Initial Acceleration for Electromagnetic Launchers: A Feasibility Study on Chemical Propellants
MATERIALS RESEARCH LABS ASCOT VALE (AUSTRALIA)
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Stored electromagnetic energy has been used at MRL and elsewhere to accelerate projectiles to ultra-high velocities. This novel method of accelerate suffers from the disadvantage that large currents could damage the conducting rails or the projectile particularly when the latter is at rest or moving slowly. This report discusses the feasibility of using conventional gun propellants to accelerate projectiles to velocities of about 1000 ms before the pulse of electromagnetic energy is applied. A square-bore barrel is desirable to ensure a suitable interface between the barrel using chemical propellant and the rails of the electromagnetic propulsion device. Calculations show that minute amounts of an ionizing salt may be added to the propellant to enhance the conductivity of the plasma produced between the conducting rails and behind the projectile.