Hello Rocketry Enthusiasts!

I hope this post finds you all soaring high in your rocketry adventures! I'm a high school student currently navigating through the fascinating world of water rocketry for my research paper. My focus is on the optimization of water rocket fins in terms of their size, placement, and shape to achieve maximum stability and efficiency during flight.

My journey for shape optimization so far has led me to delve into the induced drag equation of a fin and explore the lifting line theory in an attempt to find the optimal fin shape. Where the theory suggests that elliptical fin shape produces the least induced drag and is therefore the best.

However, I've encountered a contradiction too: while the lifting line theory provides a foundation, I've also stumbled upon discussions suggesting that, particularly in the realm of smaller rocketry (in relation to nuances related to the Reynolds number), a simple rectangular fin might actually provide superior or at least comparable performance to more complex, theoretically optimized shapes.

In my research, there is a theoretical part, where I try to find the best placement, size and shape through various means (such as those stated above) and then test it in a simulation software and an experimental part, where I then try and build and launch that rocket. I was looking at various simulators and was leaning towards RockSim since they have a specific function related to water rockets, but I was also considering OpenRocket. Could any of you vouch for one or the other in relation to specifically water rocket simulation?

I would appreciate if any of you could give me pointers/more sources to be able to expand my research and knowledge. Thanks in advance!

I hope this post finds you all soaring high in your rocketry adventures! I'm a high school student currently navigating through the fascinating world of water rocketry for my research paper. My focus is on the optimization of water rocket fins in terms of their size, placement, and shape to achieve maximum stability and efficiency during flight.

My journey for shape optimization so far has led me to delve into the induced drag equation of a fin and explore the lifting line theory in an attempt to find the optimal fin shape. Where the theory suggests that elliptical fin shape produces the least induced drag and is therefore the best.

However, I've encountered a contradiction too: while the lifting line theory provides a foundation, I've also stumbled upon discussions suggesting that, particularly in the realm of smaller rocketry (in relation to nuances related to the Reynolds number), a simple rectangular fin might actually provide superior or at least comparable performance to more complex, theoretically optimized shapes.

In my research, there is a theoretical part, where I try to find the best placement, size and shape through various means (such as those stated above) and then test it in a simulation software and an experimental part, where I then try and build and launch that rocket. I was looking at various simulators and was leaning towards RockSim since they have a specific function related to water rockets, but I was also considering OpenRocket. Could any of you vouch for one or the other in relation to specifically water rocket simulation?

I would appreciate if any of you could give me pointers/more sources to be able to expand my research and knowledge. Thanks in advance!

Last edited: