
powder, but we are also not quite done
playing with powders yet. :)