Propeller Car

Can a wind-powered car drive into the wind?

  • What makes a wind turbine move?
  • Which forces make a wind turbine move?

Build the Propeller Car model, and let’s find out...

  • Building instructions book, pages 104 - 122

Experiment 1: Into the Wind

  • Place your propeller car on the starting line, facing toward the fan.
  • Turn on the fan and observe what happens.
  • Now add the extra blades to the propeller and repeat the experiment.
  • What happened?
    • Did it move faster or slower?
    • Which combination of propeller blades worked best?
  • Record your results on your worksheet.

Experiment 2: Downwind

  • The top gearbox of your propeller car can be adjusted to make the car move in different directions.
  • Experiment with other gearbox combinations to get your car to travel downwind.
  • Which one worked the best?

Experiment 3: More Fan Blades

  • Try the 6-bladed propeller (see page 3 of the building instructions book for a hint).

What did you find out?

  • Which forces did you observe?
  • Was there a pattern?
  • Don't forget to record your observations in your science notebook.