Balloon Task

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Re: Balloon Task

Postby Flavorflav » March 8th, 2011, 6:05 pm

Yes, the balloon has to fit in the box. Where was this?

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Re: Balloon Task

Postby sciencegirl23 » March 8th, 2011, 7:36 pm

MIdhudson.. The judges honestly didn't know what they were doing. A team was starting motors and using electricity after their sand timer started; (which im pretty sure is against the rules?) and they got 1st or 2nd.
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Re: Balloon Task

Postby fleet130 » March 9th, 2011, 6:51 am

The judges honestly didn't know what they were doing. A team was starting motors and using electricity after their sand timer started;
So what should be done in such situations? By doing nothing, you perpetuate the problem.

Often, the first impulse is to file a protest against the team whose device was judged improperly. This is often taken to be an accusation of cheating and some tournaments automatically dismiss such appeals.

A better (less used) action might be to appeal that the judges failed to judge the devices properly. Results from these appeals are more likely to address the real problem and provide a wider reaching remedy.

Situations like the one mentioned can be difficult to appeal. The judge was (presumably) in a much better position than you to see how the device operated and made a decision. Once a decision is made by the judges, it is correct by definition (That's their job). The onus is on you to present valid evidence to the contrary.

Some tournaments accept appeals only about a team's own device, not about other devices. A possible way around this is to appeal that your device was not judged with the same standards as others.

Before filing an appeal, make sure you have good solid evidence to support your claim. Something you saw from across the gym or overheard from people talking in the hallway won't carry much weight.

Appeals are always a difficult situation. Everybody thinks they're right and the implication is that someone was "cheating". Judges decisions may sometimes be colored by preconceived opinions or associations, but cases of intentionally biased decisions (in my opinion) are extremely rare.
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Re: Balloon Task

Postby bwy » March 17th, 2011, 7:34 pm

So... for the task that requires us to inflate a balloon, I'm having trouble coming up with something the balloon could trigger. Any suggestions? Thanks.

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Re: Balloon Task

Postby jsorrell414 » March 17th, 2011, 10:09 pm

So... for the task that requires us to inflate a balloon, I'm having trouble coming up with something the balloon could trigger. Any suggestions? Thanks.
Push a switch? The balloon inflating has quite a lot of force, assuming using the baking soda and vinegar to inflate it. There are many things it can do.
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Re: Balloon Task

Postby courage7856 » March 18th, 2011, 2:12 pm

So... for the task that requires us to inflate a balloon, I'm having trouble coming up with something the balloon could trigger. Any suggestions? Thanks.
We're using it as the force for our third class lever. When it inflates, it hits the lever and raises it.
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Re: Balloon Task

Postby illusionist » March 18th, 2011, 3:36 pm

So... for the task that requires us to inflate a balloon, I'm having trouble coming up with something the balloon could trigger. Any suggestions? Thanks.
I am also using the balloon to activate a switch. It has quite a bit of force, but I still decided to make my own "switch". Just two strips of metal that are pushed together by the balloon.
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Re: Balloon Task

Postby bwy » March 19th, 2011, 10:41 pm

So... for the task that requires us to inflate a balloon, I'm having trouble coming up with something the balloon could trigger. Any suggestions? Thanks.
I am also using the balloon to activate a switch. It has quite a bit of force, but I still decided to make my own "switch". Just two strips of metal that are pushed together by the balloon.
Ohh okay that sounds like a good idea.
It sounds like a lot of these ideas need some kind of box that contains the balloon to make sure it goes where it's supposed to. :?: And I'm guessing you all use the method where you use something (like the starting mousetrap?) to raise the balloon full of baking soda to dump it in the vinegar to inflate it ...That seems to be the best way, right?
Sorry I have so many questions :)

