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

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, no joke though, I did ThinkerCon’s website on 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 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)

Comments (100)

  1. It's not the club hits the ball…

    ITs ThE BaLL HitS tHE CLuB

  2. Inelastic deformation, increasing stress beyond elastic limit will store a certain amount of strain energy which after unloading the body will not get it's original dimensions.

  3. Surely this will make me smarter everyday

  4. Yoooo this video is Dope. This is a great DUO a great team you guys should make a ton of videos together 👍🏽

  5. Destin does a video about materials science?! Hold my watermelon, that's awesome! (it's my field of study, are there any other viewers studying materials science here?)

  6. 90% of people: monster vs nuke (or something like that)
    Us people with a life (aka nerds): golf ball at 500 mph vs driver

  7. Now take it back and say you hit the ball so hard it shattered.

  8. that ultra shot was perfect

  9. I used to work as a medical device engineer. Some devices got gamma radiated to sterilize them. One of my co-workers used to sneak golf balls into the load. Then he'd take them out to hit 'em. I was told the balls get harder, and he could drive them an extra 100yrds, but it messed up the face of his club. I'd love to see this experiment with a radiated ball.

  10. 5:58: shows "10kf/s" = 10,000 frames per second right? (not 100,000 as stated).

  11. Men should have balls made out of that golf ball material.

  12. Those who know use Tittlest ProV1

  13. Does any on have a phobia of hold it’s called Trypophobia (idk how to spell it) and seeing the thumbnail was horror for me

  14. This seems interesting. Probably would watch for past time.

  15. Build more guns, we need them for the Area 51 attack!

  16. Who knew people who talk like complete dickheads could contribute to society.

  17. Rocket powered golf club reminds me of the Dr Ido's rocket axe weapon from Alita BA.

  18. That could kill someone

  19. Man, that is one excitable boy.

  20. The excitement of two engineering buddies laughing after an achievement is one of the most contagious things

  21. That's like the one the Backyard scientist made

  22. 10:07 guys…..took my breath away

  23. This is the only science video where I don't see thousands of things getting wrecked. Only about 5 or 6.

  24. It's confirmed. You have the best job ever!

  25. Hooligans!…my brothers!…golf balls have formerly destroyed my ego…now I don't play. Very nice to see a golf ball get its richly deserved destruction…and yeah, the watermelon was very cool as well…added to my list of ways to destroy a watermelon on YouTube…

  26. Mark's "OH" scream sounds so genuine
    Like that's the oh of someone who is caught completely off gaurd.

  27. Mark's "OH" scream sounds so genuine
    Like that's the oh of someone who is caught completely off gaurd.

  28. Shout out to the company who made the golf ball.

  29. That was truly assume. Who got to pick up all the little pieces? 🙂

  30. Officer: Do you have any idea how fast you’re going?
    Me: Stupid miles an hour?

  31. Pliz tell me u didn't smash the 1962 ball…

  32. they should do this but fire the golf ball and time up the golf club so its like its pitching the golf ball to the club and see how far it goes

  33. i would suggest to increase your personal safety guys, that stupid miles per hous ball cold have bounce to you

  34. Mark Rober sent me. Well sorta. Saw your collaboration, had to sub.

  35. Someones been watching mythbusters supersonic ping pong, science boggles the mind but you should of been able to get more speed from your setup

  36. 11:11 payback bi$#

  37. You should do obleck it would be cool

  38. Anyone else kinda feel like that old ball was important for some reason or someone??

  39. Next shoot it at the rocket club while it's spinning

  40. Ok. But now how many impacts like that can one golf ball take? Was a new ball used each test? Did you use the same ball till it couldn’t be used anymore?

  41. I'm from the Hague, Netherlands
    What you did to that melon, WELL IT'S A WARCRIME TO SPLATTER MELON LIKE THAT!!! 😎

  42. Should have fired it into a pork butt

  43. Now that’s a lot of damage

  44. 1:00 contact is horrible

  45. I need blue prints

  46. That club is a 3 wood

  47. 7:28 there is a spark when the ball impacts the anvil

  48. Mark’s reaction at 13:08 KILLED ME😂😂😂😂😂

  49. Free Titleist advertisement.

  50. 13:20…..haWowww…

  51. They’ll be picking watermelon out of there for years lol

  52. 13:19 to be continued

  53. Golf ball hitting the watermelon, is actually the actual demonstration of shockwave.

  54. Watermelon? No, more like a black (golf ball) hole

  55. R.I.P. Watermelon.

  56. I noticed at 10:55 the ball looked deformed moving through the air before hitting the club face. Could that be because of the immediate transition from a vacuum to air?

  57. Where’s dan and Lincoln

  58. Amazing Experiment
    Very good video

  59. 13:21 looks like a white hole

  60. Didn't know wix made golfballs.

  61. The ball had a mouth and vomited 6:50

  62. Use metric units!

  63. Mark toner is smart for advertising wix on the golf ball

  64. It would be interesting to see the effects of temperature on the deformation or failure point.

  65. The golf ball strikes back

  66. It is a pity that it is impossible to cut off the air coming from the air gun. I think that a watermelon splits not only a golf ball, but also the air coming immediately after it from the air gun. It was interesting …

  67. I like your channel but it is my first comment, but so sad to say that please don't waste food because a lot of living creatures dying by starving please don't waste food 🙏🙏🙏

  68. One of the best YouTube channels hands down for me. Keep it up!!!

  69. Kids use Wix
    Legends use WordPress

  70. Forget vibranium, golf balls are the strongest things knowing to man

  71. Me: is at my grandmas house
    Me: I'm full. Thanks for the food granny!
    Grandma: have some more!
    Me: 13:17

  72. omg his dumb girly laugh pisses me off, would hate to be in the same room as him

  73. чо за придурок орёт как тёлка. пидор что ли.

  74. 10:10 Slow Mo Golf Ball Gore

  75. 1:00 happy gilmore

  76. So my grandmother was right, old balls don't perform as well

  77. 12:36… The lie of a golf club

  78. Words fail me. Epic

  79. Hi I found your channel via mark I first found his videos from the glitter bomb then when I was showing that video to my mom I checked out some more of his and then I found you

  80. I want to know how far the ball traveled

  81. Love your Oscilloscope, spent years using one of those.

  82. With the water melon you made individual vortices like the water dye experiment. That was awesome 🤘

  83. @6:35 right before the ball hits, you can see a spark

  84. Should have put eyes on the ball

  85. When boys love their toys

  86. The watermelon was amazing.
    See how the particles followed the flow of air being dragged through behind the golf ball, amazing. It shows how air molecules react to drag of ball and the way it forms a black hole looking,jus sucking in all the debris from the Mellon.
    Its a shame you couldn't look closer at the point where the air is dragging in Mellon particles,what would be the area of a black hole called the event horizon.

  87. You’ve broken the golf club

  88. Tiger Woods is typing

  89. 7:27 Thank me later 🙂

  90. That watermelon was terrifying!! 😮

  91. I want to see a coconut instead of a watermelon

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