Hovercrafts are very unique vehicles that can travel on land, water, and even ice. They make use of strong fans to blow air below the craft creating a pocket of air for it to rest on. When the craft travels across the ground, it is not sliding completely on the rough surface of the ground, it lifts up and floats on a pocket of air. Now you can build your own balloon hovercraft.
The instructions below will show you how to build your very own hovercraft.
- 1 balloon
- 1 CD
- A bottle cap with a pop-up spout from a water bottle
- Hot glue gun with a glue stick
- Eye protection
Note: This project involves the use of a hot glue gun which is very hot. It is recommended that an adult perform the steps involving the hot glue gun.
- Take the bottle cap apart where just the spout is remaining.
- Center the wide end of the cap over the hole in the CD and glue it in place. Make sure to add a bead of hot glue around the entire circumference of the cap to prevent air from escaping.
- Wait about two minutes for the glue to harden.
- Inflate the balloon and twist the end to prevent air form squeezing out of it.
- Very carefully, stretch the opening of the balloon over the top of the bottle cap.
- Let go of the balloon and watch your hovercraft float on a cushion of air. You can push it to give it direction. Make sure the neck of the balloon is straight up and is not leaning. If it leans over, it will restrict the airflow out and your hovercraft won’t work as well.
- Try pushing the hovercraft while the balloon is inflated and then try pushing it after the balloon deflates. Which one is easier to push and why?
- When the air is being forced out of the balloon, it creates a cushion of air that he CD rests on top of. When the balloon is not on top of the cushion of air, it sits directly on top of the surface. Moving around on a cushion of air is much easier because the friction has been greatly reduced.
- Try to get your hovercraft to move on a hard surface like a table, then try to push it on a softer and rougher surface like carpet. Which one is easier to push and why?
- A flat and smooth surface only allows the air to escape evenly in all directions so the cushion is pretty much the same under the CD. On a surface like a carpet, the air does not escape evenly in all directions which means the CD may touch the carpet on one side while the other is floating on air. Some of the air is also lost in between the fibers of the carpet. When part of the CD touches the carpet, it increases the friction which slows the hovercraft down.
- Decorate your hovercraft and make it look awesome.
- If you want to share pictures of your hovercraft, post pictures of it on the Eureka Ridge Facebook page.