The hovercraft is probably one of the brilliant inventions of all time. It’s a product of ingenuity. This machine worked using the principles of applied physics and engineering. What’s more interesting is you can build your own hovercraft all by yourself. That is correct. You can do it in your home.
A hovercraft is a vehicle lifted by air cushion. To make this happen, there is a certain amount of pressure to be made. Science will tell you that air is a form of fluid. Its molecules behave unpredictably. When you build your own hovercraft, it’s good to understand the control of air flow underneath it. These are the basic principles:
Air Pressure – The mechanics of a hovercraft involves mainly of air of course. You need to pressurize that air and send it to the right channel to create the cushion below. To do that, you need to get an abundant supply of its molecules. The solution is a fan. Any device that produces air pressure such as a vacuum cleaner will do too.
The Plane – Next thing to have is a board or ply wood. This is for you to sit on. Another purpose for the board is the help distribute air beneath it surface. With the right velocity, air should be able to create a film or layer below. When that happens, pressure is building up. To build your own hovercraft, you have to increase that pressure.
The Velocity – In fluid mechanics, velocity of fluid increases when an orifice opening is decreased. This is evident in how a fire hose works. This concept is also applied in your homemade hovercraft. You have to simulate the pressure increase by limiting the passage of air flow and channel it through a hole in the ply wood.
The Skirt – When the flow of air is now controlled, it can build a strong layer of air beneath the ply wood. This thin layer of air bearing should also be regulated. A heavy plastic sheet is wrapped around the perimeter of the board. This is called the skirt. This helps in building the air cushion below. It traps the air and only allows a little amount released below it. If you build your own hovercraft, t is important that this concept is understood.
Initial Thrust – Now you got the board lifted, it’s time to get your ply wood to move forward. To do this, you need thrust. However, it could also be fun to just have someone push you while you’re sitting on the board. Or you may have a rope tied to the front and have someone tag you around. Can you imagine that? Since this is a homemade hovercraft, might as well improvise with fun creatively as well.
Your improvised hovercraft should be as exciting as it is when it’s done. Your friends will surely like it. You can use it for your science project in school. You’ll be the envy of every kid in school. They’d think you have the mind of a scientist. Well, you do. And all it took is to know some principles of physics. So what are you waiting for? Build your own hovercraft now.