Project Title: Rocket Fin Optimization
BASIS Advisor: Ms. Bhattacharya
Internship Location: Hastest Solutions
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Sohail Zaidi
Fin design and associated aerodynamics play a vital role in evaluation of the overall flight performance of a rocket. This project will sample multiple fin models on rockets, with the intention of obtaining ideal fin dimensions to achieve maximum rocket flight performance. Working with Hastest Solutions, I will use two rocket simulation software packages—RockSim and OpenRocket—to manage and manipulate data. Both packages allow for creation of a virtual rocket through manipulation of a coupler, motor, and fins, implementing two NASA rocket equations for flight. The first equation, for maximum altitude: y = (1/2Mk)*ln([T - Mg - kv2] / [T - Mg]). The second equation, for time of flight: t = ([M/k]/√ [Mg/k])*arctan(v/√[Mg/k]). I will use these equations to select three specific fin designs, which will then be built as model rockets, and ultimately tested at Del Norte, California. Optimally, this project will determine the optimal fin to utilize in different weather and temperature patterns to achieve maximum altitude and Mach speed.
This week, after much preparation and time spent building my rockets, I was able to see my work come to shape. I flew my rockets on Monday, April 29th, at Del Norte California. Weather conditions were optimal, with little (2mph) wind. The launch went smoothly, and through my altimeter, I attained all the data that […]
This week I made some progress on my senior project presentation. However, since I was on vacation in Vancouver, I really made no strides in my rocket building efforts. I look forward to my rocket launch coming up, however, and I will soon conclude my project.
This week I continued to look back on my project, making sure that I did not skip out on any portions that I had to complete. After thorough analysis, we concluded that no parts have been skipped out on. I am now completely ready for the rocket launch on April 27th. For the second part […]
This week was, once again, a simple continuation of the two weeks prior. I spent this week building my third rocket, which required the same process as the ones before it. I went to the lab each day, soldering and epoxying the rocket parts just as before. This rocket employed the stratified fin model, equipped […]
This week was mostly a continuation of the week prior, where I worked on building the other two model rockets to be flown. Because I have already completed one rocket, the schedule for this week is an exact mirror of the past. I will build the rocket using epoxy and soldering methods, and then […]
Monday: I stayed at home today, because I needed a break from the constant soldering and lab work that I was undergoing. Tuesday: Today I continued the coupler sandpapering that I was working on Friday and Saturday, trying to hit the sweet spot. The work is extremely tedious, not necessarily hard but extremely time consuming. […]
This week was simply a continuation of those past. I finalized my order from Altus Metrum for the rocket fins, and I gathered supplies from SJSU to build my rocket. These include an I280 motor for rocket flight and a standard coupler/nosecone/rocket body. The three fin types that I will simulate in the model runs […]
Monday: Today I collaborated with the SJSU graduate students and we began our code for the altimeter. Although I cannot show the code because the project is in partnership with SJSU, it is fairly simple, mainly consisting of a function to calculate when the slope of rocket altitude to time traveled—dy/dt—is negative. Tuesday and […]
Monday: I began to look into altimeter implementation and parachute deployment code within my rocket. An altimeter is a device that is placed inside the rocket during flight which indicates the height of the rocket at every point throughout the flight. It is crucial for correct analysis on fin optimization. The altimeter must be […]
Monday: 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) […]
Monday: I began my research by selecting and finalizing the equations that would be relevant to this project. Two equations stood out in particular: y = (1/2Mk)*ln([T – Mgq – kv2] / [T – Mg] where y is altitude, M is mass, k is a constant, g is -9.81 m/s2, v is velocity, and T […]