Balloon Hovercraft

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By Conner Minarsich

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Abstract

My invention was on a homemade hovercraft. I wanted to see if I could create a hovercraft using only basic household materials. I think my invention is important to show how a hovercraft works right in front of your eyes. I also thought it was important to try to use materials most people would have at home if they wanted to recreate my invention. My hypothesis was if I could make a hovercraft out of basic household materials. The procedures I followed outlined 6 steps for someone to follow if they wanted to recreate my hovercraft on their own.  

My results were that I was successful out of making a hovercraft out of basic household materials. It did take me 6 trials to determine that I was successful. I did experience some failures, specifically with the 12-inch balloon. However, I determined success with the 18-inch balloon based on the facts that the balloon held more air than the 12 inches, it took longer to deflate, and was able to hover over the floor longer. My conclusions were that I successfully made a hovercraft out of basic household materials. It was very cool to experience because I find hovercrafts interesting.  [/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIyT2FuZEklMjIlM0UlM0MlMkZhJTNF[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Object and Inquiry

My science fair project is on the hovercraft. I will explain what a hovercraft is, and how it works. I will also try to create a hovercraft using basic household materials. I will record in my journal how many days I worked to make the hovercraft successful. I may not be successful at first, but I hope by the end of my project to successfully create a hovercraft.[/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIyVG9ySCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRmElM0U=[/vc_raw_html][vc_column_text]

Hypothesis

I could make a hovercraft out of basic household materials.[/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIyUldVJTIyJTNFJTNDJTJGYSUzRQ==[/vc_raw_html][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Research Write Up

What is a Hovercraft?
A hovercraft acts like a boat except it can run on both land and water. It has a back propeller and an air cushion that provides the air in a downward blast to help it travel across land or water.
How does a hovercraft work?
A hovercraft is a little bit boat, a little bit helicopter and a little bit plane. It has an air skirt that traps air underneath and then floats over the surface of the terrain. The air cushion holds the hovercraft high above the waves and land. The basics of a hovercraft include an engine that powers the fans to help lift the hovercraft and helps move the craft in different directions. A rubber skirt traps the cushion of air under the craft, helping it hover above the surface.  
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Tools and Materials

  • CD from house for the base of the hovercraft
  • 12-inch balloon to put on the sports cap
  • 18-inch balloon to put on the sports cap
  • Sports drink cap used to make the balloon stay attached to the CD
  • Hot glue to attach the sports drink cap to the top of the CD
  • Trifold presentation board for presentation  

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Procedure and Data

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Journal

3/9/2020: today I worked on my action plan
3/10/2020: I did not work on my project today
3/11/2020: I worked more on my action plan
3/12/2020: I worked on my procedure and data
3/13/2020: I did not work on the project today
3/14/2020: I did a checkup on the project
3/15/2020: I did not work on it today
3/16/2020: I did not work on it today
3/17/2020: I did not work on it today
3/18/2020: I did modifications to my tools and materials
3/19/2020: I did not work on it today
3/20/2020: I did not work on it
3/21/2020: I did not work on it today
3/22/2020: I did not work on it today
3/23/2020: I worked on my presentation plan
3/24/2020: did an action plan for the presentation
3/25/2020: did not work on it today
3/26/2020: did not work on it today
3/27/2020: did not work on it today
3/28/2020: did not work on it today
3/29/2020: did not work on it today
3/30/2020: did not work on it today
3/31/2020: did a second action plan
4/1/2020: did not work on it today
4/2/2020: did not work on it today
4/3/2020: did not work on it today
4/4/2020: started the trifold part of the presentation
4/5/2020: did work on it today
4/6/2020: did not work on it today
4/7/2020: did not work on it today
4/8/2020: did not work on it today
4/9/2020: did not work on it today
4/10/2020: did not work on it today
4/11/2020: started collecting materials to build the hovercraft
4/12/2020: did not work on it today
4/13/2020: did not work on it today
4/14/2020: started building the hovercraft
4/15/2020: did some tests on the hovercraft
4/16/2020: did not work on it today
4/17/2020: ordered supplies from Amazon
4/18/2020: did not work on it today
4/19/2020: did not work on it today
4/20/2020: did not work on it today
4/21/2020: did 2nd build of the hovercraft
4/22/2020: did not work on it today
4/23/2020: caught up on my journal
4/24/2020: worked on my bibliography
4/25/2020: worked on testing the hovercraft
4/26/2020: ran more tests
4/27/2020: more tests
4/28/2020: Did some modifications
4/29/2020: more tests
4/30/2020: clean up on the lab report
4/31/2020: ran final tests
5/1/2020: getting everything submitted
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Procedure

  1. Collect the CD, the 12-inch balloons, the hot glue gun, and the sports bottle top lid.
  2. Attach the balloon to the sports top lid
  3. Attach the sports top lid to the CD using the hot glue gun 

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Data and Analysis

I began my project by researching hovercrafts online. I took some notes and recorded my findings, including making notes for the bibliography of websites I collected research from. I then started collecting the basic household materials I would need to build a hovercraft. I collected some CD’s, sport drink bottle caps, the 12-inch balloons, and the hot glue gun. I then started assembling the hovercraft with putting the balloon on the sports cap and then gluing the sports cap to the CD. I tried blowing up the balloon and doing a test run but discovered I needed to re-glue the CD to the sports cap and let it dry overnight. The next day I tried my first test. I discovered I needed to blow up the balloon as much I could to give the CD a better chance to slide across the floor. I also discovered the sports cap was not centered to the hole in the CD making it harder to blow up the balloon. I also discovered that I needed to release the valve in the sports cap quickly, otherwise the air would empty out of the balloon before the CD slid across the floor. I started wondering if a bigger balloon that could hold more air would work better. I was able to order 18-inch balloons on Amazon. The following week, I remade my hovercraft using the 18-inch balloons. This was assembled using the same instructions as the 12-inch balloon. Testing of the 18-inch balloon went much better than the 12-inch. I learned from my mistakes on building the 12-inch, for the 18-inch assemble I glued the sports cap directly over the hole in the CD and to let it dry overnight before testing. A few days later I tested the 18-inch balloon. I found that the 18-inch balloon held more air than the 12-inch, so it slid across the floor better and ran faster than the 12-inch balloon. I also discovered that the balloon needs to be standing as straight up as possible to help it slide better. I also learned that with both the 12-inch and 18-inch I did need to give the balloon hovercraft a small push to get it started moving across the floor.  [/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIyUmFuZEMlMjIlM0UlM0MlMkZhJTNF[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Results and Conclusion

I was successful in making a hovercraft out of basic household materials. It did take me about 6 tests to determine it was a success. I did experience some failures, specifically with the 12-inch balloon. I learned that not only the size of the balloon but also in attaching the sports lid to the CD made a difference in it being a success or failure. These failures led me to try the experiment with an 18-inch balloon. The 18-inch balloon was the most successful. The hovercraft went easily across the hardwood floor in my home, it went not only straight but also in different directions.  [/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIySWFuZFIlMjIlM0UlM0MlMkZhJTNF[/vc_raw_html][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Insights and Reflections

The invention itself was fun to build. It did take me a few tries to make the hovercraft successful. I learned that I needed a bigger balloon for more air. I learned I needed to construct it carefully to make sure the sports cap was lined up with the CD. I learned that with the air flowing out of the balloon I could make the CD hovercraft slide across the floor. I feel my project after a few failures ended up as a success. I really enjoyed learning about hovercrafts and how they work.  [/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIyQmliJTIyJTNFJTNDJTJGYSUzRQ==[/vc_raw_html][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Bibliography

http://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-does-a-hovercraft-work, February 21, 2020
http://www.explainthatstuff.com/hovercraft.html, February 20, 2020
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Aero_p033/aerodynamics-hydrodynamics/how-does-a-hovercraft-work, March 1, 2020
http://www.discoverhover.org/abouthovercraft/works.htm, February 28, 2020 
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