I went out and bought a baking soda rocket to experiment with for my daughter. It was cheap, and when she saw it, she was excited.
I was excited because I saw possibilities far beyond the box.
If you aren’t familiar, a baking soda rocket has a cavity that you fill up with vinegar and a base that you place baking soda in. When the pressure builds up enough, the rocket pops off and travel some height before coming back down.
The box itself bills it as an experiment to test different amounts and ratios of baking soda and vinegar to get maximum height, but I knew of so many more variables.
Here’s some variables I saw right off that bat:
- Friction at the interface of the base and the rocket
- Packing shape of the propellant (Baking soda in this case)
- Tightness of the seal at the interface
- Temperature of the vinegar
I could probably list more.
When we started, the rocket was lackluster. Even its normal connections leaked and so much pressure was lost. It popped off about 5 to 6 feet. My daughter and the neighborhood kids who had never seen much before were excited, but I knew more was possible.
I went to get some pipe thread tape. I taped the base to seal better and where the fins screwed on to ensure there was nothing that could leak in that direction either. Once pressure was staying in the body, the results were 5-10X larger! Flying above the tall trees in the backyard!
All of those other items then became experiments to toy around with and create even more excitement.
For even something so basic, there were ways to get dramatic results differences. If you wanted to go even deeper than what we did and start building your own baking soda rockets you could also work on shape, weight, designing extra stages of propulsion and more. The options are limitless.
This extends far beyond a baking soda rocket to nearly any aspect of life. There are more options than you can dream of if you pick what you want to look at, and continue to improve upon it.