Designing a Pneumatic Fish Cannon

Flying Fish, a mysterious mythical creature and now a reality.

Dubbed the 'Salmon Cannon', a new glorified vacuum tube is helping fish in the Columbia River traverse man made dams by flying over them.

Whoosh Innovations, the company behind the device first designed the pneumatic tube system to transport fruit and vegetables in packing plants.  But when Washington state posed a research question of how to help Salmon migrate across hydroelectric dams Whoosh pondered if fish could use the system too.

"So we put a tilapia in the fruit tube," says Todd Deligan, Whooshh's vice president. "It went flying, and we were like, ‘Huh, check that out."

The tests proved positive and frozen fish rocketed through the fruit tube and arrived safely on the other side without damage.

The department of energy is running a test this month that will see a 150ft long tube system rocket salmon up a 20-foot embankment and into the back of a truck, 40 ft away.

Previous fish cannon tests revealed fish will voluntarily enter the tube. Once they swim into the entrance the vacuum sucks them up providing an initial boost, while elevated pressure keeps the fish  moving at 30-40km/hr. until they have a lift-off.

Salmon cannon

If testing with live fish goes well, these innovative fish cannons will be officially put into a use.

Salmon cannon demonstration

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