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Film Canister Rocket

Whether they are breaking the atmosphere into space or soaring through the sky here on Earth, all rockets are launched into the air by the generation of thrust. In this experiment you can launch your own home-made rocket and rocket fuel using everyday things around the house.

As with any explosive experiment, make sure you have a grown up handy for this one.

Houston, we have no problem!

What you will need

  1. Empty 35 mm camera film canister
  2. 1 big adult
  3. 1 fizzy acid relief tablet (such as Alka-Seltzer)
  4. Water
  5. Teaspoon
  6. Goggles

How to do it

  1. Head out to the garden with all your equipment.
  2. Put your safety goggles on.
  3. Snap the Alka-Seltzer tablet in two.
  4. Take the lid off the camera film canister and pour a teaspoon full of water inside.
  5. Drop half of the Alka-Seltzer into the canister, then fit the canister’s lid.
  6. QUICKLY place the canister upside down, so the lid is on the ground, and move at least two metres away from your film canister rocket.
  7. In around 10 seconds you should see your home-made rocket whizz into the air.

Would more water effect how fast or high the rocket flies? 

What effect would adding the whole Alka-Seltzer tablet have?

What is happening?

When the Alka-Seltzer is added to the water it generates a gas called carbon-dioxide – the same gas that gives fizzy drinks their fizz. As more gas is generated in the small, airtight space of the canister, an intense amount of pressure is created. This pressure creates the thrust that blasts the cap down and launches the canister into the air.

Despite being a gas, carbon dioxide is nothing to worry about. It is not poisonous and plants absorb it.

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