Home Store Project Ideas Project Guide Ask An Expert Blog Careers Teachers Parents Students

What Makes a Good Aerodynamic Design? Test Your Ideas with High-Performance Paper Gliders *

Difficulty
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.

Abstract

You have probably made plenty of regular paper airplanes simply by folding a piece of printer or notebook paper. Have you ever tried making a "high performance" paper glider? These gliders use a different construction technique that involves cutting multiple shapes out of thicker, stiffer paper and gluing them together (this process is called lamination). There are many resources online that can get you started with the art of making high performance paper gliders. See the references in the Bibliography section or check out a book like Fabulous Paper Gliders.Once you have some experience making the gliders, pick independent and dependent variables and conduct an experiment. For example, you could measure how using different weights of paper or different amounts of glue affects flight distance, or how different glider designs compare to each other. Remember that there will be a lot of variability between individual throws of a paper airplane, so you will need to conduct many trials to get good data.

Credits

Andrew Olson, Ph.D., Science Buddies
Edited by Ben Finio, Ph.D., Science Buddies

Cite This Page

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "What Makes a Good Aerodynamic Design? Test Your Ideas with High-Performance Paper Gliders" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 16 Apr. 2015. Web. 31 Aug. 2015 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Aero_p009.shtml?from=Blog>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2015, April 16). What Makes a Good Aerodynamic Design? Test Your Ideas with High-Performance Paper Gliders. Retrieved August 31, 2015 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Aero_p009.shtml?from=Blog

Share your story with Science Buddies!

I did this project I Did This Project! Please log in and let us know how things went.


Last edit date: 2015-04-16

Bibliography

News Feed on This Topic

 
, ,
Note: A computerized matching algorithm suggests the above articles. It's not as smart as you are, and it may occasionally give humorous, ridiculous, or even annoying results! Learn more about the News Feed

Share your story with Science Buddies!

I did this project I Did This Project! Please log in and let us know how things went.

Ask an Expert

The Ask an Expert Forum is intended to be a place where students can go to find answers to science questions that they have been unable to find using other resources. If you have specific questions about your science fair project or science fair, our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.

Ask an Expert

Related Links

If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:

aerospace engineer testing airplane model in transonic pressure tunnel

Aerospace Engineer

Humans have always longed to fly and to make other things fly, both through the air and into outer space—aerospace engineers are the people that make those dreams come true. They design, build, and test vehicles like airplanes, helicopters, balloons, rockets, missiles, satellites, and spacecraft. Read more
female commercial designer preparing prototype

Commercial & Industrial Designer

Have you always loved art? Do you have a good eye for beauty, balance, and form? How would you like to see your designs show up in toy stores? Or in a sporting goods store? Or at a car dealer? Commercial and industrial designers create the shape and form of every type of manufactured good that you can think of—from toys, sporting goods, and medical equipment to high technology products, furniture, toothbrushes, and toasters. They design the form of new products that are as beautiful and pleasing to look at as they are functional. Read more
Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians

Aerospace Engineering & Operations Technician

Aerospace engineering and operations technicians are essential to the development of new aircraft and space vehicles. They build, test, and maintain parts for air and spacecraft, and assemble, test, and maintain the vehicles as well. They are key members of a flight readiness team, preparing space vehicles for launch in clean rooms, and on the launch pad. They also help troubleshoot launch or flight failures by testing suspect parts. Read more
aviation inspector looking at landing gear

Aviation Inspector

Aviation inspectors are critical to ensuring that aircraft are safe to fly. They conduct pre-flight inspections to make sure an aircraft is safe. They also inspect the work of aircraft mechanics, and keep detailed records of work done to maintain or repair an aircraft. As problems are identified, they may make changes to maintenance schedules, and may be called upon to investigate air accidents. Read more

News Feed on This Topic

 
, ,
Note: A computerized matching algorithm suggests the above articles. It's not as smart as you are, and it may occasionally give humorous, ridiculous, or even annoying results! Learn more about the News Feed

Looking for more science fun?

Try one of our science activities for quick, anytime science explorations. The perfect thing to liven up a rainy day, school vacation, or moment of boredom.

Find an Activity