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High-efficiency, medium-caliber helical coil electromagnetic launcher

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3 Author(s)
Engel, T.G. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Missouri Univ., Columbia, MO, USA ; Nunnally, W.C. ; Neri, J.M.

Research progress in the development of a 40 mm×750 mm helical-coil electromagnetic launcher (HCEL) is presented and discussed. Significant technical problems that have been solved in this research include efficient stator commutation methods and the ability to simultaneously implement high-inductance gradient armatures. The HCEL is able to launch a 525-gram projectile to a velocity of 140 m/s. Power for the HCEL is derived from a 62.5 kJ sequentially fired pulse forming network (PFN) of 900 V (maximum) electrolytic capacitors. The experimentally measured HCEL efficiency of 18.2% is substantially greater than a conventional or augmented railgun of similar scale (i.e., equivalent mass, bore-size, and velocity). The HCEL's high launch efficiencies result from its 150 μH/m inductance gradient, which is approximately 300 times greater than the inductance gradient of a conventional railgun. HCEL computer model predictions are given and compared to experimentally measured HCEL and PFN parameters including peak current, inductance gradient, acceleration time, parasitic mass ratios, and electrical-to-kinetic conversion efficiency. Scaling relationships for the HCEL are also presented and used to predict launcher operation at higher velocity and with a larger diameter bore size.

Published in:

Magnetics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:41 ,  Issue: 11 )