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This week's LabZone activity
Sept. 14, 2005
A wing has a special airfoil shape. An airfoil "foils" the pulling-down force of gravity by creating the upward force of flightlift. Build your own airfoil and then find the best way to fly it.
- Index card or postcard
- Hole punch or sharp pencil
- Plastic drinking straw
- 2 bamboo skewers or 2 large metal paper clips unbent
- Base that the skewers can stick into (chunk of Styrofoam, corrugated cardboard, or even a large potato)
- Fold the card in half. Tape the top of the card down to the bottom half of the card so that about 1/4 inch (6 mm) of the bottom shows. This is an airfoil shape.
- Use the hole punch (or a sharp pencil) to put two sets of holes in the thickest part of the airfoil.
- Cut the straw so you get two pieces 2 inches (5 cm) long. Fit these mini-straws through the holes in the airfoil.
- Set the airfoil on the base and slip a skewer or unbent paper clip through each of the mini-straws and into the base.
- Use the hairdryer to move air over the airfoil and create lift. Try it both wayswith the flat side of the airfoil on the bottom and on the top. In which position does the airfoil best climb the skewers?
Activity excerpted by permission of Independent Publishers Group from The Wright Brothers for Kids: How They Invented the Airplane: 21 Activities Exploring the Science and History of Flight by Mary Kay Carson. Published by Chicago Review Press, distributed by Independent Publishers Group (www.ipgbook.com). Copyright © 2003 by Mary Kay Carson.
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