As a kid, you probably loved putting a Nerf pistol in your pocket and surprising your friends with a foam dart on the forehead. Those times were fun, but why stop there? Why not make a Nerf gun that’s 100 times bigger, faster, and more powerful?
That’s exactly what Mark Rober did. The former NASA engineer rounded up a couple of engineering buddies (Ryan and David from the YouTube channel Eclectical Engineering) to create the world’s largest Nerf gun. They connected a 3,000-psi paintball tank (which is the source of the air) to a firing chamber that’s regulated to 80 psi. Pushing the trigger forward allows the air to flow from the tank to the chamber; pulling the trigger pushes the air from the chamber to the main cylinder and fires the foam dart.
The darts that Rober used are made of pool noodles and toilet plungers, and they’re capable of traveling at 40 mph (or 64 kph). However, the Nerf gun can also work with a more aerodynamic projectile that Rober and his co-workers made through 3D printing. Testing the projectile showed that it can travel 130 yards (118 meters) — more than the length of a football field.
So what does the world’s largest Nerf gun prove? Basically, it shows that using engineering know-how can help people convert creative ideas into amazing inventions that do fun and exciting things. These inventions, in turn, can help people understand aerodynamics and other important physics concepts in a better and easier way.
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