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Railgun experiments with Lexan insulators

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3 Author(s)
Witherspoon, F.Douglas ; GT-Devices Inc., Alexandria, VA, USA ; Burton, Rodney L. ; Goldsteint, S.A.

A series of railgun experiments has been performed using Lexan insulators in both round and square bores, and with closed-breech and open-breech/injected configurations. Measured armature lengths have been roughly constant at 5-10 cm in a 1-cm bore for all Lexan insulator shots, indicating that the ablated Lexan is not swept up. Projectiles have been observed to reach peak velocity of 5.65 km/s with clean armature structures: i.e. no separated secondary arc or restrike. However, in most cases a secondary arc does occur with Lexan and limits the achievable velocity. Occasionally, stationary secondary arcs have also been observed for a particularly leaky gun assembly. The effect of insulator ablation on performance is discussed, indicating that Lexan may be useful at up to 8-10 km/s for well-sealed railguns

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 3 )