# Physics 141, Fall 2016.

## Rocket Propulsion in Hoyt

On October 15, Professor Wolfs used "his" rocket wheel chair for the first time on Hoyt Hall. As part of our discussion on conservation of linear momentum in the absence of external forces, we focussed on the how conservation of linear momentum applies to rocket propulsion. As long as we consider the linear momentum of both the rocket and the exhaust, linear momentum will be conserved.

To demonstrate this principle, we installed two fire extuingishers on a wheel chair. The exhaust of the fire extinguishers travels in one direction, and in order to conserve linear momentum, the wheel chair is pushed in the other direction. It works! Click on the following images to see the video clips.

 First test inside of our new wheel chair. The demonstration clearly showed how exhaust moving in one direction moves the chair in the other direction. Notice the effect of the exhaust on the trash cans! Try it the other way! You see how much fun it is to teach physics! Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of our staff: Thang Nguyen and Mike Culver!

What happens if we put a vertical plate behing the exhaust? Think about the analogy of someone standing on a sailboat, blowing against the sail: will the boat move? The answer is no, but let's see if we can demonstrate that. Click on the following image to see the video clip of what happens.

Videos made outside can be found by clicking here.

Last updated on Saturday, October 17, 2009 22:15

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