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Aerodynamics & Hydrodynamics Project Ideas

Project Idea
thumbnail Did you know that you can actually make objects come together by blowing air between them? Find out how wind changes air pressure to bring to objects together in this easy and fun science fair project! Read more
Aero_p039
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Does the force of drag have an effect on the distance the puck will travel? Think of a way to launch the puck with a reproducible force, and examine the effect of launching the puck in different orientations on the distance it travels. For more information on the physics, see Haché, 2002. Read more
Aero_p025
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
thumbnail How does a helicopter generate enough lift to fly? How does a speedboat get moving fast enough to pull someone on water skis? Here's a project on designing propellers to do the job. Read more
Aero_p018
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Previous experience with aerodynamic design (e.g., model airplanes, gliders) is suggested.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Helicopters are fascinating to watch. The spinning rotor blades on top of the helicopter generate lift, allowing it to take off vertically. They can land vertically, too, allowing them to set down in small spaces, such as hospital helipads or on a ship at sea. In this aerodynamics science fair project, you will fly a remote-controlled helicopter and measure how the rate of the rotor's rotation changes as the helicopter hovers and flies up or down. Read more
Aero_p043
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need a remote-controlled helicopter and a digital tachometer. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Minor injury is possible. Be sure to wear safety goggles. Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
A technique often used in wind tunnels is to introduce smoke in front of the airfoil that is being tested. The smoke comes from regularly-spaced point sources, and the wind flow in the tunnel spreads it out into parallel lines, called streamlines. The streamlines make it possible to visualize the airflow over the airfoil. When the lines continue smoothly over and past the airflow, they show that the flow remains laminar, and that the airfoil is creating very little drag. When the… Read more
Aero_p026
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
Try different wind turbine/propeller (chord length, pitch) designs by making models from balsa wood. Connect the spinning axle to a DC motor and measure the voltage produced across a resistor to measure power output. Use fan as wind source. (Judge, 2004) Read more
Aero_p029
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
Research the famous collapse of the Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge. What lessons were learned about the potentially damaging effects of wind on bridges? What structures stabilize a bridge against wind forces? Build models and use a wind tunnel to test your hypothesis. Read more
Aero_p030
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Project Idea
Winglets are the short vertical "fins" at the wingtips of some airplanes. Have you ever wondered why they are there? If you have access to a wind tunnel, you can build model airfoils with and without winglets and see for yourself. If you're really ambitious, you can also build your own wind tunnel. Read more
Aero_p012
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Experience building airfoils, access to a wind tunnel for testing.
Material Availability Specialty Items (wind tunnel for testing airfoils)
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety No issues
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