Supersonic Ping Pong Ball Shot out at 900 MPH, Paddle Does Not Survive

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterFebruary 4, 2013

Photo Credit: Gizmodo
Photo Credit: Gizmodo

In case you were wondering, a ping pong ball can certainly blast a hole through a ping pong paddle; it just needs to travel at 900 miles per hour. 

Physics swag. 

Gizmodo spotted a video of Purdue University's Professor Mark French who created a cannon with the specific purpose of firing off a ping pong ball at supersonic speeds. 

By then end of the experiment, we are left with a paddle that looks like this. 

The remarkable fact is there is a near-perfect circle left by a lightweight ball that cuts the paddle like a knife through butter. 

Here is the moment a normally benign ping pong ball becomes an object of beautiful destruction, traveling at a speed the report states is, "900 miles per hour, or just over Mach 1.2."

For those who want to learn how the cannon works and why a ball that is near weightless can become so powerful, here is the full video. 

French explains that air drag works against an object like a ping pong ball, but he works around that by creating a vacuum for the ball to accelerate through. 

That's all well and good, but we need to see this cannon destroy more stuff. As the good professor implores others not to try this at home, I now plead with him to make like Gallagher and begin a series of ping-pong annihilation. 

And if he could do it in slow motion this time, that would be grand. 

The report offers this for those wondering if a ping pong ball could be used as a weapon. 

Even though they weigh next to nothing, the ping pong balls leaving the cannon have the equivalent energy and momentum as a bullet leaving a .32 caliber pistol, meaning in the right situation, they could most certainly be lethal.

Well, duh. 

Seeing that paddle get destroyed has me thinking it would sting just a little to get blasted with this cannon. 

Now, let's take it down to 800 MPH and see if someone can volley. 


Hit me up on Twitter, but easy on the ping pong balls.