Week 3: Continued Simulations and Many Phone Calls

Mar 11, 2019


I continued simulating with RockSim and OpenRocket, defining relationships between different rocket alterations and the resulting altitude. For example, I established that—all else equal—the optimal amount of fins on a rocket for optimal flight was 4, and that the optimal fin cross section shape is that of airfoil.


Number of Fins Apogee (m) Fin Cross Section (Shape) Apogee (m)
1 107 Square 237
2 107 Rounded 246
3 249 Airfoil 249
4 244
5 239
6 234
7 230
8 225




I attempted to contact my professor, informing him of the results of my simulations, but he replied back telling me that he was on a trip. He will be on that trip for the next two weeks, and he gave me 3 tasks to complete.


  1. Finish Simulations, including optimal fin rotation angle and optimal fin material.
  2. Graph those simulations—basic graphs are fine
  3. Figure out where to order all of the materials to build the optimal fins derived from these simulations



I began wrapping up simulations, running trials for the two categories that my professor told me to do.


Fin Rotation (º) Apogee (m) Thickness of Fin (cm) Apogee (m) Fin Material Apogee (m)
90 249 0.1 253 Balsa 246
80 249 0.2 245 Depron 249
70 249 0.3 237 Styrofoam (0.032g/cm/cm/cm) 249
60 249 0.4 230
50 249 0.5 224
40 249 0.6 218
30 249 0.7 212
20 249 0.8 206


Thursday: I graphed the two relationships that my professor asked for. (They don’t show on WordPress).


I spent the day calling different fin design companies about potentially designing fins for my project. I called the three that my professor and I had decided on last week: Altus Metrum, Glenmarc, and Noris Rocketry. While I did not decide on one company just yet, I got an idea of the cost necessary to build my rocket.









3 Replies to “Week 3: Continued Simulations and Many Phone Calls”

  1. Edrea J. says:

    Your project seems to be going steadily. I’m just curious about a few points. I was wondering how your findings differ from the designs of current rockets (if there is any difference). And, have you tested how the different components work together? For example, if you test different combinations of fin thickness and number of fins, will the combination 0.3 cm and 3 fins result in the greatest apogee?

  2. Chethan B. says:

    Looks like there’s reasonable variation in rocket performance which means your project could have a significant impact. It’s great that you’re not restricting yourself to simulation alone and trying to get real rockets.

  3. Shiven G. says:

    After running the simulations, will you test them in a wind tunnel to compare the simulation vs. reality?

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