Fastest ping pong ball
Mike Aesoph
1126.1 metre(s) per second
United States (Uniontown)

The fastest ping pong ball is 1126.1 m/s and was achieved by Mike Aesoph (USA) in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, USA, on 13 December 2021.

Mike started making the cannon back in 2017 but with a much simpler design. Mike used it to gain attention for his “Boy Scout NOVA Shoot! Workshop” which is held roughly every year. "Every year, I would set a different goal and modify the cannon to reach it. In 2018, I hit Mach 1, in 2019, I hit Mach 2 and in 2020, I beat the world record at the time by 17% or so. I would estimate that I have spent 300 hours over the years on this cannon. Sometimes it would consume entire weekends."

Mike is a mechanical engineer with Boeing. This was a spare time project that usually peeked every year prior to the “BSA NOVA Shoot! Workshop”.

"Testing was an absolute BLAST!!! Pun intended. It was a lot of fun and the kids, both scouts and students, would discuss this project with friends and at school. This is why I decided to make the cannon – it would give the kids a “WOW!” factor and would be something they are willing to talk with other kids about and potentially lead other kids into scouting or STEM.

During indoor testing, the far wall of Mike's shop was totally embedded with shredded ping pong balls and shredded pop cans.

"I’ve been self-taught since 2017 using mostly trial and error. I have no advanced engineering degrees in compressible flow or anything like that so have to stick to just good engineering judgements."

Mike does there are opportunities to go faster, but would require some significant modifications.

The barrel is sealed at both ends and a vacuum is drawn. This removes the air from in front of the ping pong ball and allows for these speeds to be obtained. Behind the ping pong ball is a pressure chamber sealed with a burst disk. Pressure is increased in the pressure chamber until the burst disk ruptures and then the gas, helium in this case, propels the ball forward at incredible velocity!

"I’ve been building my entire life. My favorite toy when I was a toddler, was blocks. Later in life I built models, then metalwork, then wood working, carpentry, and the list goes on. I have been an engineer now for almost 30 years. This last year, I had the honor of being on the “Team Of The Year” at Boeing.

I built it in my shop which is the 2nd story of my garage. The only exception to this were the outdoor shots. One shot outdoors was done using hydrogen and the other was with a 20-foot barrel that wouldn’t fit in my shop."

"Being a Guinness World Records title holder is a great sense of pride, but mainly, this cannon project has been and continues to be just incredibly fun. As stated previously, two scouts and four students have helped with various side projects and they are just thrilled to be part of a world record event. Again, the key improvements that make the ball go faster were done by myself. The kids were given ancillary projects that supported the overall effort."