Showing posts with label Science. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science. Show all posts

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Fire Arrow

We just learned about the Specific Impulse.

Some of the first rockets that were made came from China over a thousand years ago, after the invention of gunpowder.

These were known as Fire Arrows.

At first people just had the idea to tie an explosive ball of gunpowder to the arrow that would blow up after the arrow was shot with a bow.
Later on someone figured out how to use the gunpowder as a solid propellant for the rocket in a wooden tube as the propellant tank, and use the burning of the gunpowder to thrust the arrow up higher and farther.

(from: wikipedia - fire arrow)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Burr

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Specific Impulse

We just learned about Rocket Engine Thrust.

Another part of rocket science is called the Specific Impulse.

This is a way for scientists to measure how fast a rocket moves along, combined with how fast it uses up it's fuel as the rocket engine is blasting off.

The rocket can only burn up so much fuel before it runs out, so the more thrust the rocket for every little drop of its fuel really matters!

(from: wikipedia - specific impulse)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Grinding

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Rocket Engine Thrust

We just learned about the Rocket Engine.

Another part of rocket science is the Thrust.

We learned that a rocket has propellant in a tank, and an engine that burns up that propellant and pushes the burning fuel out the back of the rocket at the nozzle.

As the fuel is being burned and pushed out of the nozzle, the rocket is pushed along through the air.
That push is called THRUST.

Some rocket engines have a lot of thrust and make rockets go very fast, blasting off into outer space.
Others only have a little bit of thrust, but they are very careful about exactly how much thrust they make in the right direction, like for steering a rocket.

Scientists have to know exactly how much thrust a rocket will have, so they know how much propellant they need, and how big of a tank to use and the shape of the nozzle.

(from: wikipedia - rocket engine)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Hole Saw

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Rocket Engine

We just learned about the rocket's Combustion Chamber.

So we know about the rocket propellant, the propellant tank, the combustion chamber and the nozzle.

When these pieces are all put together it makes the Rocket Engine.

The engine is all of those pieces working together to push the rocket along up into the sky.

(from: wikipedia - rocket engine)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Twist Drill Bits

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Combustion Chamber

We just learned about the Rocket Propellant Tank.

Another part of a rocket is the Combustion Chamber.

We've learned about the propellant tank that holds the propellant, which is the fuel to make the rocket blast off.
Usually with solid propellants, the propellant tank is the same place where the fuel burns up and pushes the rocket along.
With liquid or gas propellants, the tank is usually separate, and there are tubes and pipes that bring the propellant into another area where the fuel burns up and pushes the rocket along.

This tank where things are burning up is called the Combustion Chamber.
Combustion basically just means burning up or even exploding.

(from: wikipedia - combustion chamber)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Drill Bits

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Rocket Propellant Tank

We just learned about the Rocket Engine Nozzle.

Another part of a rocket is the Propellant Tank.

This is where the rocket fuel goes, and is usually a very large.
The tank used for the space shuttle rocket was over 150 feet tall, and weighed over 58,000 pounds empty, but over 1,680,000 pounds when filled up.

(from: wikipedia - space shuttle external tank)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Drilling

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Rocket Engine Nozzle

We just learned about the Gas Rocket Propellants.

Another part of rocket science is the Rocket Engine Nozzle.

When the rocket propellant is burning up coming out of the rocket, the nozzle makes it so that it pushes out very fast and very strong, by putting some pressure right at the end of the rocket.

This is kind of like putting your finger over the end of a water hose, to make the water spray farther.

The shape and size of the nozzle is very important.
It has to be just the right size to get the most thrust and use up just the right amount of fuel.

(from: wikipedia - rocket engine nozzle)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Boring

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Gas Rocket Propellants

We just learned about the Solid and Liquid Rocket Propellants.

Another type of propellant is Gas Rocket Propellant.

This type of propellant is the easiest to control the exact amount of fuel burned and the exact amount of thrust created.
To keep the gas stored safely and under pressure, the fuel tank in the rocket has to be very heavy, so gas is not usually used for the bigger rockets.
Gas has been used the most for little rockets that just change the direction of a rocket to the left or right.
Small rocket thrusters called Vernier Thrusters were on the sides of rockets like the SM-65 Atlas, to help it go in the right direction.

(from: wikipedia - vernier thruster)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Swarf

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Liquid Rocket Propellants

We just learned about the Solid Rocket Propellants.

Another type of propellant is Liquid Rocket Propellants.

These can be made up of liquids like gasoline, kerosene or alcohol that are liquids at regular temperatures.
They can also be things that are liquids at really cold temperatures like liquid oxygen, or liquid hydrogen.

The good thing about liquid propellants is that they are lighter than solid ones, so a rocket doesn't have to try as hard to push itself along.
The bad thing is that sometimes they have to be stored very cold in a very high pressure container, and sometimes the liquids can cause problems and eat away at the metals and rubbers that they are stored in.

The first person to make a liquid fueled rocket was Robert H. Goddard, who used gasoline and liquid oxygen to launch a rocket in 1926 in Massachusetts.

(from: wikipedia - robert h. goddard)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Threading

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Solid Rocket Propellants

We just learned that Rocket Propellant is the fuel that pushes a rocket along, and they can be solid, liquid or gas.

Solid Rocket Propellants are made up of a few different types of chemicals all mixed together.
Some parts of the mixture are to make a big explosion that will push the rocket along.
Other parts are soft and sticky almost like dough that help hold all the explosive stuff together.
Different chemicals will make bigger explosions or burn longer or hotter, so the rocket scientists have to pick the right kind of propellant for the right job.

