How Fast Does An Air Hockey Puck Travel?


How Fast Does An Air Hockey Puck Travel?

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Have you ever wondered just how fast an air hockey puck travels? Maybe you love playing air hockey and sometimes it seems like the puck is traveling at 100mph. Well, in this article we will go over everything you need to know about air hockey and just how fast a puck travels. 

So how fast does an air hockey puck travel?

Depending on a bunch of different components, an air hockey puck can reach speed upwards of 80 miles per hour. This is done by the use of a low friction air surface.  

If you want to know more about how fast an air hockey puck can travel you will definitely want to keep reading this article. You can also watch this video to watch professional air hockey players play each other.

What makes the puck that fast?

Below are some components used in air hockey that help to provide this speed to the puck. Some major components that affect the speed of the air hockey puck are:

  • Table’s structure
  • Puck’s structure
  • Force of hitting

Manufactures develop the air hockey table with tiny holes on its surface from which air flows with the help of a blower fitted below the surface. This airflow creates a layer of air and lifts the puck in the air, which helps to break the contact of the puck with the table and puts it in the air. They make the surface of the table with plastic or composite material, which makes the surface smoother. 

The material used in the puck also helps it to travel easily. It provides the best combination of smoothness and minimum friction to the puck. Any time someone hits the puck, it moves at a high rate of speed. It also depends upon the force that a player uses to hit the puck. According to Newton’s third law, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Hence, the more the force, the more will be the speed.

Speed often thrills the players and they try to hit the puck harder and win the game. The speed of the puck depends upon several factors and by improving these factors; one can improve the speed gradually. Some of these factors and tips to improve the speed are:

  • Air cushion

Air cushion formed by the airflow provided by the blower fitted below the surface plays a major role to provide the speed to the puck. It creates a gap between the puck and table surface. This breaks the contact between the two and results in low friction. Friction is a retarding force, which decreases the speed. With the presence of minimum friction, the puck moves at the maximum speed. Even a small hit leads to the fast and smooth movement of the puck.

  • Blockage of holes

They make the table surface with plastic or similar composite material with the presence of holes in the surface from which air flows and create the air cushion for the puck to move on. These holes often get blocked with dust and debris. This created an uneven air flow and disturbs the movement of the puck. To maintain the high speed of the puck, clean these holes periodically. You can use a toothpick to clean them but power on the airflow so that the dust doesn’t settle down and will come off the table.

  • Size of the puck

Puck size must be suitable enough to play with. It is in proportion to the table. On a big table, a big and heavy puck is used but it will amble on smaller tables and hence will be unsuitable for them. Airflow on smaller tables is less than compared with big tables, so their ability to lift the puck in the air decreases and causes friction and resists the moment.

  • Hitters force

Puck’s movement depends upon Newton’s third law of motion, which states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Similarly with an air hockey puck, when a hitter hits the puck with a certain force, the puck disperses with the equal force. Larger the force, larger will be the speed. That’s why most of the players use their full arm motion to exert as much force as possible and transfer it into the high speed of the puck.

  • Cleanliness of the table

The table is the main surface on which the puck moves. Any foreign object on the table will cause a restriction in the puck’s movement. So, it is better to keep the table neat and clean by maintaining its smoothness. You can wipe the surface with any damped cloth. Another easy way to keep the table clean is to purchase a tabe cover for the table. This is the best place to get one at a good price. 

  • Maintenance

A perfect table with periodic maintenance is the best way to keep the surface smooth and fast pace on the table. Lubricate and polish the surface properly and clean the blower. If any damage occurs on the surface, we advise it to go for replacement rather than repair as it can disturb the smoothness and airflow. 

The puck can travel a high speed and can become dangerous for the players and the people around the table. Take proper care while playing this game. They design the table with raised edges to prevent such misshapen, but still, we must be careful when we are playing. 

What is air hockey?

Air hockey is an on-table sport which is played between two players. In this a puck made up of Lexan polycarbonate resin (a hard material) is hit and directed with the help of striker or Paddle. Both the players try to direct the puck towards the opposite goal which is protected by the other player. This is an entertaining and fast pace game that uses a huge smooth surface that works on the principle of airflow on the surface that lets the puck move with minimum friction. It was invented in 1969 by employees of Brunswick Billiards.

With the presence of airflow on the surface, it becomes easy for the puck to move with minimum friction as friction depends upon the area of contact. With this, the pace of puck magnifies, but one would wonder how fast an air hockey puck actually travels. 

This is an obvious question as air hockey is based upon a frictionless or minimum friction surface which can provide huge speed. It travels with the blink of the eye. Some pucks have even been registered to reach a staggering 80 miles per hour! The number is so staggering as the puck is able to travel at those speeds within a split second and then come back to a halt in that same amount of time. It is no wonder the puck will fly off the table sometimes. 

Conclusion

Air hockey is an exciting sport with a fast-moving puck on the air cushion provided with the help of a blower. With the help of a low friction air surface, this puck can reach at the speed of 80 miles per hour, which is incredible. Its speed depends upon many factors like table surface, hitters force and the puck itself. Winning depends on skills rather than on the speed for almost every game. This is because it does not matter how hard you can hit the puck if you cannot hit the puck into the goal. 

Matt Robbs

There is nothing quite so enjoyable as bringing back memories from your childhood. We used to spend hours playing pinball in my friends basement and that really got me involved in everything retro!

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