Accession Number:

ADA190295

Title:

Rail Damage in a Solid Armature Rail Gun

Descriptive Note:

Final rept

Corporate Author:

ARMY ARMAMENT RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT AND ENGINEERING CENTER WATERVLIET NY BENET WEAPONS LAB

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1987-12-01

Pagination or Media Count:

23.0

Abstract:

Plasma arc drive rail guns operate by forming a high temperature plasma behind the projectile using a thin metal fuze. These systems achieve the highest projectile velocities about 12 km sec, since the driving force includes a substantial plasma pressure as well as the electromagnetic or Lorentz force. Unfortunately, severe rail damage occurs primarily from the intense temperatures generated by the plasma arc and the wiping motion of the armature itself. The solid armature gun replaces the plasma armature with a conducting metal armature. Since the plasma arcing is reduced or eliminated, the projectiles are accelerated mainly by the Lorentz force. Thus, solid armature rail guns operate at lower projectile velocities. The important tradeoff is that there is a substantial reduction in rail damage for metal armature projectiles. The elimination of the plasma force limits projectile velocities in the metal armature rail guns. A more subtle limit is the speed at which the commutation process can take place. Although the latter limit is still not well understood, experimental evidence indicates a commutation limit may occur near 6 to 7 km sec. This velocity limit is still attractive for Army tactical missions for rail guns. The actual rail damage occurring with two types of metal armatures, wire brush contactors and monolithic metal contactors, and new developments in barrel technology, such as superconducting augmentation, are presented in this report.

Subject Categories:

  • Guns
  • Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE