HIGH POINT, N.C., May 27, 2010 ? Elizabeth (Libby) Messina, a rising senior majoring in chemistry from Leesburg, Va., recently received the award for Best Undergraduate Student Paper at the 2010 Spring Meeting of the North Carolina Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers.
She received the award for her poster, “Accounting for Non-Constant Thrust in a Model Rocket Simulator.” The poster details model rocket simulators, which usually account for the thrust of the engine by assuming it is constant. However, Messina says in the reality, the force is not constant.
“The purpose of the project was to determine the thrust curves of various Estes model rocket engines by measuring the thrust versus time and fitting an eight-parameter function to the data,” explains Messina, who is in the Honors Program at HPU. “The best-fit functions were used in a rocket simulator developed with Easy Java Simulations (EJS).”
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Vice President for Administration