Railgun Armature Velocity Improvement SBIR Phase 2
Technical rept. 1 Mar 1990-31 Dec 1991,
IAP RESEARCH INC DAYTON OH
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Railgun hypervelocity performance has not been repeatably demonstrated at velocities over 6 kms. A significant performance limiting phenomena is the formation of secondary current paths in parallel with the main projectile accelerating plasma. A confined plasma armature technique was developed to prevent secondary armature formation. Confinement prevents loss of ionized material from the plasma armature and thereby prevents formation of a low rail-to-rail conductance. We controlled pressure in the confined armature via controlled venting through ports in the rails. Railgun tests with the confined armature show that sealing at the rail-confinement vessel interface is critical and difficult to achieve. Our tests show that during low seal leakage operation secondaries are prevented. However, maintaining good seal for the entire launch is very difficult.
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