EthanolRocketThe whoosh bottle, which we know and love here at SSERC, has become a standard feature in many chemistry classrooms. More recently, a variation has come to light which not only shows the energy changes of the different fuels but puts that energy to use.

The version of this that appeared in a recent Education in Chemistry uses a length of guttering as a guide and fires a fizzy drinks bottle a satisfying distance. Having been looking at this for a while before the EiC article was published we decided to get down to some serious development and soon decided on an important modification.

Using a ‘wire’ to keep the rocket to a known path makes the ethanol rocket a safer classroom  activity. It also facilitates easy filming which in turn can be used for some interesting cross-curricular work with the physics and maths departments.

Ethanol Rocket

Ethanol Rocket – Risk Assessment

Ethanol Rocket – Calculations

Ethanol Rocket – streaming video