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The brainstorming process started with basic idea's: parachute, hang glider, balloon. We moved on to more unrealistic ideas (and disqualifing ideas) such as, rockets, helium filled balloon, etc. In order to narrow down our choices we eliminated unrealistic and disqualifing ideas. We decided upon a design we reflected the Apollo space craft parachute, which was many small parachutes together to create a slow and non-lethal decent. Although a parachute was not a novel idea, we believed that it would be the most efficient design and the use of several parachutes would enhance its effectiveness and uniqueness.
Having decided upon a parachute design, we constructed our first parachute by cutting a corner of the bag and tying the ends to band which in turn connected to a paper clip, which we embedded into the ball. We then mounted a second and third parachute made from the remaining material from the bag and vertically stacked them on the first. After a few test runs though, our group discarded the design and instead, choose to pursue a double parachute. Instead of connecting the second parachute to the first, we connected the 2nd directly to the paper clip.
After the initial release, the design worked quite well - moving relatively slowly and steadily. However, the ball landed on a ledge and stopped it descent completely. This gave us an infinite time but also a disqualified one.
It should be noted that our design was moving slowly enough so that it did not bounce upon hitting the ledge. If it had not landed on the ledge, we are confident that it would have produced a respectable score.
Back to Ball Drop page.