Team Wharton B

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Team Wharton B designed a framed parachute in order to maximize the time the tennis ball spent in the air after they dropped it.

When they dropped it from the second story of Hicks, it had a drop time of 4.84 ± .02 seconds.

Team members

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Toby Heavenrich

Shiv Bhandari

Jack Nicoludis

Frances Hunter

Katherine Bertaut

Design Process

The team first started brainstorming ideas when they were given their materials. They discussed making a glider before deciding that doing so would be too risky, as they did not have enough time to make the fine-tuning adjustments a successful glider would need. Without the ability to give an initial horizontal velocity, they were afraid that the glider might fall straight down to the ground. In the end they settled on a framed parachute.

Build Process

After the team members settled on the design, construction began! The first order of business was to cut open the plastic trash bag and then place some reinforcing tape in a grid pattern on it. This kept the plastic from sticking to itself, and also strengthened the parachute canopy. At the same time, a couple other team members worked on cutting the bottom half of the plastic container to provide a structurally sound joint for the dowels to be secured to by tape.

While some people worked on pleating the trash bag, others lashed the three dowel rods into an H pattern. Then they modified the plastic braces to fit properly and attached them. Next they attached the red draw-strings from the trash bag to the wooden frame to give it another two sides, adding stability and strength. Finally, they attached the pleated trash bag to the frame and suspended the tennis ball from the whole thing using folded over tape as string.

Back to Ball Drop page.