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Hammer Vs. Bullet

  1. Jul 20, 2008 #1
    First post guys, but I have a ongoing debate in need of a answer

    OK, I believe I deliver much more energy with a blow from my hammer then if I fired a bullet at the same object. especially since I am a 240lbs. muscle bound highly skilled carpenter using a 22oz. framing hammer.
    I can find data for the bullets. I can find no data for the hammer. This is what brings me here.

    45 long colt - muzzle velocity 761 FPS - Muzzle energy 322 FT.LB

    Could someone please show me how to address this problem

    Thank you,
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2008 #2

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    Treating the hammer as a simple projectile (ignoring the fact that you are holding it), find its kinetic energy. You have its mass, now just estimate how fast you can get it moving. The formula for kinetic energy is:

    [tex]E = 1/2 m v^2[/tex]
  4. Jul 20, 2008 #3


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    Science Advisor
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    Welcome to PF!

    Hi Joe ! Welcome to PF! :smile:

    Energy would be important if you were launching straight up.

    But if you're firing at a target, surely what matters is momentum? :smile:
  5. Jul 20, 2008 #4
    You can do this experimentally. Use 16d regular nails and oak, so that you can take at least 2 full swings. Start a nail, measure the height, drive it as hard as you can, and measure the height again. So you have some work (energy) to measure against.

    Now start another nail. Ask around for a press (preferably hydraulic). If none of your buds have one, go down to the local auto parts store, tell them what you're doing and buy them a six-pack to let you use the bearing press. Measure the amount of force it takes to push the nail into the wood. Multiply that times the distance from above. You should have the energy +/- 20%.
  6. Jul 20, 2008 #5


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    How about hammer versus nail gun? Can you hammer a nail into the stuff that nail guns are used for in a single blow?
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