The Pressure in an Air Cannon

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities, and you.

The Pressure in an Air Cannon

A compressed air cannon may sound a little weird, but it’s surprising what a sudden pulse of air can do. For simply having fun, the AirZooka can blow a harmless ball of air up to 20 feet. Also for play is the Zero Blaster that launches 2-to-6-inch diameter non-toxic fog rings, which travel up to 14 feet. The fog allows the user and observers to see the toroid shape of the pressure pulse.

AirZooka Air Gun

Image Source: AirZooka on Amazon

The sudden release of a diaphragm allows pressure to build inside a chamber. With a restriction on the opposite end the pressure is increased according to Boyle’s law (P1 x V1 = P2 x V2).

One do-it yourself website for an air-powered cannon recommends attaching a bicycle pump or air compressor to build up pressure to 50-80 psi on a design that uses water pipe in a sealed chamber with a release valve. Depending on the design, air cannons are also used to launch potatoes, tennis balls and other stuff.

The world’s largest air cannon, built in the Czech Republic in collaboration with the TV show “Wonders of Nature,” can shoot air more than 300 feet. Its effectiveness was demonstrated by knocking down a wall of cardboard boxes. Smoke added to the pulse shows the toroid shape of the moving air.

Popular Mechanics Air Cannon DemoImage source: Popular Mechanics

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