Rocket Model: Friction

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Think like a designer and design a rocket to the moon.

Missions to the moon help scientists understand how gravitational forces affect life on earth, from tides to energy consumption. But rockets face a major challenge on their way to the moon: friction.

In this engineering challenge, you can design a rocket with an aerodynamic shape and surface to minimize friction drag, and maximize stability and fuel efficiency.You will learn skills that engineers at NASA use every day at work: researching technical requirements, sketching 3D models, applying principles of aerodynamics, and presenting a finished 3D model rocket engineered for a successful moon mission.
With creativity and critical thinking, you will create a sleek rocket that’s ready for takeoff—and launch careers in 3D design, physics, and engineering.

Inspire others and share your rocket design on the Autodesk Digital Steam Workshop.

rocket 09

Project Brief – Friction: Rocket Model

It’s all about the tools and the process!
“Design thinking” linked to this project starts by formulating and answering the following key questions:
• What is the purpose of the rocket?
• Is the rocket designed for reentry into earth’s atmosphere?
• How will surface or skin friction influence drag on the rocket?
• What is the purpose of adding fins to the rocket?
• How does the addition of fins impact friction and drag on the rocket?
• What type of payload will the rocket be transporting?
• How does the design of the nose cone relate to drag on the rocket?
• How does the circumference and the length of the rocket relate to the generation of friction and drag?
• What are the advantages of maintaining a smooth outer surface on the rocket?
• What is the relationship between thrust of the rocket and the negative consequences of friction and drag?
• Will friction and drag impact the rocket after it leaves the earth’s atmosphere?

Friction plays a vital role in the design and operation of countless products and systems. Without friction, a car could not operate and people on earth could not walk. In some instances, you want to take advantage of friction. For example, friction is the primary force that enables a car’s brakes to operate. The friction between the earth’s surface and the wheels on a skateboard allow board riders to land some incredible tricks. While there are many positive applications for friction, there are, however, many instances where you want to minimize friction. For example, reducing friction is critical in the design of mechanical systems, such as the internal components of car engines, where reducing friction through lubrication increases energy performance and the life of the engine. It is hoped that after completing the technical video, you will be ready to develop your own design that incorporates a solid understanding of friction.

Design considerations used in the example project are as follows:

• Purpose: Design a space rocket.
• Target Destination: Earth’s moon.
• Size limitations: Maximum length of 20 feet.
• Materials to be used: Metal surface cladding.
• Scheduling requirements: 1–2 hours to complete technical videos.

This projects develops the understanding of the following concepts:

• Friction is a force that resists motion when two objects or surfaces come in contact. This resistance is often used to allow many products or systems to operate. For example, friction is used to create braking in vehicle systems or prevent people from falling as they ascend or descend a staircase.
• The reduction of friction in mechanical systems is often a critical environmental sustainability practice. The safe and efficient operation of giant wind turbines to produce renewable energy relies on keeping the friction generated by the massive rotating blades to a minimum.
• Designers and engineers will often consider the coefficient of friction of two materials to achieve certain goals such as producing a conveyor system that can be used to move heavy loads in a horizontal direction with minimal friction, thereby reducing the amount of force needed to be applied.
• Friction plays an important role in the movement of objects through fluid mediums such as air and water. In order to fly, aircraft are designed to take into account four types of forces, weight, lift, thrust, and drag. The surface or skin friction of an aircraft must be considered as a major factor in determining the drag in aircraft.
• The atmosphere on Mars is much thinner than Earth’s atmosphere; this difference must be considered when considering how friction and air resistance can influence the design of products and systems.

After completing this lesson, you will be able to demonstrate growth in the following areas.

Process, Skills, and Knowledge
• Effectively interact with the 123D Design user interface.
• Demonstrate an ability to use 2D sketch tools in the software.
• Demonstrate an ability to use 3D form-generation tools in the software.
• Demonstrate an ability to assemble components using constraints.
• Demonstrate an ability to alter material/finish choices for a model.
• Demonstrate an ability to apply commands such as patterns, scale, and mirroring of geometry.
• Understand the potential of converting 123D models into physical prototypes via technologies that include 3D printing and laser cutting facilitated by Autodesk® 123D® Make.
• Explain the different types of friction.
• Explain how the reduction of friction is critical in the operation of products and other mechanical systems.
• Explain the relationship between friction and the production of drag in objects or bodies (for example, aircraft and boats) that move through fluids.
• Explain how strategies for the reduction of friction are an important dimension of sustainable design.
• Explain the relationship between the resistive forces of friction and the applied forces needed to overcome them.
• Explain the significance of coefficient of friction as it pertains to how products and systems operate.
• Explain how friction is proportional to weight.