Vacuum Cannon


Vacuum cannon rests across the lecture bench and 1 demo bench.

Concept Overview:

1. Air Pressure

2. Newton's Laws as they pertain to forces and acceleration

Lecturer Procedure

Step(s) to Follow Expected Result

1. Turn on vacuum pump to remove air.

2. Wait until pump gets quiet (air is removed.)

3. Use the sharp object to puncture the tape on the side of the tube nearest the vacuum hose.

Ping pong ball is ejected from the tube, traveling at Mach 1, and goes THROUGH the target pop can


Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should the vacuum cannon be fired at a person!  Although the ping pong ball doesn't have much mass, it will be moving at an extremely high rate of speed and, thus, could cause considerable damage to a person.


So, what we can do is, we’re going to put the ping pong ball in one side of this tube.  And then, I’m going to take some wide strapping tape and cover that side.  I’ve already covered the far side with the same type of strapping tape.  So now, this is a sealed tube with a ping pong ball in it.  I’m not going to turn on the mechanical pump.  So we can hear from this, now, that it’s no longer gurgling so loudly – it’s pretty much at the limit of what it can do.  If you put your hands over the tape, you can actually feel that the tape is bowed in.  I’m putting an empty soda can here, partly as just a detection device, and we can see what happens.

FL: HS - 023