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Homework Help: Nose cone for rocket competition

  1. Mar 17, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Hello was wondering what nose cone I should put on my rocket. We need to reach around 800ft, any higher/lower and points are deducted. I don't know whether to go with a rounded cone, parabola I've seen or a pointed cone...

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I know I could go test each however that means more work to be done in a limited time frame. I've done some research and it says rounded cones are better. Just thought I'd like to see your thoughts.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF.

    I'd think that reaching exactly 800 feet high would depend less on the nosecone shape, and more on some sort of control mechanism. Are you allowed to play out a thin wire from your rocket that is attached to the ground?
  4. Sep 12, 2017 #3
    I know this is an old thread, but I recently encountered a similar problem. Intuitively, one would expect a pointy nose cone to have the least drag. However, it turns out that a rounded nose cone is best for sub-sonic flight. That's why you see rounded nose cones on subsonic aircraft like jet liners and cruise missiles, and pointy nose cones on supersonic jet fighters. Here is an article that shows experimental tests of altitude for the same rocket fitted with different shape nose cones.

    For the problem of reaching 800 feet exactly, the nose cone is the least of your concerns. The thrust, thrust duration, overall drag coefficient, fin shape, and tail shape (for a model rocket, most of the drag comes from the rear end) all contribute to the final altitude. You need a good rocket simulator to take it all into account.
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