Matchstick Rockets are precicely what they sound like. Using some household materials, you can propel a matchstick across your back porch
Matchstick Rockets are based off of the same basic principles as traditional rockets. They contain expanding gasses that are forced in one direction and create and equal and opposite force in the other.
(note difference between matchsticks and matchbooks at the bottom)
3. A Small Pin (about the size of a matchstick)
4. A Medium Sized Paperclip
a. Building your rocket
Take one match from your matchbook and give it a good look over
. Some matches from matchbooks have more material on one side than the other. Find the side that has more flammable material and place the small pin so that the head of the pin is at the base of the match and the sharp end is resting in the center of the matchhead.
Take your tin foil and cut out a shape (1" wide by 2" long) to wrap around the match. Some matchstick rocket instructional sites say that you should use a triangluar piece, other say that you should just cut out a rectangular piece (make sure to read the note on the size of the tin foil shape at the bottom). Wrap this around the match with the pin resting on it so that about half of the tin foil is above the matchhead and half is actually wrapped around the match and pin. Make sure you get the foil securely wrapped. Now, wrap the excess foil on the OPPOSITE
side of the pin. Take a fingernail
or other thin object and crease either side of the foil where the pin is, creating a better seal and smaller channel for the gasses. After you are sure of your wrap job, remove the pin carefully.
b. Setting up and launching your rocket
Now that you have your rocket all ready to go, prepare a launchpad with your paperclip! The key here is to give the match something to launch away from and to keep it tilted upward. Use your imagination
when making your launchpad but NEVER launch a match rocket from your (or anyone else's) hand. Place your rocket on the launchpad (no 5,000 horsepower crawler
needed), point away from other people and light a match below the matchhead encased in tin foil. Within a few seconds the matchhead should light within the foil and ignite the flammable material within the match, sending the matchstick up to 10 feet away!
All that safety stuff in there, it's IMPORTANT. Don't burn yourself or your friend while lighting these and then blame me. I gave you all the fair warning and if you're too daft to heed that warning, you probably shouldn't be lighting off match rockets anyway.
I've never got a match rocket to fly 10 feet. All of this takes a decent amount of experimentation to come up with the right combination of elements to make your match rocket fly. Feel free to experiment with variations on my recipie. SAFELY, of course. If you happen to come up with the perfect match rocket combination that can win the x prize
, don't hesitate to message me.
Matches are very different depending on what type you use. Matchbooks tend to have the least amount of flammable material
inside them and thus only require the recommended - or less - tin foil wrapped around them. Larger stick matches, however, require more tin foil so that they don't just blow a hole in the tin foil. Again, experiment with them safely.