1N22.33 - Rocket Car - Little Cart

See first paragraph of procedure.
See second paragraph of procedure.
Code Number:
Demo Title:
Rocket Car - Little Cart
Action & Reaction
Area of Study:
Rocket Cart, Sail, Rocket Motors, Engine Igniters and Battery Pack.

Secure a rocket engine into the rocket car with the thumb screw. Insert a electric igniter fuse into the motor and ignite the engine . The car will travel about 30 to 50 feet, depending on the surface its on. (Do this on cement to minimize damage to the floor.) 

Next attach the ceramic plate to the car and then observe the car as the motor pushes against the plate as it is attached to the car. The plate may have to be changed periodically as the motors will eventually burn through. B6-0 or C6-0 booster motors work well because they are almost smokeless but others may also be used.  

  • Thomas A. Dooling, "An Eight-Parameter Function for Simulating Model Rocket Engine Thrust Curves", TPT, Vol. 45, # 5, May 2007, p. 280.
  • Darren L. Hitt and Mary L. Lowe, "Motion Analysis of a Rocket-Propelled Truck", TPT, Vol. 34, # 3, p. 164-168, March 1996.
  • Floyd Hold, George Amann, "Apparatus for Teaching Physics - A "Rocket" Cart", TPT, Vol. 27, # 7, Oct. 1989, p. 560.
  • Henry A. Taitt, Charles E. Miller, Jr., "Impulse Recorded for Model Rocket Engines", TPT, Vol. 18, # 4, Apr. 1980, p. 315.
  • Tim C. Ingoldsby, "Rocket Sled Demonstration", TPT, Vol. 13, # 7, Oct. 1975, p. 435.
  • Erwin F. Shrader, "Two Quantitative Lecture Demonstrations Concerning Linear Momentum", AJP, 33, 10, Oct. 1965, p. 784.
  • M-566, "Cart and Fire Extinguisher", DICK and RAE Physics Demo Notebook.
  • Mh-1: Freier and Anderson,  A Demonstration Handbook for Physics.
  • Brad Collette, "Jet-Propelled Pine-Wood Derby Car", Popular Mechanics, Sept. 2011, p. 90

Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.