How Hard Can You Hit a Golf Ball? (at 100,000 FPS) – Smarter Every Day 216


– Three, two, one. Oh, wow, that was loud! – That was way louder than I thought. – Hey, it’s me, Destin. Welcome
back to Smarter Every Day. Today’s question is fascinating. How hard can you hit a golf ball? That seems like a really simple question, but it’s very complex. For example, think about this. When a golf club is swung
and it comes in contact with a ball at some relative velocity, there’s an elastic
collision that takes place. The ball squishes and then
it uses that stored energy to rebound off the club. Well here’s one way to
rephrase the question. At what point does that
ball no longer return to its original shape? It goes from an elastic deformation to a plastic deformation. I’m not good at golf, but I
thought a really fun place to start investigating this problem is to use the Phantom camera, and see how hard I can squish the ball. Oh, yeah! So for me this is pretty decent contact, but obviously it’s not hard enough. So, it’s time to move on to
the Happy Gilmore technique. I just hit the ball behind me, how does that even work? Number one, I can’t swing
this club fast enough no matter how much I Happy Gilmore, and number two, I can’t get good consistent contact with the ball. To try to solve this, I’m working with my buddy, Mark Rober. He’s a YouTuber and an engineer and we’ve teamed up with Wix to actually build two separate devices to try to solve our problem. If you don’t know who Mark Rober is, I’m gonna need you to fix that right now. He’s an awesome engineer
who’s good at designing intricate devices that
answer complex questions in an awesome way. Mark’s the kinda guy that
has stuff he designed roving around on Mars,
doing science right now. The first video I watched of Mark’s was a roadkill experiment to see if people were more likely to
run over rubber turtles or rubber snakes. You probably know Mark
from his more recent work. He’s the guy that engineered
the glitter bomb solution to fight off porch pirates. I’m bad at golf, and you’re good at golf. – And I’m bad at rockets,
and you’re good at rockets. – I don’t know, you did the Mars Rover. – There’s no rockets on my hardware. – What are you talking about? It was like the rocket.
– On my hardware! – Oh on your hardware! Yeah, yeah, okay, cool.
– Yeah, yeah, yeah. I outsourced that. – We gonna do this? – Let’s go do some engineering. – All right, let’s do this. Anyway, you should totally
subscribe to his channel because Mark does stuff like this. A rocket-powered golf club.
– Three, two, one, roll! (rocket rumbles) (rocket wooshes) – [Mark] Yes! – Where did it go? What happened? – Go, baby! – [Trent] That thing is past those trees. – [Destin] No way. – Yeah! – [Trent] It took off. – That’s a cool shot right there, dude. (rocket whooshes) – Dude, this is respectable. (laughs) This is legit. – Three, two, one, go. (rocket whooshes) (laughter) – Yeah, baby, yeah, go! That rush you get from an
engineering achievement actually working is like, ah! Look at the flames. (rocket whooshes) – [Destin] It was an
absolutely amazing project. So obviously, go watch the whole video
over on Mark’s channel but even though we could swing the club way faster than the pro’s can, we still didn’t come close to the mechanical limits of the golf ball. Instead of hitting the ball with a club, we’re going to hit the club with the ball. Remember David from the
vortex collision video? This time I’ve asked David
to build a vacuum cannon that can shoot a golf ball
hundreds of miles an hour without using explosives. Here’s how the thing works. The barrel is just barely big enough for the golf ball to slide inside, so we push it all the way
to the back of the tube and we seal up both ends. If you pull a vacuum on
the inside of the tube, nature abhors a vacuum, so if you quickly vent
one side to atmosphere, all the air will rush into the pipe and it’ll push the golf
ball down the tube. This creates stupid fast velocities. We’re talkin’ hundreds of miles an hour. To make it fire even faster than that, we’ve put a positive pressure
tank on the back side and we pressurize it with air so we can fire the golf ball
at over 500 miles an hour. All right, Mark’s about to see the device. See, pressurize that and then we have the vacuum
in the cylinder itself. And then we have the burst disc in between and then once the hot wire melts the film, then the pressurized air will run in there and there’s no air in here, so there’s no drag. – Yeah, that’s the big deal here, right? ‘Cause if this was just at 14 psi, you just have a potato gun, right? – [Destin] Right, exactly. – But it’s the fact that there’s no drag, ’cause that’s like what,
proportional to velocity squared? – [Destin] It is, yes. – That’s where you get your
massive speed increase, right?
– Exactly. So to start off, we wanted to take the
stiffness of the club out of the equation by using something
that’s pretty much rigid. – [Mark] This looks like a cartoon. (laughs) It’s funny ’cause piece-by-piece this is all coming together. Like at first I just saw the
cannon, then I saw the anvil, and I’m thinkin’ where are we gonna stand? And then I look over here, (laughs) and I see this amazing blast wall. – [Destin] If we get a vapor cloud that comes out here,
this will strip that away and hopefully, the ball
will get straight through, and then will hit right here
in the center of the anvil and record that with the Phantom at, what are we at, at
100,000 frames per second. All right so 100 psi here
ready for the vacuum. (rumbling) – Three, two, one. Oh! I heard it. – [Destin] Whoa! – The amount of compression there, I’ve never seen anything like that. Are you kidding me? – [Destin] I think the
back of the golf ball, I bet that’s the weak part. We then decided to cut a slit in the ball and see if the outer shell of the ball was what was holding everything together. – Okay, three, two, one. The ball is hot. – [Destin] Is it really? (laughs) It’s very hot. – Yeah. – Look at it, it like… – It’s like a little
mouth and it’s like blah. (laughs) – [Destin] After that we
decided to cut deep enough to damage the inner structure of the ball and then see what could happen. – [Mark] Three, two, one. (pop) – [Destin] Whoa! – [Trent] It’s movin’ the table. – [Destin] So all these
interesting interactions that we’re seeing play
out on the golf ball, that’s a result of an area of physics called material science. What we wanna do is we want
to explore that a little bit by havin’ a little conversation about this paperclip. Let me get this in the vice here. Okay, cool. So you know that if you
were to push on a paperclip a certain amount, create a force, it’s going to bend back to
where it’s supposed to be. Right? That’s called elastic deformation. What’s happening is the paperclip is storing the energy that
you’re putting into it and then it’s goin’ right back
to where it’s supposed to be. But you also know that if
you bend it a little too far, it’s going to move and
stay permanently deformed. That’s called plastic deformation. Different materials have different elastic and plastic curves. For example, Play-Doh plastically
deforms almost immediately when force is applied. Here you can see the difference between the foam practice
ball and a normal. You can see that the practice ball is designed to absorb as
much energy as possible so you can practice your swing without the balls leaving your yard or knockin’ out a window. I decided to shoot both of
these balls against glass at a much lower velocity to not break it, just to see what happens at the exact spot where it impacts. If you play them in sync, you can see just how much faster the golf ball rebounds off the glass. This is the magic of golf ball design. You wanna absorb as much energy as possible during the collision without getting to the plastic zone and then you wanna release that energy by efficiently and rapidly bouncing away. From goofin’ around with this stuff, we’ve learned that golf ball impacts will result in an elastic collision up to about 300 miles per hour, which is why it was able
to handle the rocket club without any problems, that
was under 300 miles per hour. But once you get up around
400 or 500 miles an hour, plastic deformation occurs
inside the golf ball. By the way, that x at
the end of the graph, that’s the awesome spot, that’s where we’re trying to get to. – [Mark] That’s crazy, dang. – The vacuum cannon can’t quite
get these modern golf balls up to the failure point, so… – You do that with an old ball? – [David] Maybe it’ll splatter? – You think? I don’t think an old
ball can withstand that. So where did this come from?
– My grandpa’s house – It say 1962 – 1987, wear dated 25 years. I have no idea what that means, but mechanically it
should be very different. Oh, yeah.
– Oh! [Mark] There’s rubber bands everywhere. This is gonna be fantastic, high-speed. – [Destin] We now understand
how golf balls work but we don’t understand the
mechanical limits of a driver. There’s only one way to figure this out and that is to shoot a golf ball at 500 miles an hour against a driver. – [Mark] Three, two, one. Oh! – [Mark] I mean, that
was not what I expected. Dang, dude. Look at that. – Three, two, one. – Yes! – [Destin] Jeez, man. – [Mark] Oh, look at
the club face. (laughs) – Okay, so we’re gonna do another shot but Mark had an idea to
put an anvil behind… Genius
– Genius idea. – The golf club here, but immediately behind
it we have the anvil and the idea is that instead
of this thing moving back because it’s transferring
momentum into the club, we’re just gonna make
mechanical deformation the only way to absorb the energy. – How amazing would it be if
it bends it way back here? But it feels like it’s maybe more likely it’s gonna come and bounce back out. But, dude, what a freakin’
trophy that would be. Ball in the middle of that club. – [Destin] That would be awesome. – Oh! (laughs) – Okay, it’s Mark Rober, he can’t make a video
without using watermelon. – Destroying a watermelon. – [Destin] That’s his thing. We get a golf ball goin’
stupid miles an hour but we do agree it’s gonna
go through the watermelon. – We definitely agree that. Okay, the question is does it go through the tarp on the back side?
– And I say, no. Farewell little guy. – [Destin] Three, two, one. Oh! – There is no chunk larger
than like two inches. – [Destin] Oh, my goodness. (laughs) – There’s watermelon where? – [Destin] So it came out of the cannon, through a watermelon, through a tarp, through a moving blanket, hit that, and then somehow bounced
over here in this bag. There’s watermelon on the ceilin’ outside. (laughs) – An elastic collision. All right I hope you
enjoyed this collaboration between Mark and I. We asked Wix if they would sponsor this video collab for us
and they were like, yeah. – Without even knowing very much (laughs) the brief was like two
sentences, so props to them. – We were like rockets and golf and I don’t even think the vacuum cannon was a part of the discussion at one point.
– Yeah, we didn’t. – Yeah, so we had to step
it up to make this happen, so big thanks to Wix. Wix is a really good way to make a website do anything you want. – [Mark] I have one for all
the builds on my channel and including my workbench. It’s really clean. – [Destin] Yeah, that’s
the thing. It’s very clean. You can grab one of tons of templates and quickly make a really nice website, even if you’re not that
great at graphic design. I have created a website. – [Mark] Have you? – [Destin] Yeah.
– [Mark] I haven’t seen this. – It’s basically an omage to Mark Rober and all the reasons you should subscribe because he’s been approaching
the subscriber numbers for Smarter Every Day for a long time now, but I wanna be the reason
that you finally pass me. – Oh, I see how it is. So you take credit?
– You see what’s going on? ‘Cause it’s gonna happen anyway. – [Mark] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So you’ll be like…
– Exactly. What do you think is on the website? For reasons people
should subscribe to you? – Just pictures of my abs. (laughter) – [Destin] Pretty much. So wix.com/go/smarter, no joke though, I did ThinkerCon’s website on wix.com. Did you know that? – I did not. – [Destin] The fact that we made such a clean, awesome-looking
website on Wix got people really interested in ThinkerCon ’cause it’s legit. I mean, you can tell when
you look at the website. – [Mark] It was a great looking website. I think I even texted you about it, like the aesthetic of it is really nice. – [Destin] That was Wix. So if you have a personal
brand that you want to get you name out there and get somethin’ out there on the web, Wix is a great way to do that. Go to wix.com/go/smarter and you can start your website today. Big thanks to Mark for comin’ out. This was a blast. So go check out his channel, Mark Rober, all kinds of builds, engineering stuff, a lot more watermelon carnage
than Smarter Every Day. – This is true.
– So go check that out. Mark Rober on YouTube? That’s how you do that? – Yeah. – I’ll leave a link in the description. You can check out my website on reasons you subscribe to Mark, but I think you know why you
should subscribe to Mark. It’s a big deal. Anyway, I’m Destin. – You’re gettin’ smarter every month. Oh, wait is it day?
– Day. (laughter) Idiot.
– Sorry. (laughter)

