Tag Archives: ethanol gasoline

The Explosive Power of Ethanol Rocket Fuel

This demonstration involves fire and is intended for trained chemistry teachers. Do not do this at home.

Homer Hickam’s Rocket Boys is the story of kids in the 1950’s who were fascinated with rocket science. The characters use pipes filled with gun powder to experiment with rocketry. Teachers use the book as a literary connection with the science lesson about rockets. The key is in the nozzle. The book was later turned into the movie, October Sky.

The book is the perfect introduction to rocket science and the power of air pressure. Students build PVC Rocket Launchers with pipe and construction paper and then test their design in real life. Students don’t use fuel in their lessons but instead use air pressure.

Chemistry teachers can demonstrate rocket power by using ethanol. Ethanol fuel is becoming popular because it burns clean. When it completely burns, the byproduct is water. Carbon dioxide is also given off.

In rocket design,as the ethanol burns, there is a massive expanse of all of the fuel that comes out, pushing the rocket forward. By controlling the nozzle, the fuel does not come out, and you get more power.

Ethanol Rocket Science

Ethanol is an additive in gasoline because it burns clean and gives off a tremendous amount of energy. It is one of the renewable energy sources being looked at to replace oil and gas as our main energy resources.

Ethanol is grain alcohol and is made from corn. It is extremely flammable. When it burns, it gives off energy, carbon dioxide and water. Watch this simple demonstration to see the explosive properties of ethanol.

**This science demonstration is done for educational purposes but not to do at home. Check with your chemistry teacher for more information.