Build a Classroom Wave Tank
Plans for building a small classroom wave tank that can be used for demonstrating wave motion and engineering/technology lessons on tsunami preparedness.
- Build a small classroom wave tank that can be used for demonstrating wave motion and engineering/technology lessons on tsunami preparedness.
Materials List ($229.48)
- One 2'x4'x 1/2" Impact-Resistant Polycarbonate Sheet, Clear, (McMaster-Carr #8560K27; $168.70)
- One 1'x2'x 1/2" Impact-Resistant Polycarbonate Sheet, Clear (McMaster-Carr #8560K266; $51.05)
- One lightweight surface mount spring hinge, self-opening 300 series, stainless steel with holes (McMaster-Carr #15205A85, $2.70)
- Four 8x32, 9/16" stainless steel machine screws (McMaster-Carr #91772A200, $7.03)
- Adhesive, Weld-on #3, 1 pint (McMaster-Carr #7528A13; $12.66)
- Precision Needle-Tip Squeeze Bottle, 18ga., 1" needle length (McMaster-Carr #1902T47; $6.23)
- Tap 8x32
- #29 Drill bit
- Screw Driver
- Three Bar/Pipe clamps 5'
- Table Saw with Carbide blade
- Para cord or heavy duty boot laces
- Using the 2x4 foot sheet of clear polycarbonate, cut one 8" x 48" piece from one side of the sheet. Cut another 8" x 48" piece from the other side of the sheet, leaving one 7 1/2" x 48" piece from the middle. This ensures that you have one factory smooth edge on each 8" x 48" piece for a gluing surface.
- Now you have two 8" x 48" pieces, one for each side and one 7 1/2" x 48" piece for the bottom.
- Using the 1x2 foot sheet of clear polycarbonate, cut two 7 1/2" x 8 1/2" one for the each end, cut one 6" x 8" piece for the paddle, and cut one 6" x 2" piece for the hinge plate.
Using the adhesive, glue one side to the top of the bottom piece and clamp it in place using the bar clamps. You have approximately 10-15 sec of working time to make sure the edges are lined up before the side is fused with the bottom. You will have to work quickly to set the clamps.
Wait approximately 10-12 hours to set the other side and clamp in a similar manner
After you are sure that the sides are fused properly, glue the ends flush with the sides and bottom. This is where you will see if you have properly aligned the sides with the bottom. If you are off just slightly, you will need to sand the ends of the sides and bottom to ensure they are flush prior to gluing the ends on. I would recommend gluing one end at a time similar to the procedure for the sides.
Test the tank for any leaks. If leaks do occur, use the adhesive to fill in the joints the full length of the seam. Let this set for 10-12 hours.
- During this time, you can start working on the paddle by marking the location of the hinge screws on both the hinge plate and paddle.
- Drill and tape both the hinge plate and paddle
Drill two holes at the other end of the paddle for the pull cord to loop through
Locate the paddle and hinge plate on the bottom of the tank, making sure it has plenty of clearance on the sides to move freely and mark the location of the hinge plate. Make sure that you have the hinge plate toward the center and the paddle towards the end of the tank.
- Glue the hinge plate to the bottom of the tank and let it cure for 10-12 hours.
- Screw the hinge to the hinge plate and thread the cord through the other two holes.
Researchers should cite this work as follows:
NEES EOT (2012), "Build a Classroom Wave Tank," http://nees.org/resources/4459.