A Galilean Cannon is a toy similar to the famous basketball-and-tennis-ball demonstration. You take a tennis ball, balance it on top a basketball, and drop them both. The tennis ball will bounce up to a height several times as high as it was dropped from. The Galilean Cannon simply takes a series of several balls rather than two balls, allowing you to shoot the smallest ball many times the height it was dropped from.
My question is about making a modified version from two pieces of steel. I'm assuming there's a base of mass $M$ and a cap of mass $m$, and $M>>m$, although the ratio is fixed. The base has some sort of cut-off conical/horn shape going from a radius $R$ at the bottom to $r$ at the top. The cap has radius $r$ at the bottom and is rounded off at the top, and sits on top the base.
The physics of this device is now wave propagation. It's dropped onto a hard surface from a small height, causing a compression wave to travel up through the base. The wave will bounce off the sides of the base and hopefully concentrate to high energy density as it reaches the cap, ultimately shooting to cap off to a very high height.
My question is, suppose the base is cylindrically-symmetric with a radius $radius(h)$ where $h$ is the height above the bottom of the base and $radius(0) = R$ and $radius(h) = r$. For a given $M,m,R, r, h$ bulk modulus ($K$) and density ($\rho$), what is the optimal $radius(h)$ to shoot the cap as high as possible?
I would guess it is either exponential (constant ratio of adjacent "slices") or a straight cones (constant angle between boundary and net propagation direction), but I'm not sure. Please make any reasonable assumptions you need about boundary conditions for waves at the edge of the base, etc.
Additionally, how sensitive is this shape to having the initial conditions be perfect? If it's dropped at a slight angle or surface it lands on isn't perfectly flat, how messed-up does wave propagation become?