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Out of This World!

Grade 12 Physics Class Design Rockets to be Launched With 3D Printed Parts

This Friday, the grade 12 students of Mr. Ray-Zarate university physics class at Burlington Central High School are designing, building, testing and launching model rockets. This project is a part of their dynamics, energy and momentum, and kinematics units. The students were grouped into teams and are responsible for learning as well as demonstrating proficiency in areas of physics and design to produce successful and reliable model rockets. According to Mr. Ray-Zarate, “Students are required to design and build all rocket components from scratch. This will allow students to explore and develop skills in computer aided design, manufacturing and team dynamics.” Students are required to understand the aerodynamic forces, momentum, uniform circular motion, kinematics and ballistic trajectories as a result of this exciting project.


According to the students, these “sick” rockets need to be able to withstand an average of 5 launches, and will have an altimeter in the nose cone to measure the altitude of their rockets to be recorded and studied for a final lab report. With the help of BMP Metal’s 3D Printing capabilities, some students were able to print their nosecones out of a durable plastic material. According to Jackie So (pictured on the left), the students faced many challenges when trying to figure out the best method of producing a nose cone for their rocket. “The nose cone that BMP made for us greatly improved our rockets max altitude. The nose cone has to be super lightweight and must be able to take the forces of it flying through the air. [When] we attempted to print our own nose cones, [the] printers at our school [made nose cones] almost double the weight of the nose cones BMP printed for us. This is a big concern as we have a max weight limit that we must comply to in order for our rockets to launch.” Jackie plans to attend Carleton University for Mechanical Engineering this upcoming September after he graduates.



Jackie, as well as a few other students in the class, are a part of the FIRST Robotics Team 2386, and has competed in regional and national robotics competitions over the years. The team first began in 2008, with Chris Arnold, the manufacturing teacher at BCHS, being the lead for 22 years. Our very own Gordon Nicholls has also been a founding member since the team first started, and continues to work with the kids on their projects and mentors them every year. During this year’s robotics season, Jackie highlighted BMP’s involvement by helping the team create the chassis of their robot. It was constructed from a sheet of steel that was cut and folded to precise dimensions designed by the students. BMP helped the students meet a weight quota for their robot in the competition, and have learned many manufacturing skills and techniques from working closely with Mr. Nicholls.


Good luck to Jackie and the other physics students on their rocket launch! BMP Metals Inc. is a proud supporter of local education programs by providing our future leaders with the tools necessary to achieve incredible accomplishments. To infinity and beyond!

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