In the news: Ping-Pong balls faster than speed of sound

Mark French, associate professor of mechanical engineering technology, and two of his Ph.D. students have created a supersonic Ping-Pong gun that can shoot a Ping-Pong ball at Mach 1.2 (about 915 miles per hour).

“You can shoot Ping-Pong balls through pop cans and it is great, it is so captivating, it is so compelling that you can get kids’ attention and once you’ve got their attention, you can teach them something,” French told NBC News.

The device has helped French and his students -- Craig Zehrung and Jim Stratton -- demonstrate how a de Laval nozzle (also called a convergent-divergent nozzle) converts subsonic gas flow into supersonic flow.

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