|Entry #||Driver Name||Car Name||Mass
|20||41||Dina MacNeal||Pussycat Express||17||11||6||4||15.33||5.86|
Balloon car designer Paul MacNeal writes for his daughter Dina:
She chose to utilize a single balloon as a thrust jet and make the vehicle as light as possible.
My best feature was the wheels and axle system. The wheels were constructed from thin cardstock. The circles were cutout and then shaped and glued into shallow cones. Two cones were glued edge-to-edge to complete the wheel. The axles were simply straws. She chose to have the wheels fixed to the straws with the axle freely rotating inside another, larger diameter straw. The axles were prevented from moving side-to-side by thin cardstock washers glued to the moving axle.
To keep the balloon from moving side to side, a support was made from cardstock.
To keep the vehicle from tilting upwards (caused by wind resistance of the balloon), a rock was glued to the front end of the car.
Axles were plastic straws.
Wheels were cardboard.
Body was a styrofoam cup and paper.
Rock used for ballast.
The original nozzle was too large for the balloon. Early testing had the 16 gram vehicle popping wheelies and falling over on its side after spinning in circles due to too much thrust. A reduced diameter straw was implemented to provide a more stable thrust.
Spending more time choosing the size and length of the exit port (nozzle) could have allowed a faster vehicle which would lead to a farther distance.