A jet engine produces thrust from a roaring jet of super-hot gas. Its construction looks complicated, but the way it works is very simple. A powerful jet of gas moving in one direction produces thrust in the other direction. Imagine you are standing on a skateboard and squirting a powerful hose forward. Jet propulsion will push you backward. This reaction has been known for nearly 2000 years, but it was not until the 1930s that it was applied to an engine.
In the first experiment, you can make a jet zoom along a string. The jet engine is like a balloon that produces thrust from escaping air. The second project demonstrates how a turbine works. Hot air produced by the gas jet turns the blades of the turbine. The turbine drives the fan at the front of the jet engine. These projects may seem simple, but they use the same scientific principles that propel all jet airplanes through the air.
Long, thin balloon, scissors, tape, drinking straw, string.
Aluminum pie tin, scissors, compass, protractor, ruler, pin, 3in length of 1/8in dowel, tape, bead, thread reel, nonhardening modeling material, plate, four night light candles, matches.
Place the hole in the center of the turbine over the pin. Ask an adult to light the candles. Hot air will spin the blades.