Explorations (How can
Some experiments for you to try: Physics teachers - you can develop a lesson plan around some of these. Kids - lets not forget those science fairs your science teacher is always trying to get you to submit a project for. Professional scientists or engineers - if I can spend some of my personal time on this, so can you. Its your duty to the paintball community and society!
Note since the original of these pages was published, I have it from a good source that at least some of the needed data already exists. Sadly, but understandably, this data will probably never see the light of day for a variety of proprietary reasons.
By now, if you have managed to slog your way through all this, some of the most obvious problems and needs are already evident to you. However, I will compile the ones that stuck out for me, along with some hints at good scientific practice. However, I do not intend to write down all the scientific protocols necessary. Particularly for science projects, I don't want to make the task too easy. I give only a few hints to start you thinking (but see last section here). Moreover, I certainly don't have all the answers.What is the Trajectory and Range of Paintballs?
I discussed the fact that topspin could produce a flatter trajectory at low spin rates. However, if a marker produced backspin at high spin rate, an even flatter and longer trajectory can be produced. In general, this is what we would like to see all the time. As I already mentioned several manufacturers have come up with bolts that try to produce spin on the ball. These do not seem to be very popular. The unsupported reason given by several people is that they also cause dispersion as well.
The curved barrel by Tippmann Pneumatics is another way of producing spinning paintballs. Admittedly, I have great hopes for this method.
Another way of placing spin on the ball that I have not heard anyone using yet would be to use a slighlty oversized egg shapped barrel with the small end at the bottom so that gas can blow past the ball causing back spin. Remember you saw the concept here first!
Well, here is one anyone can try. Place a very thin film of tape on the top of the muzzle to create drag and hopefully backspin. If the spin is high enough, you will see a small change to a flatter trajectory. Hopefully, the balls won't break and the tape will hold for more than a few shots. Can you think of other ways to do this (without ruining a barrel)? Note: The change may not be much, and as I have already discussed there are a host of other problems to worry about. It could be easy to fool yourself into believing its true. How can you check this?Find the range of spin velocities
This one is for the very advanced mathematician players: My feeling is that most of the accuracy problems are in the paintballs, not the markers (maybe players too!). Applying group theory, (symmetry groups) and statistical analysis to the problem of paintball deflection would be fun, and might just be useful. Of course, it wouldn't hurt to measure and quantify a variety of imperfections or asymmetries in paintballs to compare with theory. Of course, this project assumes that those with this kind of mathematical knowledge have even heard of paintball.Temperature changes and markers
Why not use paintballs? Because paintballs are subject to humidity, preparation conditions, conditioning, pressure variations, temperature, filling factors, chemical aging, probably microbial decay and I am sure a few things I missed. We need to remove the effect of those variables. The relationships between seam orientation, sphericity, velocity, barrel length, pressure, bore size/ball size ratio and a few other variables needs to be locked down and understood. Then you start shooting paint.
Discussing or Arguing Ideas with
As far as I know this is the first document of its kind on paintballs. I would seriously like comments and suggestions to improve the scope and impact of this document. (Two, that I already know: its long, and its complex. Hey, you have to start somewhere!)
As far as people contributing to these problems, I would dearly love to have reliable experimental information. However, there are a couple of caveats: First, I do not have the storage space or the time to host and maintain other peoples work. I would gladly include a web reference or published reference, and discuss their results somewhere in these pages. (The one possible exception to this is what I deem critical data by someone without any web page access.)
Second, you should be thick skinned. If you submit your results or a reference to me for comment, I will give them my full attention. I am a professional scientist (a chemist, not a physicist), and will examine your work with the same scrutiny I use in my own work, and those of my colleagues. I don't care if your ideas or results conflict with what I have said here, but I do care about properly documented and well thought out work. You can expect a critical review about a subject that I have become a little familiar with. Remember, however, that I too am out of my natural element with much of this stuff.
If you are trying to come up with experiments to solve a problem, I will offer advice only if you show me you have thought about the problem yourself first. Basically, this is the same rule used in many of the sci.* newsgroups. I don't do homework for students.
Last Updated: Febuary 5, 2000