Super Soakers


The Problem

One of the most popular new toys to hit the market in recent years is a new high-power water gun called the SuperSoaker. This new technologically advanced water gun allows the user to shoot more water a greater distance than ever before. This provides an opportunity for more strategic and intense water gun competitions and games.

What affects the distance the SuperSoaker will shoot the water? Can one predict the distance a SuperSoaker will shoot? Is the amount of water expelled per shot from the SuperSoaker dependent upon the number of pumps?

Background Information

For a simple explanation of the operation of a SuperSoaker, the water chamber in the gun is first filled with water. The operator then pumps the water gun adding more and more air into the water chamber. Since water cannot be compressed to any great extent, the additional air added continues to increase the pressure on the water in the water chamber. The air pressure above the water continues to increase as the number of pumps increases. When the trigger is pulled, a water outlet is opened in the chamber providing a place for the pressurized water to escape. This is the stream of water produced by the water gun.

One needs to assume that an individual used the same SuperSoaker throughout the testing, that it operates in the same manner during each trial, and that the amount of water added to the SuperSoaker for each trial is constant. Also, one will assume that the water gun was fired from the same location and position each time, which eliminates the effect of gravity in the results of the test trials. Therefore, the distance traveled by the water is due to the velocity of the water coming out of the gun.

Materials Included

  • Sample data
  • Explanation of how the SuperSoaker works
  • Instructions on how to conduct the experiment