Can One Raise A Sunken Vessel With Ping-Pong Balls? Being assigned an I-Search paper, I was to acquire a question that was appealing to me, and that I did. It all started after mindless searches via the internet and some procrastination, to which I found myself to be in front of the television. While I knew I should be looking for a suitable question, I still sat there watching on. I happened to be flipping through the channels when a commercial for the Mythbusters brought about the question if one can raise a sunken vessel with ping-pong balls, to which I thought, "Why would anyone want to use ping-pong balls to raise a- hey, that could be my question!" It was so hilariously stupid that it caught my attention, so I used it. I started my search by contacting my grandfather, John Walker, whom has been a boating enthusiast for his entire life. I asked him if he thought it was possible to raise a boat with ping-pong balls, to which he replied, "Why in the [world] would you want to use ping-pong balls?" He went on to tell me that he had heard a myth saying that a man raised his unfortunate ship using ping-pong balls, made from a factory he worked at.

He also told me that to do so, one would have to use a ton of ping-pong balls and that all of the openings would have to be sealed to prevent any balls from escaping. It seemed possible, but I still didn't have a definitive answer to my question, so I kept on. After my not-so-definitive interview with my grandfather I used msn. com to search the internet for anything related to the question I had chosen. Doing so lead me to a site which told of a Danish engineer, Karl Kroyer, that had tried to patent such and idea but was denied by the German Patent Office because of an American comic strip which described his idea of using ping-pong balls to raise a ship.

This really didn't answer my question but it did give an idea to where the myth came from. So I went to aj. com where I found a site for The International Starch Institute in Denmark, where it told of Karl Kroyer but not what the first site I visited told of. The site for I.

S. I. says that Karl Kroyer was enlisted to raise a two-thousand gross-ton freighter of the Persian Gulf floor and he decided to use a method described in a Donald Duck comic strip. In the end he raised it with twenty-seven-million ping-pong balls, which took four-hundred-thirty-five-thousand dollars out of the two-million dollar insurance policy that the owners had on the freighter.

I had finally found out that one can raise a vessel with ping-pong balls, but I still didn't know how it could be done. I decided to go back to where I originally got my question, Jamie and Adam from the Mythbusters. I went online and saw that they had already tested this myth on a previous show, so I left a posting in their board room asking them how they did it and for the results of their "Ping-Pong Rescue." To my surprise, I had gotten a response sooner than what I had originally expected. In which they described, in detail, that they had to determine what water pressure a ping-pong ball could survive and find a way to get the balls into the boat, they had selected, effectively.

They went on to say that they had used a pressure tube to find out that a ping-pong ball could stand up to 90 PSI. They also said that they used a long three inch diameter tube, to which they put a funnel in one end and the other end into the boat that they had sealed up. They then put several ping-pong balls in the funnel at a time and put a garden hose in the funnel so that the water, pulled by gravity, would "wash" the balls down, filling the boat. Jamie also noted that one of Adam's seals, had failed and several hundred ping-pong balls escaped the boat and had floated to the surface and they had to reseal the boat. Adam also calculated how many balls it would take, determining that it would take around fifty-thousand ping-pong balls since fifteen balls displace 1 pound and that the boat weighed in around three-thousand pounds. Adam and Jamie concluded that the boat was raised and, in the end, it only took twenty-seven-thousand ping-pong balls, which was due to the buoyancy of the materials the boat was constructed of.

I felt that the information given to me by Jamie and Adam had covered every aspect of the question quite thoroughly and had ended my search. After reviewing my search, I see that even if it may not be practical, one can definitely raise a sunken vessel with ping-pong balls and it may even be cost effective. I believe that out of most of the papers that I have been required to do that this has been unusually fulfilling because it has been a question that I personally felt was intriguing and that I could answer on my own and not a topic that I was given to write on. I believe that a person can only write their personal best if it is about something that touches them in a personal way wether it is intellectually, comically, or emotionally.