Smarter Every Day’s Destin Sandlin is back at it again with his supersonic cannon, and this time, he uses a high-speed camera to show what happens to a gong when a baseball traveling at 1,189 mph hits it. For those who have never seen this invention, the main canon basically is comprised of a large pressure chamber and vacuum chamber fused together, with a plug and baseball separating them. Read more for the video and a bonus.
As you look closer at the cannon, you’ll realize that the barrel forms part of the vacuum chamber, and is sealed off at the muzzle end with plastic tape that actually breaks when fired. The firing mechanism itself spans the entire length of the pressure chamber and then exits out the back where it is held in place by a large pneumatic sear mechanism. When this sear is let go, the two chambers are set off, resulting in high-pressure nitrogen being sent into the vacuum chamber, blasting the ball forward.
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