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Analysis of a Rail Gun Plasma Accelerator
SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INC ATLANTA GA
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A model is developed to study the characteristics of an arc-driven rail gun. In particular, a system of equations is developed which provides a computationally efficient method for estimating the arc-projectile acceleration and the average thermodynamic properties of the arc. Predictions of the model are compared with experimental measurements and with the results of other investigations. The model is used to determine the range of plasma conditions which can be achieved through variations of the arc mass, projectile mass and current. The possibility of using the rail gun as a plasma accelerator is discussed with particular emphasis on the range limitations imposed by plasma expansion.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE