Engineering >> Mechanical Engineering

Simulation of Model Rocket Flight

by Sean Nieto


Submitted : Spring 2012

In order to calculate the velocity and height of a model rocket without using physical measurements Euler’s method was applied to rocket propulsion equations which included the drag forces created by the force of gravity, body of the rocket and air density. Using a thrust curve graph for an Estes A8-3 model rocket engine a table in a spreadsheet was created separating the thrust values into small time intervals and extending it a few seconds past the burn time to allow for the maximum height reached including the distance traveled strictly from the momentum of the rocket.

After inputting all of the equations and values needed for the spreadsheet to compute the velocity and height of the rocket using Euler’s method, the maximum height was found to be 21.18 meters and was reached at 2.52 seconds into the simulated flight. According to the thrust curve diagram the burn time of the engine was just over 0.7 seconds so the rocket would still travel vertically for just over 1.8 seconds after the burn. The maximum altitude for this flight was calculated to be low because the rocket dimensions are larger than what would normally be used for this size of engine.



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Advisors :
Thomas Bieske, Mathematics and Statistics
Scott Campbell, Chemical & Biomedical Engineering
Suggested By :
Scott Campbell