Welcome to my water-rocket website. If you’re not already an enthusiast or builder of water rockets then I suggest you see my links page and explore the many excellent introductions and tutorials available elsewhere. Here’s my four-second tutorial on water rocketry:

soda pop bottle + water + high-pressure air = rocket.

I hope this site contains something of interest to you. My collection of high-speed videos of rocket launches was the original marquee attraction of the site. However, the “My launchers” and “My rockets” sections contain more visceral entertainment, with stuff like flying pumpkins, hydrogen combustion, and a rocket car. In October 2002 I posted a java applet called SIM WATER ROCKET to the “Physics & Math” section—it uses a pretty sophisticated mathematical model to predict water-rocket performance.

Are you a water rocketeer?

Water rocketeers:

  1. Love the movie October Sky.
  2. Buy so-called designer bottled water not for the water, but for the aerodynamic designer bottle.
  3. Know that fluorescent tube covers, also known as FTCs, make nice rockets.
  4. Know the fine points of using glues like epoxy, polyurethane, PVC cement, and Goop™.
  5. Continue to build rockets that, sooner or later (usually sooner), are lost to catastrophe.
  6. Fearlessly rummage through the neighbors’ recycling bins, looking for suitable bottles.
  7. Enjoy the public spectacle of flying beverage bottles in the park.

My background

In the Summer of 1984, at age twelve, I invented a device to pressurize water-containing pop bottles with a bicycle pump and launch them into the air. My friends and I had loads of fun with the technique, but didn’t progress beyond launching bare bottles. Sixteen years later I rediscovered the hobby after seeing some water-rocket sites on the web. I was surprised and happy to discover a thriving international community of water rocketeers.

I earned a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from The University of California, Berkeley, and began work in 2003 as a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Brigham Young University. I believe water rockets are a great science-education tool: students and teachers from grade school all the way to graduate school can discover much interesting science while playing with water rockets. While I’m at it, I’ll plug water rocketry as ecologically friendly (except for the occasional rocket that gets lost in the trees) and pro-family (my kids love to come with me to launch rockets).

Professor Dean says, “Always treat water rockets with appropriate caution.”