For our experiment we decided to make three different gliders. We had a very difficult decision in what to make. First we thought that we were going to make a submarine but with our lack of experience in engineering, we concluded that it would not be a wise decision. So at the very last minute, we chose to make three different gliders. One of them being a Mark one with a light weight. The second being a Mark one as well but with a heavy weight. The third being the Mark two. The Mark two glider was a bit more complicated. It consisted of four different pieces of Plexiglas compared to the Mark one gliders, which only had one. With each glider we tested the maximum distance it could travel in a pool from different depths in the pool. We launched the gliders at water level, at the top of the window, and at the bottom of the window. If you did not know, there is a window on the side of the pool and the top is about 5 feet down from the surface of the water. For each height we did two trials to make sure that the data was accurate. If a glider went 6 feet and then 7 feet and then 14 feet, we would take out the third trial from our data because there was obviously an error in the launch.

The results showed that the Mark two glider generally performed the best and went the farthest distance. However, when the Mark one glider with the light weight was launched at the bottom of the window, it actually performed surprisingly well. Part of the reason for this was that when the gliders landed, they would slide along the bottom of the pool until they came to a complete stop because of the shape of the pool. The shape of the pool definitely altered the accuracy of the data because the bottom of the pool would slope down making the drain in the middle of the pool the deepest point. To fix this problem, Patrick would swim along with the gliders and at the first point that the gliders would hit the bottom; he would measure that distance with the tape measure. We launched the gliders from the wall because the window is in the wall and we needed to press the glider up against it to make sure of the accuracy of the depth.

If we were to redesign this experiment, overall, I think we would take a lot more time to cut out the Plexiglas. Since we used a jigsaw, it was extremely difficult to cut the Plexiglas in a straight line. It would consistently crack and shatter in different parts. From spending many class periods cutting the shape of the gliders, we finally got fed up and had to rush to get the gliders done. This may have affected the outcome of the experiment a bit. Since the edges were a little jagged and the front was not quite so hydrodynamic, the gliders could curve left or right.

There are many other experiments that you can create with these gliders. You can do tests on the speed of the gliders. For example: How fast can the three gliders travel straight for ten feet (in feet per second). If you alter the gliders you can test the turning radius. On the Mark two glider you may attach a rudder made from duct tape to test the turning ability as well.

We learned many important lessons and facts while testing our gliders underwater. First we learned that you must be extremely organized to achieve a certain task. One must always be prepared to have back-ups in case that your experiment fails or breaks. You have to work diligently and quickly because the time in the water may not be sufficient to complete the experiment. You always have to make sure that you and your partner communicate before you get into the water because it is very difficult to converse underwater. We also learned a very valuable lesson that will help us later in life. Always expect the unexpected or in other words think of the worst possible scenario that could occur and be prepared for it. In our case, one of the washers fell off of one of our gliders the day before we left for Long Beach. If this had happened at Long Beach we would have lost a big piece of our data and about one third of our whole experiment. Because this happened we brought a hot glue gun and extra tape to Long Beach just in case an incident like that happened again.

 

 

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