The How Zone

Water Rockets

Serious Pressure

Let's take a few moments to talk about what makes a water rocket go.

Like the little handheld rocket today's modern water rockets use compressed air for propulsion. The difference being in how much air gets pumped into the rocket and the amount of pressure. As a kid pumping that little handheld rocket we would be lucky to manage ten pounds of pressure. With a bicycle pump it takes no time at all to reach fifty pounds or more. The water rocket looks the same, but it has become potentially more dangerous.

Dealing with high pressure is like trying to hold water in your cupped hands: you're fighting to contain it at all times. A little flaw in workmanship, a damaged rocket, or even a cheap connector can end up with bad results. Something may work reliably for dozens of launches only to fail horribly the very next launch. That's why it is better to always be prepared for the unexpected rather than hoping it won't happen.

Please check out the safety resource links. You'll find pictures of exploding bottles, close calls, as well as a bunch of good, solid advice from people who have been down this path before. Sir Isaac Newton said "If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants." This also goes for being safe.

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