That’s right, this thing shoots ping pong balls at a speed of ~420 m / s, that is faster than an F-16 fighter jet. It can shoot right trough plywood and aluminium, as well as deeply dent thick steel. Pretty cool.
“That hourglass-shaped nozzle is similar to what is used in fighter jets,” French said. “When the pressurized air rushes through the bottleneck it accelerates to supersonic speed as it helps propel the ball through the clear PVC barrel.”
French says the supersonic speeds are surprising because the lightweight balls have such poor aerodynamics and high-drag coefficient. At a mere 2.3 grams, the balls deliver a startling amount of energy to targets – the equivalent of a 125 mph fastball or a brick falling several stories.
“There is not enough money you could give me to get me to step in front of that gun,” French said.
French uses the gun as an educational device for his students in the College of Technologyand as an outreach tool during demonstrations for a wide variety of schoolchildren.