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Scaling study for the performance of railgun armatures

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3 Author(s)
Thornhill, L.D. ; Sci. Applications Int. Corp., Marietta, GA, USA ; Batteh, Jad H. ; Littrell, D.M.

A model is developed for investigating the performance of solid, plasma, hybrid, and transitioning armatures as a function of railgun geometry and gun operating conditions. The two figures of merit used in the calculation are the armature efficiency and the maximum velocity. Effects investigated include armature parasitic mass, armature resistance, friction, ablation drag, and, for the hybrid armature, gap growth. The model is applied to study how armature performance scales with projectile mass, or correspondingly bore dimension, and with gun current per unit rail height in the hypervelocity regime from 7 to 15 km/s. The model indicates that armature efficiency generally increases with projectile mass, whereas the maximum velocity for plasma and transitioning armatures is relatively insensitive to projectile mass. Calculations are also performed to determine the sensitivity of the model's predictions to uncertainty in key parameters, such as the ablation entrainment fraction, the skin friction coefficient, and the contact potential

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