Simple Hovercraft

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Producing a hovercraft out of a balloon and an old CD to help understand energy conversion and how a hovercraft works


a CD,
1 fruit shoot plastic bottle top with sports cap,
1 balloon,
blue tack or hot glue gun

CD Label


1. Remove sports cap from bottle
2.. Optional draw design on CD Label and stick to CD - non shinny side
3.. If using Blue tac Roll out blue tack into a thin sausage
4. Take blue tack sausage and place around the screw part of the sports cap or use a hot glue gun and glue the cap to the CD (adult/Y/L )
5. Attach sports cap to the non-shiny side of CD with cap centred over hole of the CD, ensure you seal the space between the cap and the CD with the blue tack
5) Blow up the balloon, attach cap 6) to make it float pull up the sports cap and push on a flat surface

How does it Work?
A hovercraft works by forcing air out beneath it, creating a cushion of air to float on. Hovercrafts usually have a “skirt” that surrounds the base to contain the air; in this project the CD is light enough that it doesn’t need a large cushion, so no skirt is necessary. The balloon acts as a pressurized gas chamber. When you open the cap, the balloon forces air out through the cap, creating a thin cushion of air beneath the CD.

As you nudged your hovercraft around, you may have noticed that it zipped along the surface like an air hockey puck. That’s because air hockey uses the same principle, with the puck floating on a layer of air. In the case of an air hockey table, the air is forced out from the table below rather than a source above like a hovercraft. Try pushing a plain CD across the table, and then your hovercraft. Do the two move differently? That’s because the thin cushion of air from the hovercraft reduces the friction between the CD and the table. Because of the reduced friction, hovercrafts can reach higher speeds.


  • air activities
  • aircraft
  • craft
  • creative
  • model making
  • science
  • scientist

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