In this post, you will learn how to build a parachute optimized for Science Olympiad’s Ping Pong Parachute event.
Step 1: Weigh your ping pong ball
Before you begin to build your parachute it is important to first weigh the ping pong ball that you are going to use with that parachute.
Measuring the ping pong ball’s mass is essential for optimizing the parachute you use. This will become more apparent as you continue with our process.
Step 2: cut your ideal parachute
Take the parachute material you have and cut the largest parachute possible with that material. Don’t worry about the weight of your parachute yet; it is best to have your parachute weigh more than less in the beginning of the process.
Step 3: Weigh your parachute material
Now that your parachute is created, it is time to weigh your parachute. After weighing your parachute, determine how much mass must be removed from your parachute for the ping pong ball to weight the same as the parachute.
Step 4: modify and reweigh parachute
Begin cutting an equal amount of material off of each corner of your parachute until the parachute weighs the same as the ping pong ball.
Step 5: measure and cut string
Many beginners simply use the diameter of the parachute to determine the length of string necessary to effectively build a parachute. While this is an sufficient strategy, it is not the best method.
To improve your parachute it is best to cut the string to be between 3/4 and 2/3 of the parachute diameter.
Step 6: connect string to parachute
Next, connect the string to your parachute. It is important to use light and sticky tape, such as high quality masking tape or packing tape, to prevent the string from slipping off the parachute during the rocket’s high pressure launch.
Now your parachute is complete and you can attach your parachute to the ping pong ball and begin testing your device.