Saturday, 2 July 2011

The Alcohol-Fueled Whoosh Rocket

Why dont you send something yours into space

Here’s something different: the alcohol-fueled whoosh rocket. It is volatile so keep a small fire extinguisher at hand.

You will need:

• 2-liter plastic soda-pop bottle

• Duct tape

• Pliers

• Electric drill

• Disposable ballpoint pen

• Wire clothes hanger

• Small amount of isopropanol alcohol—this is known as rubbing alcohol and can be found at drug stores
• Eyedropper or pipette

• Cable tie

• A long taper (with which to light the rocket)

• Matches or lighter

• Safety gloves and goggles

• If you wish to add fins, follow steps 2–7 of project 1.2 and add them after step 2

Step 1

Unscrew the cap from the soda-pop bottle and carefully drill a hole about 3/8 inch (10 mm) diameter through its center. Then screw the cap back onto the bottle.

Step 2

Dismantle the ballpoint pen and separate its outer tube from the inner pieces. Duct tape the tube onto the bottle, as shown in the diagram.

Step 3

Use the pliers to bend the coat hanger into the shape of a launcher, as shown. The straight segment sticking up at an angle (labeled below) should be kept absolutely straight. Attach a cable tie on the straight segment, leaving enough room for the tube of the ballpoint pen to just fit on the straight segment.

Step 4

From this step onward, take the rocket outside to an open space. Put on the gloves and goggles. Using the eyedropper, carefully squeeze four drops of the alcohol into the bottle. Replace the cap on the bottle and shake to mix the vapor with the air.

Step 5

Slide the ballpoint-pen tube onto the straight segment of the launcher so that it rests on the cable tie. Place the launcher on a flat piece of ground far away from any objects or people.

To Launch Your Rocket

Light the taper and hold the flame to the vapor that will be emerging from the hole in the bottle cap. The rapid combustion of the alcohol vapor will cause increased pressure inside the bottle, and this pressure will vent through the hole in the cap, causing lift. As the pressure releases, a distinct whoosh.

Firing Report

The whoosh is just as satisfying as you might expect, and the flight, though brief, is very fast. Any structural addition in the form of fins will be decorative only—with this rocket, blink and you miss it. You’ll find, though, that it’s well worth repeated flights.


  1. I like very much your way of presentation. I am so much interested to join your network. Thanks for sharing this post. Keep blogging.

  2. Sure but this blog is still under construction