Jam Jar Jet

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In this activity, learners create a "Jam Jar Jet" based on Francois Reynst's discovery of a pulsejet engine, which uses one opening for both air intake and exhaust. Learners will be amazed at the deep blue, noisy flame that grows and shrinks and "breathes" fire in the jar. Learners can add salt or boric acid crystals to change the color of the flames. Use this activity to explore combustion and/or aerospace engineering. This resource includes step by step instructions with helpful photographs, trouble-shooting tips, and resources. This is an advanced project that should only be undertaken with appropriate safety precautions. Follow all directions carefully.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
2 to 4 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per student

Age Range:
Ages 14 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • metal cookie sheet
  • drill
  • file or sandpaper
  • gloves
  • freezer
  • safety glasses
  • teaspoon
  • wire cutters
  • Mason jar
  • magnet wire
  • DWV reducing fitting
  • methanol gasoline treatment (small bottle)
  • matches (1 package) or a long-handled barbeque lighter
  • table salt (optional)
  • plastic or metal pipe (optional)
  • boric acid crystals (optional)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
    • Technology
      • Transportation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
      • Heat Transfer
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Technology and History
    • The Design Process
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Gurstelle, William


  • All rights reserved, Make Projects, 2011

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