Balloon Hovercraft Science Experiment

Friction is the force created when two objects move across each other to oppose the movement. 

An object gliding on the floor stops because of friction.

When friction is reduced, a gliding object moves faster, farther and for longer.

This balloon hovercraft can fly across the floor because air has less friction than the floor.

When pressurized air escapes from the hole on the CD, it creates a layer of air cushion beneath the CD.

In this friction experiment, the hovercraft glides on air on top of the table and it can go much faster and farther than if you just push a CD on the table.

If you happen to have an old CD disc and a balloon, this CD hover craft project is a great experiment to try!

Hovercraft friction-less science experiment

How To Make A Hovercraft

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Let's make a homemade hovercraft. Here is a simple version (without using a hot glue gun!)


  • CD disc
  • unused balloon
  • some sort of bottle cap that has an open/close mechanism


  • packing tape
  • scissors
  • adult supervision


  1. Using packing tape, securely tape the bottle cap onto the CD. When you tug on the cap gently, there should not be a gap between the cap and the CD. Bottle cap is taped to the center of a CD disc
  2. Close the cap's opening.
  3. Blow up the balloon and hold its opening with one hand.
  4. With the other hand, wrap the balloon's over the cap's opening and then let go.
  5. Place the hovercraft on a flat surface.
  6. When you're ready, push the cap open so the balloon can deflate through underneath the CD's hole. 
  7. Give it a gentle push to set it off. 
  8. You just created a balloon hovercraft! It can slide across the floor fast and far. Balloon attached to bottle cap and CD disc, finished hovercraft

Did you try this project?

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Books And Activities On Friction


A real hovercraft and an air hockey game work based on the same principle. 

A hovercraft uses blowers to produce a large volume of air below the vessel to allow it to travel at high speed.

An air hockey table produces a cushion of air on the play surface through tiny holes so that pucks can travel quickly and freely to allow you to score!

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