Ballistic Ping Pong Ball vs. Tennis Ball at 450km/h! | Summary and Q&A

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April 10, 2020
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Physics Girl
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Ballistic Ping Pong Ball vs. Tennis Ball at 450km/h!

TL;DR

Ping pong ball cannons demonstrate the physics of space collisions and car crashes, and can reach speeds of 450 km/h.

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Key Insights

  • 💥 The size, mass, and material of objects involved in a collision impact the outcome.
  • 😨 Crumple zones in cars help absorb energy during a crash, reducing the force experienced by passengers.
  • 👨‍🚀 A small hole in the space station would not cause explosive decompression, and astronauts have the means to fix such breaches.
  • 🏓 Getting hit by a ping pong ball from a cannon can cause pain and injury, especially if it is a headshot.

Transcript

  • What happens when you take two and a half meters of PVC pipe, stuff a ping-pong ball inside, cover each end with thermal blanket Mylar, suck out 98% of the air, put a soda can on one end and puncture the Mylar at the other end? Okay, every body ready? Three, two, one. (bang) - [Brandon] Wow, that was very loud - Let's see the damage on the can. T... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How do ping pong balls make car crashes safer?

Ping pong balls are used as a comparison to understand how different masses and material properties can affect the outcome of a car crash. By studying collisions involving ping pong balls, engineers can design safer cars with crumple zones and strong materials.

Q: What happens if there is a hole in the space station?

A small hole in the space station would not cause explosive decompression. Astronauts have experienced holes in the space station before and were able to fix them. The air would rush around a person, rather than pushing them out of the station, as long as the hole is not too large.

Q: What does it feel like to get hit by a ping pong ball from a cannon?

Getting hit by a ping pong ball from a cannon can cause significant pain and potential injury, depending on the speed and location of the impact. It is important to take safety precautions and avoid headshots.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Ping pong ball cannons can be used to understand the physics behind car crashes and space collisions.

  • The size and material of objects involved in a collision, as well as the speed, impact the outcome of the crash.

  • Crumple zones in cars and strong materials can help reduce the force experienced during a crash.

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