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Homework Help: Combustion potato gun - Need associated variables, ideas and concepts.

  1. Sep 8, 2012 #1
    Hi Guys, I have a Year 11 Project weighted 15% of my year mark due in 5 weeks. For my project I've decided to build a classic combustion potato gun. This gun will consist of pvc piping, barrel, Lantern lighter, any other components and of course hairspray (combustion)

    Anyways It is still only an idea as of yet but Im looking for variables, anything i can record. Also any relevant terms, formulaes or concepts I may encounter during my project.

    So far I've thought of concepts such as: Projectile motion, Muzzle velocity, angle affectiveness (Predicted 45 degree best), effects of wind resistance ( On a calm day this will be discounted.

    Therefore if you have any other concepts that may help in my project, Dont be afraid to say them, ANYTHING!!! :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 8, 2012 #2


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    Last time I played with one of these we had problems with repeatability due to all the oxygen being used up in the bore. Used a tin lid on a pole like a ram rod to pump fresh air in.
  4. Sep 8, 2012 #3
    If you are restricting the experiment to the distance and height that the potato travels once it exits the gun, then you might consider including air drag. If you are considering what happen inside the gun in terms of hairspray and oxygen combustion, pressure buildup, frictional drag on the potato, effect of potato shape, acceleration of potato, the problem is much more meaty, but also much more complicated.
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