DIY: Balloon Car

A balloon car is a simple and fun educational project that can be easily done at home.

Photo Source & Credit: Universe Simplified

Worksheet for Educators to be used in-class.

Materials Required:

No Material Qty Vendor
1 Balloon  1 Local Stationery
2 Piece of cardboard 1 Scrap
3 Straws 2 Local Stationery
4 Spoke 2 Wooden Skewers
5 Wheels 4 Can use bottle caps
6 Small rubber band 1 Local Stationery
7 Tape 1 Local Stationery
8 Scissors 1 Local Stationery

Steps to make:

Step 1: Cut out a small piece of cardboard using a scissor.

Step 2: Cut one straw into two pieces and stick both pieces to the bottom side of the cardboard as shown below.

Step 3: Slide the two spokes through the two straws.

Step 4: Attach the 4 wheels to both sides of the two spokes.

Step 5: Attach the balloon to the other long straw with the help of the rubber band.

Step 6: Tape the straw attached to the balloon to the top side of the cardboard.

Step 7: Fill the balloon with air and put it on the ground.

Working Principal:

When the air from the balloon is released in one direction, an equal force is applied to the body of the car in the exact opposite direction propelling the car forward.

Concepts Explored:

  1. A balloon car works on Newton’s Third Law of Motion which states that Every force has an equal and opposite reaction.
  2. The workshop also demonstrates Newton’s Second Law of Motion which states that Force is a product of Mass and Acceleration. This means that heavier that balloon car, lesser will be its speed and vice versa.
  3. Friction

Real Life Applications of the Principle:

  1. Rockets
  2. Rowing of a boat

Reasons why the Balloon Car may not work:

  1. Check if the spokes have been slid through the straws and not taped directly to the cardboard.
  2. There should be no friction between the wheels and the cardboard.
  3. The balloon should not touch the ground else it will cause friction.
  4. If you are testing in the open, if there is too much wind, the balloon car may not move.

Further External Resources:

  1. Video – Arvind Gupta – How to make a Balloon Car
  2. Step by step instructions – Wikihow – How to make a Balloon Car

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