100 thoughts on “How Hard Can You Hit a Golf Ball? (at 100,000 FPS) – Smarter Every Day 216

  1. unsubscribed untill metric, all those number u used mean nothing to me. And no im not going to calculate them to km.

  2. So, when the ball gets into plastic deformation, it deforms the shape and it may increase the flow seperation.. thereby increasing the drag?.. seems like the golf ball should be hit at an optimal force so as to get maximum range

  3. That moment at 13:22 when it accelerates in the middle after shock! Makes me think about the accelerating expansion of the universe… What if they wasn't any dark matter and the universe was somewhat bigger?

  4. Okay, so the kinetic energy of a 0.04569kg (1.620 oz) golf ball moving at 400 mph (178.816 meters/second)
    is…

    730.47 JOULES! – Definitely enough to RIP a WATERMELON TO SHREDS! 😂🍉

  5. How about shooting the golf ball out of your cannon to see how much velocity and distance you can get. Maybe a GPS chip inside the ball to track it.

  6. Maybe if Mark stopped screaming and giggling like a little girl for 5 seconds I could recommend this video to other people 🤔

  7. Imagine the watermelon as Earth, the golf ball as an Astroid. Easy to imagine the affect of an Astroid hitting the Earth at high velocity and the destruction.

  8. If i were there i wiukd have boiled te ball then shoot it on the anvil… I guess it would react like the old ball

  9. If a golf ball at 500mph can do that much damage then imagine how much damage a space debris at 10,000mph can do to the ISS.

    No wonder space is hard.

  10. Hmmm… this strangely reminds me of a warp drive. (I know there are big inherent differences between the two but still.)

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