Internal Ballistics of a Pneumatic Potato Cannon
NAVAL ACADEMY ANNAPOLIS MD DEPT OF PHYSICS
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Basic laws of thermodynamics and mechanics are used to analyse an air gun. Such devices are often employed in outdoor physics demonstrations to launch potatoes using compressed gas that is here assumed to expand reversibly and adiabatically. Reasonable agreement is found with reported muzzle speeds for such homebuilt cannons. The treatment is accessible to undergraduate students who have taken calculus-based introductory physics.