Balloon powered car racers are driven by air coming from a deflating balloon. Instead of using electricity, these cars make use of the Law of Action and Reaction. The car is propelled forward, as a result of the air coming from an inflated balloon. As a reaction to the force produced by the escaping air, a force acts towards the opposite direction thereby pushing the car racer forward.
Although balloon powered car racers have been around for quite a while, studies are still being made to maximize the distance and the speed with which these cars can travel. The designs are still being optimized so that the cars will be lightweight and durable. In 1998, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory held its first annual balloon powered car race. In that event, the cars were propelled by either inflation of elastic methods . A lot of designs came up. The entries were judged according to factors like the distance covered, the speed and the creativity of the design. Other schools use balloon powered cars to show how Newton’s Laws work. Some even require the students to use recycled materials . All these are geared towards a concrete demonstration of both Newton’s Laws and caring for the environment.
In this day and age of constant threat to our environment, various ways of reducing air pollution and energy consumption are being explored. Cars whose emissions are part of the factors that contribute to air pollution, are being modified to be more environment-friendly. For more than 10 years now, researches on hybrid cars have been made, with Japan, US and some European countries as the spearheads. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is constantly looking for ways to improve this new technology . However, these cars are expensive to produce. Majority of the population, especially here in the Philippines, cannot afford a highly energy efficient and environment friendly vehicle. Also, problems like the disposal of tons of electric car batteries will arise.
This research aims to address this problem by investigating the parameters that affect the efficiency of balloon powered car racers.
Motion occurs when an object changes its location in space. It is defined as the continuous change in position . The distance traveled by a moving object is the length of the path covered by the object. The rate of motion is usually referred to as speed. It describes how far an object travels in a given period of time.
Objects move the way they do because they obey the laws of motion. Sir Isaac Newton formulated the three laws of motion: the Law of Inertia, the Law of Mass and Acceleration, and the Law of Action and reaction .
Inertia is the tendency of matter to resist a change in its state of motion. It is the property of matter that keeps an object in motion if it is moving, or at rest if it is not moving, unless acted upon by an external force . Inertia serves as a measurement of how difficult it is to change the state of motion of an object . It is dependent upon the mass of an object. The greater the mass of a body, the greater is the inertia, and the greater its tendency to resist a change in its state of motion.
The law of mass and acceleration describes how an object changes its motion when a force is applied to it. The acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the magnitude of the force applied on the object and inversely proportional to the object’s mass.