A Magic Carpet Ride

copright of Disney's Aladdin

I can open your eyes
Take you wonder by wonder
Over, sideways and under
On a magic carpet ride

The magic carpet ride in Aladdin is just that- magical. Now most things in our world need: wings, propellers, jet engines etc to fly, but the magic carpet just hovers- there is only one thing similar, and that is a hover craft. Now a hover craft is no flying carpet but it is just as cool and if a flying carpet existed, it could work in a very similar way..

So the basic law behind a hover craft is Newton’s Third Law- that every action has an equal and opposite reaction which occurs at the same time. This means, quite simply, that if there is a push in one direction, that there is an equal push in the exact opposite direction. This is why a balloon flies away when you let it go (and the end isn’t knotted) – the air rushes out the neck of the balloon which causes the balloon to move forwards. The air rushing out of the neck of the balloon pushed against the air outside the balloon (1st Force) and the air outside the balloon pushed against the air remaining inside the balloon (2nd Force) causing the balloon to fly forward.

We however don’t want to watch balloons fly around (which is fun), we want to make a hover craft. In a very simplistic hover craft air is pushed out the bottom of a vehicle/craft/object which is too heavy to be completely lifted by the small amount of air being pushed out. The layer of moving air which is created as the air rushes of the balloon reduces the friction which stops a hovercraft moving over a table. Rubbing your hand along a table is hard, can hurt and causes your hand to get warm- this is friction. None of this happens if you just move your hand through air- that’s cause there is less friction.

This can be complicated by adding a ‘curtain’ around the bottom of the hovercraft to catch the air and further lift the vehicle up- which is how hovercrafts are able to lift people and machinery. The other thing which is very special about hover crafts is that they can cover more terrain- water, dessert, swamps- the hovercraft just needs something to push against that is more dense (the particle are close together) than air.

copyright of Dinsey's Aladdin


What you need:

1 balloon

1 old CD (check with parents first)

1 pop-top drink bottle lid

Blue tac

  1. Use the blue tac to stick the pop-top lid to the middle of the CD- over the hole. The side the drink out of should be pointing upwards.

  2. Blow up a balloon and put the end over the pop-top lid, without letting the air out of the balloon

  3. Once the balloon is secure let go, un-pop the pop top lid and watch the CD and balloon hover – you can nudge it to make it change directions

  4. Remove balloon, blow it up again and do it all over again!!


4 responses to “A Magic Carpet Ride

  1. Pingback: 19 Disney Movies Retold In Haiku - The List Feed

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