Paintballs are highly compressed balls of paint that explode on impact. Paintball guns are handheld, high-power projectile guns with adjustable speed and barrel lengths. As a result, paintball guns can be extremely useful tools in science fair experiments dealing with velocity, speed and other natural effects. Such experiments, however, require proper safety steps, such as always performing the experiments outside and while wearing proper eye protection.
Demonstrate how temperature affects paintball performance. This experiment requires 50 paintballs, an oven, a freezer, a vice, thermometers, a paintball gun and insulated containers. Before starting, make your hypothesis. Put your paintball gun in the vice, shoot a few paintballs until you hit the bull's-eye consistently. Place half the remaining paintballs in the insulated containers and then place the containers in the freezer. Warm the other half in an oven, at about 200 degrees. Note any changes in the shape of the paintballs and the changes to the firing pattern of both sets of paintballs. Test how these changes support your hypothesis.
You can test how barrel length affects paintball accuracy. For this experiment, you need a paintball gun, 50 paintballs, four gun barrels (8, 12, 14, and 16 inches long), a vice to hold your gun and a target. Write down your hypothesis. Put your gun in the vice and fire a few paintballs with the eight-inch gun barrel. Adjust your gun until you hit the bull's-eye consistently. Now substitute the different length gun barrels, one at a time, and shoot several paintballs with each at the target. Note changes in accuracy. Once you’ve gotten your information compare it with your hypothesis to test it's veracity.
You can test the launch velocity of paintballs. You'll need different varieties of paintballs, a paintball gun, a vice, a protractor to measure angles, a tape measure, stopwatch, pencil, paper and a target. Place the gun in the vice with the barrel pointing straight up. Adjust the speed of the gun to 300 fps (feet per second). Shoot the gun and start the stopwatch. Stop the stopwatch when the paintball hits the ground. Use the equation V= ½ x g x time of flight to get your velocity. G equals the acceleration added to the object because of gravity. This is 9.8 meters per second, squared. Set the gun at a 45-degree angle and perform the same activity. This time, use the equation V=0.71 x g x time of flight. Perform this experiment on different types of paintball and note the results.
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