Gav and Dan are back at it again, and this time they’re firing bullets (and other things) at Newton’s Cradles at 100,000 frames per second. I think we all know how a Newton’s Cradle works. It’s an amusing desktop toy that demonstrates the principle of conservation of momentum. As the first ball drops down from its lifted position, its energy and momentum is passed through the balls in the middle until it hits the end one where it swings up, falls back down and the cycle is repeated.
But what happens when you fire a projectile at it travelling just over the speed of sound? Well, in this video, The Slow Mo Guys find out by firing ball bearings at one using their Malteser launcher and then later fire an actual bullet at one. It’s an intriguing experiment and it’s pretty epic visually, too!
As has been the trend on their channel largely, they’re using the Phantom TMX 7510 camera, capable of shooting at some pretty insane speeds. But in order to keep the resolution somewhat decent, they limited it to 80,000-100,000 frames per second for these tests. It’s interesting to see that even at this sort of velocity, the principle still sort of holds true.
Except… A projectile travelling around the speed of sound presents way more energy than your average Newton’s Cradle is designed to handle. As a consequence, there’s quite a bit of beautiful mayhem and destruction but also one or two nice little surprises!