The Aerodynamics of a Car

Elementary Aerodynamics Science Fair Project
Photo © 2008 Nathan Bittinger, Flickr

In a similar vein to Wong's award-winning project, Nathaniel and his friends, fans of the racing world, wondered how car design affects aerodynamics and therefore speed.

Project Overview

In order to explore this further, students are directed to build a wind tunnel to test various toy cars. Nathaniel's crew used acrylic sheets, brackets, fans, and tape to build a simple wind tunnel. You can design a model like theirs or following the links below for step-by-step instructions on other variations:

Nathaniel and his friends attached 25 streamers to each toy vehicle tested in order to determine drag. They hypothesized that the more the streamers flattened against the vehicle, the more aerodynamic its design (and the less drag it presented). After each test, they recorded the number of streamers that stayed flat as well as the number of streamers that exhibited turbulence, rating each vehicle accordingly.

For the types of vehicles tested, their results, a helpful video, and project variations, be sure to visit Nathaniel's full post at DragonflyTV (a PBS KIDS GO! production).

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