We are currently in a holding pattern with launches for two reasons: The weather here in Sydney has not been co-operating in the last few weeks and the regular launch site at Doonside is currently undergoing construction. The heavy machinery has torn up the access road and with the rain it has made it impassable.
Here are some recent pictures of the site:
We need to get in and help with the working bee to try to restore the site so it is suitable for launches and parking again, but due to the bad weather this was postponed again. The forecast for this weekend looks more promising with the rain stopping in the next day or so.
During earlier testing we found that a couple of the 13mm nozzles leaked slightly when the rocket was unpressurised. We are only talking a few drops of water. The o-ring grooves were fractionally too deep, and with the narrow o-rings this is more of an issue. When the boosters were pressurised the o-rings would seal properly. Dad decided to fix the issue and machined up a whole new set of nozzles.
We also decided against a guide rail for this rocket as there is no convenient place to secure it. We could attach it to the outside of one of the boosters, but it could cause more harm than good due to the potential uneven drag on that side of the rocket. The nozzles are quite long ~40mm and the fill tubes are quite a tight fit, so in the absence of a guide rail, the rocket straying from vertical could potentially wedge one of the nozzles on the fill tube causing all sorts of chaos.
We decided to machine out the top 30mm of the nozzle to be about 15mm in diameter and the nozzle hole itself by another 0.5mm. This allows the nozzle to pivot more without seizing on the fill tube. The 0.5mm increase to the nozzle gives about 8% more cross sectional area so we will get a little more thrust on take-off.
While we have been waiting for the weather to clear, we have done more static tests on the test stand of the membrane variable nozzle as a follow up to the tests done in March. We are in the process of putting all the data together at the moment so we will post all the results once they are in a meaningful form. All up there were 19 static firings made last weekend. (14 done in March)
Launch Abort Valve
After recent discussions on the Yahoo water rocket forum we decided to have a go at building a simple, remotely operated launch abort valve. The idea was to try to make it from commonly available components, and no need for special tools. The full details of the launch abort valve are here: