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Others Like “Which Wing Design Creates the Greatest Lift?”

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
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever noticed how some jet planes have small, vertical projections as the tips of the wings? They're called winglets. What are they there for? Read more
Aero_p013
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Kites have been a source of entertainment for centuries for kids from cultures around the world. In this science project you will have a chance to build your very own kite, a simple sled kite. Then you will use it to investigate how kites fly. Will you find out the best way to fly your kite? Read more
Aero_p016
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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
thumbnail The Wright brothers used kites extensively to test their design ideas in the years leading up to their first successful airplane flight. With this science project, you'll learn about kite aerodynamics, and then come up with your own hypothesis about building or flying a kite. You can test your hypothesis two ways: with an online kite simulation program from NASA, and outdoors with the real thing! A great feature of this science project is that it has many possible variations, so you can decide… Read more
Aero_p008
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Excellent computer skills
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Normal precautions for kite flying
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
thumbnail Flying kites is an excellent way to learn about aerodynamic forces. In this science fair project, you will build and test a variety of kite designs to see which flies best in low wind speeds. You will use an inexpensive anemometer to accurately measure the wind speed. Since you will be choosing which kites to build and test, the experimental procedure provides a general outline for the experiments, but there is a lot of opportunity for you to be creative with your kite designs. This is a DIY… Read more
Aero_p042
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites This is a "do-it-yourself" science fair project, because it's up to you to choose and build the different kinds of kites you wish to test. You will also design the experimental setup using a fan, which will require some creative problem-solving on your part.
Material Availability A couple of specialty items are needed. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
A great way to get started in exploring aerodynamics is by building high-performance paper gliders. We're not talking folded pieces of copier paper here. These gliders are built using laminated construction methods, so they look and fly much more like the real thing. The materials are inexpensive, and the building techniques are easy to learn. You can easily turn out several planes, which makes it possible to test the effects of design changes on flight performance. Read more
Aero_p009
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None; Project times longer depending on how many gliders you build, and how many times you iterate your design.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever seen butterflies fluttering around outside, gliding through the air and landing on flowers? While they are delicate and fragile, butterflies are actually excellent flyers. They are so good, in fact, that scientists at Harvard University studied butterfly wing shapes as an inspiration for building a miniature flying robot. In this science project, you will do your own version of the Harvard scientists' experiment to measure the flight performance of butterfly wings. Read more
Aero_p049
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever wondered why golf balls have a pattern of dimples on their surface? The dimples are important for determining how air flows around the ball when it is in flight. The dimple pattern, combined with the spin imparted to the ball when hit by the club, greatly influence the ball's flight path. For example, backspin generates lift, prolonging flight. When the ball is not hit squarely with the club, varying degrees of sidespin are imparted to the ball. A clockwise sidespin (viewed from… Read more
Sports_p012
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites To do this experiment you must have sufficient golf experience to swing a golf club consistently and have access to golf clubs.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
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)
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