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Impulse of a Rocket Engine - Area Under a Force Curve

Thrust curves for model rocket engines are a great way to explore impulse. While every student has everyday experiences with impulses, they are less familiar with the mathematical concept and resulting units of N*s. Analyzing force curves using real data gives students the opportunity to visualize and connect the abstract concept to an image they can more easily interpret. By selecting regions of force data and seeing the area under the curve, students gain an immediate interpretation of impulse.