What a Gong Sounds Like When Hit by a Baseball Going Faster Than the Speed of Sound

Destin Sandlin of Smarter Every Day tested out a giant air cannon he designed that shoots baseballs “faster than the speed of sound” on a variety of items including a metal gong.

We’re gonna shoot a gong today.

Before going for the gong, Sandlin and his team shot baseballs from the cannon at such items as birdseed, rainbow sprinkles, mayonnaise, and non-Newtonian gobs of Silly Putty.

We shot a container of rainbow sprinkles and a jar of extra heavy mayonnaise which was surprisingly gross..anyway we had another container of sprinkles …the thought of shooting Silly Putty is that it’s a non-Newtonian fluid and it should act like a solid if it is hit rapidly, so it’s potentially possible for us to shatter this like glass

Sandlin states that these canon experiments are being conducted in the name of science.

The velocity and timing of a baseball will let me do all kinds of other experiments so it’s tempting to look at this as some kind of big youtube stunt but that is not what it is.  Today we’re continuing our mission to graph the relationship between how the amount of air we jam into the cannon correlates with how fast the ball goes when that air pressure is released.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.