Up, Up and Away

Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics
Wesley Weitman

Pamela Tinley

"Convection thermal energy is an amazing thing. It can be used in various ways like in hot air balloon flight. I decided to use a candle carousel to recreate what happens within a hot air balloon that causes it to fly. By lighting candles, I showed how heated molecules rise and push cooler molecules down creating a convection current. But at what blade angle is the convection current most effective and rotate the blades the fastest? My independent variable is the blade angles. I positioned the carousel blades into three different angles to be tested, lit the candles and allowed them to burn for a predetermined amount of time before the rotations per minute were tallied. The final determination was the strongest force upon the blades was created when the blades were placed in the 45° angle. My results showed that the angle of the blade clearly impacts the rotations per minute. With this information, I learned that flight is possible using just a flame."

Project presentation

View Project Presentation file Demonstration Video