Students Research Rocket Fuel and Launch

Matthews Owens and Natalie Krupka with their posters at the University of Scranton’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Celebration of Student Scholars, May 2017.
September 29, 2017

Students undergraduate students research rocket launches and rocket fuel.  Read more below from the September Physics/EE newsletter.

Rocket Launch and Orbit Simulation using Python


Matthew Owens ‘17 – Advisor: Prof. Nicholas P. Truncale 

The purpose of this project is a to create a two-dimensional simulation of rocket launches and orbits that makes it possible to both replicate real launches and see the results of changes in various parameters of the launch vehicle and flight path. We started by creating a simulation of Newton’s Cannonball thought experiment and proceeded by adding other forces acting on the spacecraft individually (air resistance, thrust, etc). The simulation calculates the rocket’s two-dimensional position over a set number of discrete time steps and plots the orbital path of travel in the (x,y) plane.


Emission and Absorption Spectral Analysis of Rocket Fuel

Natalie Krupka ’20 – Advisor: Prof. Nicholas P. Truncale 

To observe the emission and absorption spectrum of rocket fuel, we will be using a PASCO spectrometer in two ways: known light absorption spectrum comparison with a liquid sample in a cuvette and direct light collection through a fiber optic cable. The spectrometer has an input, which allows one to place a liquid sample in a cuvette and measure the absorbed light of that substance. Light from a tungsten source passes through the samples in the cuvette and a high diffraction grating to detect the light that makes it through. Whatever light does not make it through, must be absorbed by that substance in the cuvette. This allows the production of the absorption spectra of the substance. The fiber optic cable captures light through a narrow slit and passed that light directly through a high diffraction grating allowing the spectrometer to show the emission spectrum of the source. Using these two methods, I hope to be able to determine the elements in rocket fuel.

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