What Happens When A Ping Pong Ball Travelling At 900MPH Hits A Ping Pong Paddle?

900mph ping pong ball

I’m sure almost everyone reading this has probably thought about the answer to this question all their lives but have been unable to discover it. Well, the wait is over. And there’s a video of it too!

900mph ping pong ball

OK, I’ll be honest, I haven’t really ever thought about what happens when a ping pong ball travelling at 900mph whacks into a ping pong paddle, I mean be serious who has ever sat there thinking about that? I’m pretty sure the answer is nobody except the nerds featured in this video who decided to set up an experiment to see just exactly what happened when you fired a ping pong ball at 900mph into a bat. Just in case you aren’t sure how fast 900mph is, then it’s just short of Mach 1.2.I can’t remember the exact figure but I remember Concorde used to travel at Mach something or other and that was super duper fast so that gives you some idea of what we’re talking about here. It’s basically super super fast.

I’m not sure why these guys wanted to conduct this experiment or make a ping pong ball cannon that could fire balls at that speed, but I guess it’s something that this dude – Purdue professor Mark French – really wanted to do and has probably dedicated his entire life to developing this technology. Cool life bro. So I guess when he fired that ping pong ball at 900mph into the ping pong paddle it made it all worthwhile, which is probably why he made this video. For some reason it’s about 6 minutes long even though the actual firing only lasts for probably less than half a second.

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For that reason it kinda reminds me of ITV’s Splash programme because there’s loads and loads of and loads of unnecessary buildup that is really boring and crap, and then when you finally get to the main event – be it a (non) celebrity diving off a diving board or a ping pong ball being fired at 900mph – both of them are over in the blink of an eye and both of them are probably not worth the wait and really useless and ultimately not even that entertaining. This is actually way better than Splash though but it’s just not really that cool and the ping pong ball is travelling so fast that you can’t even really see anything. It would have been way better if it had added a slow motion version so you could actually see the ball.

Also, I’m not going to spoil it by telling you what happens in the video even though it’s fairly obvious (I mean if it’s travelling that fast it isn’t just gonna bang off the paddle is it?) but I mean they could have made it a bit more dramatic/shown a couple of replyas of it rather just pad the whole thing out with boring science talk and show the actual ping pong ball cannon/bat thing for more than 5 seconds, right? At least you would have though. I mean seriously, who’s gonna wanna see the boring science talk instead of all the explosions except nerds and/or losers? We want the action guys.

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Although I must give a shout out to the disclaimer that they stick up right before the actual firing of the ping pong cannon – ‘Do NOT try this at home: we have years of experience, college degrees and specialized equipment.’  I just love the wording of that, because it implies that people could actually try this at home. I mean for a start who is going to have the ass to build one of those for home use? I mean for a start it would probably be the most useless device ever to have lying around your house unless you wanted to set up a security system that killed people or maybe if you wanted to assassinate people under the veil of playing ping pong with them. And then secondly, who the hell is gonna have the knowledge to be ABLE to build one at home? Probably nobody, right, because  surely you need a college degree and the specialised equipment he just mentioned to do just that? Considering these guys are super famous nerds that seems pretty dumb to me.  Still, gotta make sure you fit that disclaimer in. So important in this day and age. 

Enjoy the video below, skip to around 5:42 if you want to skip all the nerdy science stuff:

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