Fizzy bottle rockets

Danielle and Michael make self-propelled rockets out of juice bottles in an adventure playground, and learn how a chemical reaction which produces gas can be used to propel a rocket.

Aims

Make a self-propelled rocket from a juice bottle.

ExpeRiment with the ‘fuel’ for the rocket.

Learn how a chemical reaction which produces gas can be used to propel a rocket.

  • Media

    Small (500ml or less) drinks bottle with a sports cap lid which pops open (the 200ml and 300ml Fruit Shoot bottles worked particularly well).
    Fizzy headache or vitamin tablets (Alka Seltzer or Berocca type tablets).
    Mug or glass or jar that allows upside-down bottle to fit inside, with lid touching bottom.
    Warm water from the hot tap.

About this activity

Danielle and Michael make explosive rockets fly with the children at an adventure playground. By putting fizzy headache/vitamin tablets into a bottle with a sports cap, they make incredible bottle missiles. As gas builds up inside the bottle, pressure increases until the lid pops. When this happens, the lid pushes against the ground, pushing the bottle upwards. The liquid firing out of the bottle pushes it further, just like the gases coming out of a real rocket.
You can do this free science activity at home with just some bottles and fizzy headache/vitamin tablets. Experiment with different types of tablets, different bottle shapes, and the temperature of the water.
This activity was filmed at the Waterside Adventure Playground in Islington. This series of ExpeRimental is supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

For more on the science of this activity, download the infosheet.

This series of ExpeRimental is supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Don't forget to download the badges and certificates for afterwards! Share photos and videos of your experiments on our Facebook page.

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