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Glides across the floor on a cushion of air.

This version of the classic project uses easily obtained parts and is faster/easier for kids to inflate -that means more FUN!
Tools and Materials:
  • Electric Drill
  • Hot Glue Gun or Hot Glue Pot (preferred)
  • Plastic Drinking Straw
  • Drill bit - the same size as the drinking straw
  • CD (or cardboard disc the same size as CD with hole in center)
  • Plastic bottle cap (2 liter size)
  • 12" balloon

Procedure

  1. Drill a hole in the bottle cap.
  2. Glue the bottle cap to the center of CD or disc (rightside up).
  3. Stretch neck of balloon over cap.
  4. Insert straw through hole in cap and inflate the balloon.
  5. Pinch the neck of balloon to hold in air, remove the straw and place the completed Hovercraft on a flat surface.

Result:  Pressurized air flows out of the bottom of the hovercraft which lifts it off the floor slightly.  Friction is reduced and the hovercraft can glide easily across the floor

Cool Tip:  Set up a big fan and have hovercraft races.  Try different types and sizes of balloons.  Predict if the Hovercraft will travel shorter or farther with these changes and then test your hypothesis.

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The Science:
A cushion of air reduces friction allowing the Hovercraft to easilly glide across surfaces.  Give the hovercraft a push and its inertia continues its movement in the direction of the push.