Burlington School News: Seniors build a hovercraft
December 18, 2020
Every year, the senior physics class builds a hovercraft with Mrs. Newlin. It took them just one class period to build the hovercraft. They built it out of wood, two sheep blowers, and a chair.
The hovercraft lab is a highlight of each year. Mrs. Newlin has been doing this lab for about 20 years with the senior class. Each year they make improvements on the machine. The students have made four different machines over the years and they use sheep blowers from the ag department to power it.
The little gym works as a perfect location; with one push a student can reach the other end of the gym. The best machines use two blowers and can support multiple students.
The lab is done during the friction chapter. The students find the coefficient of friction with the motor on and without the motor running. This year the coefficient of friction with the motor running was 0.046 and the machine turned off had a coefficient of 0.75. With the machine on, it only takes one pound of pressure to begin movement versus 80 pounds to move the hovercraft with a person on it.