Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Mechanical Engineering - Cooperative Education

Research Sponsor

Greg Morscher

First Reader

Scott Sawyer

Second Reader

Greg Morscher


As members of The University of Akron’s rocket design team our group designed and fabricated the structure of a single stage rocket. We define the structure of the rocket to be the body tube, motor mounts, as well as, mounting of any other components inside the rocket.

Our team began by setting goals, as well as, selecting constraints for our design. Our primary goals were to reduce weight, improve accessibility to the rockets internals and improve the overall craftsmanship of the completed rocket. Some constraints that defined our design were time, budget, and manufacturing capabilities of the team members.

Once our goals were set and our constraints defined, our team began an iterative brainstorming process. During this process our design constantly changed as our team came across new problems and difficulties.

The aerodynamic and inertial forces acting on the rocket body were also calculated. These forces were then used to predict the stresses acting on the rocket during its flight. These calculations helped our team choose a material for the rocket body.

Our final design consisted of a fiberglass tube, which could be purchased commercially. Four aluminum bulkheads mounted our motor, as well as supported our recovery system. A fiberglass coupler allowed the rocket to be separated on the ground for maintenance. Finally polycarbonate bulkheads supported the electronics bay and attached the coupler.

With a design in place our team purchased the necessary materials and began to fabricate the structure. First, team members learned how to operate a lathe. The lathe was used to face, turn and bore our aluminum and polycarbonate bulkheads. Next, the fiberglass tube was cut, and the bulkheads mounted in the tube. Finally, the coupler was installed and the recovery and electronics systems attached to there respective bulkheads.