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Plasma-armature railgun launcher simulations

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3 Author(s)
D. A. Weeks ; Center for Electromech., Texas Univ., Austin, TX, USA ; W. F. Weldon ; R. C. Zowarka

The authors review three popular loss models currently used at CEM-UT (Center for Electromechanics at the University of Texas at Austin) in modeling EM (electromagnetic) launchers: friction, ablation, and armature drag. In experiments at currents below 500 kA using existing railgun design, the friction model alone was acceptable in predicting performance. In an experiment incorporating a railgun structure modified for higher stiffness and a measured peak railgun current of 700 kA, the effects of each of the loss models were compared to the measured results, and the greatest success at predicting the final projectile velocity and exit time occurred using the velocity-dependent friction model. It is believed that reducing frictional losses and plasma leakage will be instrumental in achieving velocities greater than 6 km/s

Published in:

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