Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Cosmosphere, 2017: Part 4


When we left off, we were about to enter Dr. Goddard's Lab.  To see part 1, part 2, and part 3, catch them at these links.


This live science program follows the life and exploits of liquid rocket inventor and developer Robert Goddard.

This is a replica of Dr. Goddard's lab in the 1930s, where the knowledgeable young lady showed the various steps Goddard went through to perfect his ideas of rocketry.  You can see my friend Scott on the far right of the photo.

She started with a bit of history on rocketry.

Two audiovisual systems sit on either side of the work table 

that also has a retractable screen.

Some of the images she shared drew a laugh from the audience.

Her first experiment involved a huge ball of cotton that I failed to get a photo of.

She then saturated the cotton with liquid oxygen.  I mentioned in part 3 we would revisit liquid oxygen that caused the Apollo 1 fire.

There was no spark here, only cotton and oxygen intermixing to create

what looked like a special effect in a movie or video.

I wish I could remember what she said, but I believe it was something like where was the bang.  Of course, I could be wrong, because these pictures were shot in April.

I was glad I took a photo of the liquid oxygen, which was flammable, though.

She performed the same experiment again

and this time I got a picture of the cotton ball,

as well as the special effects.

She went on to show that even though the liquid oxygen was cold to the touch, it was now harmless.  She even threw the oxygen on the floor in front of us.

Her next experiment,

for which she donned head gear

had her removing the cotton ball from the liquid oxygen

and setting it on fire.  Of course I was so engrossed in the experiment, I missed the flash and bang.

Fortunately, I caught part of it when she shared the results again on the screen.

I loved when she pulled out the "sekrut rokit fuel."  My spell checker went nuts, though!

For this experiment,

she shook the liquid oxygen

then grabbed an empty water bottle which she then put in the caged frame on the work table.  Note the shield has been lifted.  Once the plastic water bottle had been placed in the frame, the liquid oxygen that had been shaken was sprayed into the empty bottle.   Because the oxygen was expanding in the bottle, the molecules had no place to go and began to excite.

The young lady lit a match, the oxygen caught fire

and rocketry was on its way to new heights (pun intended).

Goddard also proved Newton's law of action and reaction, because once the fire shot forward and exited the bottle, the bottle flew backward to the back of the frame.

The next set-up involved a de Laval nozzle, also known as a convergent-divergent nozzle.  This invention was crucial to Goddard because it allowed him to increase the efficiency of his rockets by converting energy of the gas into forward motion.

First a balloon was placed on a vial of liquid oxygen

and allowed to fill.

When it reached its maximum size,

the balloon was attached to one side of the

de Laval nozzle.

The presenter did the same thing a second time and placed it on the other side of the de Laval nozzle.

Then she put on ear plugs

and warned us that not only did the de Laval nozzle increase the gas's velocity, it also compresses it, causing the gas to reach supersonic speed, which also causes a loud noise. 

You can see the effects of the gas on the release of fuel (liquid oxygen), which shows white on the protective screen. 

Although I sat on the front row, it didn't sound uncomfortably loud to me.

And then it was nearly over.

One final experiment

was to dump the liquid oxygen that had been bubbling through the entire presentation onto the hall carpet.

Of course, the children wanted to play in it

before it disappeared.

And as quickly as it started, it was all over.  It's probably a good thing, because both boys were really bored at the end.  What was an exciting experience for adults (OK, THIS adult), was far too long for their bored minds that wanted to get on to bigger and better things.

Next up are the planetarium and the theater.    We never did get back to see the planets or the cool interactive displays in this hallway because the events we paid extra for were packed so close together, there was no time to truly enjoy the museum.

Thanks for joining me today.  I hope this wasn't too boring for you.  I really learned a lot and saw how my knowledge of physics and calculus could be applied in Dr. Goddard's lab.

10 thoughtful remarks:

froebelsternchen Susi said...

Wow.. such interesting shows there ... really a fantastic museum!
Happy weekend!

Valerie-Jael said...

This really sounds like something I would have also much enjoyed, lucky you getting to see it, what a fab visit you had. Hope your internet connection behaves itself in the next days and weeks so you won't be cut off again. Have a great weekend, hugs, Valerie

chrissie said...

Terrific pictures that took me back a way to when I was a laboratory technician in a very large comprehensive school. I had many experiments to set up over the years and some were really spectacular but a little dangerous as well. They aren't allowed for real these days so it was good to know you saw this first hand.

Thank you for sharing your visit

Love Chrissie xx

CJ Kennedy said...

I might have to plan a bucket list trip for Himself, a chemist. I know he would love the rocket fuel demonstration.

Meggymay said...

It looks a great set of experiments to see close up. I think I may have forgotten to take photos, as I watched the demonstrations.
Thank you for allowing us to come with you through your fabulous photos and descriptions, of your trip.
Yvonne xx

My name is Erika. said...

That was cool. I also find it interesting that the museum lab is all the way in Kansas when the original lab was at WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute). That's where my brother got his PhD in civil engineering and is my hometown. I wonder is Goddard had any connection to other labs after he left Worcester? I don't know much else about him. Anyhow, it is really cool display and I enjoyed this post, as the others, of the museum. Hope you have a great weekend. Hugs-Erika

Gibby Frogett said...

What a fabulous and fascinating post Elizabeth and so interesting because you have all the photos to explain everything too.
Thanks for sharing :)
Gill xx

Divers and Sundry said...

Fascinating! I look forward to your planetarium post :)

Corrine at corrinegilman.com said...

Amazing photos of the whole experiement. She sounds like a good explainer of the science, which doesn't always happen. Nice post. xox

pearshapedcrafting said...

I could imagine that at least for some of the time the children would love this! It's a pity though when something that really could get them interested goes on just a little too long! Although I suspect that this in my day would have kept my attention the whole time in these days of instant this and that it's not enough for a modern day child! Hugs, Chrisx