Oxyhydrogen Rocket

Plastic pipette is used for preparation of a rocket. Explosion of oxyhydrogen gas is initiated in the rocket with a piezo igniter.

Two test tubes, small beaker, two single stands, two plastic pipettes, 3 syringe needles, scissors, isolation tape, 10 mL syringe, glue, peaces of paper for rocket fins, cigarette lighter with a piezo element, hot silicon glue gun, two peaces of wood, wires with crocodile clamps.

2 grains Zn, 2 mL 1:1 HCl, 5 % hydrogen peroxide, grain of 1:1 cement MnO2 (according to prof. Viktor Obendrauf).

Safety tips
Ware safety goggles. Syringe needle tip is sharp! The students must be careful while piercing the pipette’s bulb and the tip must be cut off.
Always use syringe needles with wide diameter (0.8 mm -1.2 mm) in order to avoid case of clogging when there is possible reaction of reagent with the needle metal. Due to the corrosive nature of concentrated acid a special care should be taken (wear rubber gloves and safety goggles).

Step A: Make a piezo igniter
Cut the wire with two crocodile clips in two. Remove a part of isolation of these two peaces. Put one of the wire trough the hole in the wooden peace. Pull it with tweezers  and place it around the metal base of the piezo element. Connect the other wire with the piezo wire. Before fixing the position of the elements with glue check whether the piezo element is producing spark. If it is works heat the glue gun and add small amount of glue in the hole from below. Connect the other part with the wire that comes from the piezo element and fixed it with silicon glue to the wood surface.

Step B: preparing the rocket
Cut the pipette bulb from a plastic pipette. Make paper fins and glue them on the pipette bulb. Leave it to dry.

Fig. 1. Hydrogen rocket filling with “fuel”

Step C: Make a lancer
Attach a double wire to cylindrical stick and fix it with a sticking tape. Place the stick to the hole of the wooden stand and connect the wires with the crocodile clips.

Step D. Prepare 10 mL gas mixture of 2 parts hydrogen and one part oxygen in a 10 mL syringe.

Step E. Launching the rocket
Place a needle on 10 mL syringe with the mixture of hydrogen and oxygen. Then, place the rocket on the needle and fill the rocket with the “fuel” (Fig. 1). After that place the rocket on the launcher and press the piezo igniter. Do not stay above the rocket or do not point it to someone during the launching.