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Weather kid of the month: Film canister rockets

Posted at 6:51 AM, May 07, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS — There’s nothing like a little rocket science to add some excitement to your day! We see NASA use rockets all the time, but do we know how they work?? This month’s weather kid, Kolton learned the science behind them and sent some rockets soaring!

Let’s get started and make some rockets! Here’s what you need…

- 35 mm canister with lid
- Alka-seltzer tablet
- Water
- Safety goggles

Step 1: put on safety goggles and break the Alka-seltzer tablet inn half

Step 2: remove the lid from the canister and put one teaspoon of water inside

Step 3: quickly drop the half tablet into the canister and snap the cap tightly back on

Step 4: quickly flip the canister back onto the table cap side down and step back

Step 5: wait about 10 - 30 seconds and watch what happens!!!

Boom! We launched a rocket! Here’s what happened… the water started to dissolve the Alka-seltzer tablet and it creates carbon dioxide gas. When the carbon dioxide is released, it creates pressure inside the canister. The more gas that’s created the more the pressure builds up and eventually the cap blasted down and the canister blasts up! It’s a display of Newton’s 3rd law that every force has an opposite and equal force. This shows a system of thrust just like a rocket going into outer space!

You can test some hypothesis and see if the rockets path can be changed by adding paper fins or a nose cone or even changing the water temperature or amount of Alka-selter.