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Beginner's Guide to Propulsion
Newton's Third Law and Aircraft Propulsion

Answers

1. Record the results of each experiment in the table shown below and compute the volume for the balloon.
Amount of Air
Circumference
(cm)
Diameter
(cm)
Distance
Traveled (cm)
Volume of Balloon
(cm)3
full
37.68
12
22
904.32
1/4 full
9.42
3
5
14.13
1/2 full
18.84
6
8
113.04
3/4 full
28.26
9
15
381.51
1.
2. Complete a plot showing the distance the balloon traveled with each experiment.

3. What conclusion can be made from this graph and how does is relate to Newton's Third Law?

The more air inside the balloon the farther the distance the balloon will travel. The air trapped inside the balloon pushes out the open end, causing the balloon to move forward. The force of the air escaping is the "action"; the movement of the balloon forward is the "reaction" predicted by Newton's Third Law of Motion.

Related Pages:
Standards
Activity
Worksheet
Propulsion Activity Index
Propulsion Index

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