flying Paul!

Flying Polymers

Polymers are great at flying! Paper airplanes, nylon kites, hot air balloons, polyethylene flying discs like Frisbees, balsa wood gliders, are all made from polymers.


One common polymer that you use every day is used to make paper! Paper is made of wood pulp, which is formed from the polymer cellulose. And everyone knows that paper makes great airplanes! Now you can make polymers fly. Follow the directions below to make your own paper helicopter.

Before you start, follow this link to a larger diagram of the helicopter that you can print and cut out. click here for a printable verison

1. Cut out the helicopter shape and cut all SOLID lines.

2. Fold on all the dotted lines as shown, with the helicopter blades pointing in opposite directions.

3. Once the helicopter is cut and folded, hold it as high as you can with the blades pointing up, and drop it straight down.
Your hekicopter should look like this.

HELICOPTER HINTS: One way to make your helicopter fly better is to make it out of thicker paper. Also you can put a small paperclip on the bottom of it to make it fly straighter.


Here's another cool paper project. You can make your own pinwheel out of paper, a wooden pencil and a push pin. Follow the link below to print your pinwheel. Before you cut it out, try decorating it with crayons.

Before you begin, follow this link to a large diagram of the pinwheel. Then follow the directions to print it out so you can color it.

1. After you have colored your pinwheel square, cut out the four edges of the square. Then cut the four diagonal lines from the corners to the circle in the center.

2. Find the points with dots on them, and bend them toward the dot in the very center. Don't fold them. Just bend them toward the center.

3. Stick the push pin through each of the four dotted points, one at a time, and then finally through the dot in the center of the pinwheel.

4. Now that the push pin is sticking out of the back of the pinwheel, stick the end of the push pin into the side of the pencil eraser. But don't push it all the way in.

PINWHEEL HINTS: To help the pinwheel spin better, try to find a small bead to place between the back of the pinwheel and the pencil eraser. Also press the bends in the pinwheel a little flatter. Be sure not to crease them. They need to be open to catch air. Now blow toward the points to spin your pinwheel!

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Copyright © 2003 | Polymer Science Learning Center | Department of Polymer Science | University of Southern Mississippi