Solid propellants are easier to store than liquid or gas, because they don't leak out much.
Also some liquid or gas propellants can eat away at the rocket tanks or rubber seals holding it in.

Solid propellants are heavier than liquid or gas, and a rocket with the same amount of liquid or gas would get more power and weigh less.
Sometimes the solid propellants can even get cracks or bubbles in the mix.
If you think about it like a big ball of playdough, any of the parts that aren't smooth, or any folds in the middle that have air pockets would cause problems.

The NASA space shuttle used two rockets with solid propellant, called the "Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs)"
At the time they were the most powerful solid rocket motors ever flown, and the two of them together weighed 2.6 million pounds.

(from: wikipedia - space shuttle solid rocket booster)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Skivving Machine

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Rocket Propellant

Let's learn a little more about Rockets!

One thing that all rockets need is something called propellant.

This is the fuel used to push a rocket through the air.
Propellants can be solid like gunpowder, liquid like water, gasoline or liquid oxygen, or they can be a gas, like compressed nitrogen, or just pressurized air.

When the rocket is started, the propellant shoots out of the rocket at a super fast speed, pushing it along.
So this could be just a long skinny water balloon that shoots out it's water, or it could be a fireworks bottle rocket that burns up it's powder and shoots fire out the back.

The propellant is the stuff inside the rocket that makes the rocket go.

(from: wikipedia - ammonium perchlorate composite propellant)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Hobbing

Thursday, March 22, 2018


We've learned a whole lot about earthquakes.
Everything from tectonic plates, to faults, to aftershocks and the Richter scale!

Let's learn a little about rockets!

Usually when people are talking about rockets, they mean the ones that fly up into the air and go into outer space.
A rocket really just means something that uses fuel in an engine to push itself forward.
So this could be a rocket on the back of a car, a rocket pushing a train, or even a rocket jet backpack!
Even a water balloon filled with air or water that flies around when it is let go is a type of rocket.

Some people think the science of learning about rockets is so hard,
that there is a saying when you want to say something is easy:
"it's not rocket science!"

(from: wikipedia - rocket)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Milling Cutter

Thursday, March 15, 2018


We just learned about the seismite.

Another part of earthquake science is Speleoseismite.

In caves there are things called stalagmites that grow from the floor, and stalactites growing from the ceiling.
Sometimes during earthquakes these break, or sometimes cave ceilings collapse.

These broken or tilted rock growths are the speleoseismites, and they can be used to study earthquakes that happened a long time ago.

(from: wikipedia - speleoseismite)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Milling

Thursday, March 8, 2018


We just learned about the Mercalli Intensity Scale.

Another interesting thing about earthquakes is Seismite.

This is a type of rock formed when an earthquake causes a bunch of sedimentary layered rocks to get messed up and deformed.

Sedimentary rocks usually look like a bunch of sideways lines stacked on top of each other.
Sometimes when an earthquake happens, the lines get squished around and sometimes look like bubbled up rocks.

That squished up rock is called seismite.

(from: wikipedia - seismite)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Lathe - Carriage

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Mercalli Intensity Scale

We just learned about the Richter Magnitude Scale.

Another measurement for earthquakes is the Mercalli Intensity Scale.

This is different than the waves going through the ground that are measured by the Richter scale.
The Mercalli scale is measuring the effects that the earthquake had on the surface and how much destruction it caused.
It was invented by the volcanologist Giuseppe Mercalli around the year 1902.

(from: wikipedia - mercalli intensity scale)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Lathe Bed

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Richter Magnitude Scale

We just learned about the Seismogram.

Another part of earthquake science is the Richter Magnitude Scale.

We learned before about how seismic waves are waves of energy that move through the earth during an earthquake.

These waves are measured using seismograms, and a man named Charles Richter came up with numbered levels to use when talking about how powerful an earthquake was.

This is kind of like the Fujita scale for tornadoes, or the Saffir Simpson scale for hurricanes.

(from: wikipedia - richter magnitude scale)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Lathe - Tailstock

Thursday, February 15, 2018


We just learned about the Seismometer.

Another part of earthquake science is the Seismogram.

These are pictures that are made by seismographs, used to show the movement of the ground on a graph.

(from: wikipedia - seismogram)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Lathe - Headstock

Thursday, February 8, 2018


We just learned about the Seismic Wave that moves through the earth.

The main tool for measuring earthquakes is called a Seismometer.

A simple way to think of a seismometer is like a weight hanging from a string.
When there is an earthquake, the weight will bounce up and down, and might also sway from side to side.

Most seismometers are electric now, like some of them that use magnets to hold a thing floating in the air, and when the thing gets moved around by the earthquake they measure how much it moves, and whether it moves forward, backward, side to side or up and down.

Older measuring tools were sometimes called seismographs or seismoscopes.

(from: wikipedia - seismometer)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Lathe

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Seismic Wave

We just learned about the Induced Seismicity.

When earthquakes happen, the waves of energy that happen as the ground moves are called Seismic Waves.

It's kind of like looking at a wave in water, and based on the size and shape of a wave scientists can learn about the type of earthquake it is.

(from: wikipedia - seismic wave)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Coke

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Induced Seismicity

We just learned about the Volcano tectonic earthquakes.

Another thing that causes earthquakes is induced seismicity, which means things that people do that cause earthquakes.
This can be drilling into the ground, building large lakes or mining.

(from: wikipedia - induced seismicity)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Fujita Scale