Homemade Juice Bottle Rocket Launcher

All those juice boxes, pouches and bottles hold a little science inside – give them a squeeze, force the air out and shoot the straw at your sister. The only problem is the larger hole around the straw allows the air to leak out and the straw doesn’t travel far.

So grab a few straws, some modeling clay and an empty Kool-Aid juice bottle to make a launcher that will shoot that straw across the room while demonstrating Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

Materials

  • Kool-Aid Burst juice bottle or other flexible plastic bottle
  • Modeling clay (Playdough may work, also)
  • 2 straws – one large and one small. The larger diameter straw must be able to slip over the smaller straw. The large and small straws from Starbucks work great.
  • Safety glasses

Make Your Own Juice Bottle Squeeze Rocket Launcher | Steve Spangler Science

Experiment

This experiment was designed using the Kool-Aid Bursts juice product. While other flexible juice bottles may work, the Kool-Aid product works very well. The larger of the two straws should fix loosely over the smaller straw. There should be no friction or resistance at all or the straw will not be able to launch. If you’re tired of searching for straws, just stop by Starbucks® to enjoy a drink and pick up a few straws.
  1. As everyone knows, science is much more fun and productive when conducted on a sugar high. So to start this experiment guzzle down the Kool Aid from your bottle. If you are making more than one launcher, drink those, too!
  2. Avoid making a sticky, rocket launcher mess! Rinse and dry your bottles before you move on.
  3. Push the smaller straw into the opening of the bottle. The straw should fit snugly in the hole at the top of the bottle. Use modeling clay to seal any possible leaks between the straw and the hole in the bottle. The clay will also make the straw more stable and less likely to wobble.
  4. Push one end of the bigger straw into another piece of modeling clay. This “plug” will seal the end of the straw. Cover the plugged end with something soft like a Styrofoam packing peanut to keep the straw rocket from hurting anyone in case they accidentally get hit.
  5. It’s time to launch… Place the larger straw over the smaller straw. Ready, aim… wait! Take a look around. Is everyone paying attention? If they aren’t watching with Cape Canaveral-like anticipation, make sure they know what is about to take place.
  6. Now that everyone is aware of your rocket launching intentions, start the countdown. 3, 2, 1… give your bottle a giant squeeze and… blast off! The larger straw launches off the smaller straw and the room erupts in a chorus of oohs & ahhhs!

Be careful! Never point the straw rocket at anyone. The goal here is to launch the rocket up in the air (not at someone). Be sure to cover the plugged end of the straw with something soft and round to protect someone from accidentally getting hurt by a sharp edge.

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Comment (1)

  • 369 Reply

    how is it done what is the science behind it

    October 2, 2013 at 9:31 am

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