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Re: Balloon Task

Postby Primate » March 19th, 2011, 11:37 pm

So... for the task that requires us to inflate a balloon, I'm having trouble coming up with something the balloon could trigger. Any suggestions? Thanks.
I am also using the balloon to activate a switch. It has quite a bit of force, but I still decided to make my own "switch". Just two strips of metal that are pushed together by the balloon.
Ohh okay that sounds like a good idea.
It sounds like a lot of these ideas need some kind of box that contains the balloon to make sure it goes where it's supposed to. :?: And I'm guessing you all use the method where you use something (like the starting mousetrap?) to raise the balloon full of baking soda to dump it in the vinegar to inflate it ...That seems to be the best way, right?
Sorry I have so many questions :)
You don't need a full, four-walled box, but a wall or two will obviously help. Mousetrap would work, or you could use a motor and string.

However, you'll want to put the vinegar in the balloon, and the baking soda in the bottle. It works a million times better, trust me. But I think there might be a better way--for us, the balloon gets tangled every once in a while. A PVC piping system that rotates might be much more reliable.
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Re: Balloon Task

Postby old » March 25th, 2011, 12:38 pm

This was covered in another post. Balloon Race is not Mission Possible; Good Engineering (a whole lot of reasons here) means you won't have a barely-lifting balloon, risking 250+ points, just to add 5g and 50 points in an iffy situation.

In the tournaments I've run, he quick-release, fast-rising balloons with small signs on micro weight string work. I've even seen someone WD40'ing the string (careful, it dissolves latex). Heavy signs on party ribbon that create a slow-moving balloon situation end up getting hung up on even tiny amounts of friction and wander.

Bad design is hardly the fault of the rule writers. Or the AC. And last I checked, it's January. The dash from the equipment truck to teh school entrance in 10 degree weather is a far bigger problem.
I just saw your response to my original post and I was confused about your answer. There is no question that a balloon with significantly more buoyancy then necessary to lift the mass would be more reliable, but it won't win the event because it won't get the most points. We could simply attach a piece of paper with our school name to the largest possible balloon and pretty much guarantee that the balloon would successfully leave the device but we would get almost zero points for the mass lifted.

If we have a balloon that doesn't get hung up on anything in our device, but gets blown back into the device by the force of an A/C system or people running by, would you consider that bad design? The point of my original post was that, according to the rules you want to lift as much weight as possible (to get the most points) but if you don't know what the environmental conditions in the room will be you can only guess at how much extra buoyancy you need. If we end up at Nationals, situated under an A/C vent that is blowing directly down on our device while another team ends up with a totally different set of air movements, how do we design for that. The answer you seem to be suggesting is to arbitrarily carry a certain amount of extra buoyancy (how much? enough for a 0.1 M/S down draft or a 1/M/S updraft?) and hope you made the right choice. If you picked 0.1 M/S and the downdraft was actually.5 M/S then you get zero points for the balloon task because it will never leave the bottom of your device. If you picked 1 M/S downdraft but the actual wind was a 0.5 M/S updraft then you could have carried significantly more mass, and got more points. The problem is that without a controlled environment it comes down to random chance. If 10 teams do everything right (perform the 8 highest point tasks, get the sand timer just right, etc.) then the only thing separating them will be the mass carried by the balloon. If one team allows for a certain set of very conservative environmental conditions (good design?) and lifts a 10 gram mass, while another team is much less conservative and lifts 20 grams (and has no downdraft to contend with), the less conservative team will win. If on the other hand the less conservative team underestimates how bad the environmental conditions might be in room in Wisconsin (or the A/C happens to cycle on just as their balloon is supposed to release) then they get zero points for the balloon task. To me that boils down to random chance and arbitrary choices not good design vs. bad design. If the teams could control the environment, or the people running the event could guarantee a controlled environment, so that all teams had the same conditions, and knew what those conditions would be when they designed the device, then they could design for those conditions. In a science experiment this is called controlling the variables.

I also didn't understand your comment about 10 degree weather and the trip into the school entrance. While it is true that every team going to Nationals always has to contend with the issue of betting their device safely to the competition, that generally wouldn't seem to have much of an effect on the buoyancy margin that one would build into the balloon task.


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