Engineer Fires A Potato Gun Filmed At 20,000 Frames Per Second


From movies of Michael Bay to when we first saw the White House blow up in disaster films involving alien invasions, and even looking back into history itself, our humanistic inclinations have repeatedly lead us to the attraction and the all-otherwise curiosity of gazing at the awesome force of an explosion. There is a very distinct reason why the term, "it's like watching a train wreck," holds such sway. But, that is not precisely the course this article shall take. For insofar as we aforementioned the affinity humanity has for explosions, let us now take our interest and curiosity to an engineer by the name of Destin, from Smarter Every Day, and consider his little experiment; an experiment which shall take our saucer-like eyes when seeing things blow up grow ever bigger in the now knowing of Destin's creativity to slow one such explosion by filming it at 20,000 frames per second.

Destin constructed a transparent potato gun and wishes to do far more than merely show a cool-looking video. Destin desired to test a theory of his that the force and combustion of the potato launching from within the chamber for such combustion will be far more efficient if the accelerant--consisting of naught more than just simply oxygen and a type of fuel (many use oils, lighter fluid et cetera) --is verily ignited from the center of the chamber rather than from the rear. In most and pretty much all potato guns, typically home-made, users will either ignite their chosen accelerant from the rear utilizing a lighter akin to how cannons were fired during the American Revolutionary War and such, or more sophisticated models will have a spark-plug retro-fitted to the PVC pipe housing which acts as the fuel and projectile chamber which then leads down a long barrel. Even more so will enthusiast rifle the barrel to increase the range of the launched potato.

Destin's potato gun is similar in every regard, save for a transparent housing chamber and the igniting sequence to be initiated from the center of that very chamber rather than the rear. Thus, filming the scenario at 20,000 frames per second allows Destin to evaluate by raw vision the inside of the housing chamber whether or not his theory is correct. Yet through his experiment, the conclusion is definitive: the central ignition and therefore Destin's theory has been proven wrong as the video indicates. As it turns out, igniting the fuel from the center creates a pocket of unburned fuel at the back of the housing chamber for the fuel and spark-plug. Concordantly, as Destin ignited the chamber from the rear, the ignition subsequently burns all the fuel evenly and thus creates a more powerful thrust for the potato. This is just another example of our modern science, or more accurately our sophisticated abilities at filming, to prove theories or disprove them. But, it is not so much that a theory is disproved to incite failure. After all, failure is the precursor to success: it took Thomas Edison thousands upon thousands of tries before he found a proper coil to be used for the light-bulb. Could you imagine if he felt he failed after his first attempt? So, keep trying and don't give up.

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