Physics and Astronomy

Mud Boat
Objective To make a boat of clay with several sails, that sails under its own power and supports the most weight. No motorized engines will be allowed.
Purpose To investigate why boats float, and how sails work.
Participants Teams of up to four.

Clay will be provided to contestants and material for sails can be brought in by contestants. The wind power can be provided by organizers in the form of an electric fan or vacuum exhaust.

The boat can be modified with a given piece of aluminum foil (to prevent water soaking through) and 125 grams of plasticine in place of the clay.

  1. Each student/group of students will make a boat using an assigned amount of clay.
  2. Each boat will be required to "sail" across a water-way made by the Science Olympic organizers 2 m wide (can be modified using wall-paper water tray).
  3. Each boat will utilize 3 sails maximum.
  4. After each sail, more weight will be added to the boat, until one boat is left afloat with its weight.
Judging In the case of a tie (same weight), the fastest boat will be declared the winner.
Source Youth Science Foundation Science Olympics Manual.

Events | Location | Scheduling | Registration | Participants | Committee | Judges and Officials | Scoring | Awards | Media
Contact Us | Our Sponsors | Faculty of Science | Western

© 2001 The University of Western Ontario,
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Webmaster: Patrick Whippey
Site Design: Julie Whitehead