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Air cushioned vehicle (ACV)

Build a real working hovercraft!

So you want your very own hovercraft. Well once again, Reeko is here to help. Of course it’s only big enough to hold a mouse (maybe two if the first one scrunches down real low) but hey, we’re not old enough for a driver’s license anyway…

  1. Cut a 4 inch square out of the cardboard.
  2. Punch a hole in the cardboard – you may need to get an adult to do this part. If you attempt it yourself be very careful. Make sure you punch the hole in the center of the cardboard. The hole should be the same size as the hole in the spool.
  3. Glue the spool to the cardboard on top of the hole. Make sure you glue it real good. Make sure the holes line up. Make sure you use enough glue to assure that no air can escape between the spool and the piece of cardboard. Make sure you put the lid back on the glue when you’re finished.
  4. Cover the top of the spool with a circle of paper – glue it to the spool and wait until the glue is good and dry.
  5. Punch a hole in the middle of the paper cover where the hole of the spool is. Now your hole should run through the paper, spool, and cardboard without any obstructions (watch for too much glue).
  6. Blow up the balloon and twist the end to keep the air from escaping. Stretch the balloon over the top of the spool.
  7. Make sure your mouse is wearing his seatbelt (optional step).
  8. Set the hovercraft on a level table. Let go of the balloon.

Cool huh? Give the hovercraft a few gently pushes.

The air flowing from the balloon through the holes forms a layer of air between the hovercraft and the table. This reduces the friction. This layer of air reduces the friction that would have existed if the hovercraft rested directly on the table. With less friction, your hovercraft scoots across the table.

Parent/Teacher/Advanced Notes

A Hovercraft or Air cushion vehicle (ACV) is a craft that travels on a layer of compressed air just above any kind of surface–land or water. The compressed air serves as an invisible cushion that eliminates almost all friction between the vehicle and the surface. ACV’s, which are also known as hovercraft, can carry passengers, vehicles, and freight. Some ACV’s can travel as fast as 80 miles (130 kilometers) per hour.

Experiment Supplies

Supplies: Paper, Balloon, Cardboard, Glue, Spool

Sources: Wikipedia, MIT

By Reeko

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