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Electrothermal-Chemical Ignition Research on 120-mm Gun in Korea

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Electrothermal-chemical (ETC) propulsion with the control of a combustion process yet requires large electrical energies for an appreciable effect. Referring to the changed tendency of focusing ETC researches on the early ignition phase, the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), Korea, has been studying an electrothermal ignition for a 120-mm gun using a capillary plasma injector. Under the condition of a limited capillary geometry, design efforts with various liner materials have been done to achieve robust capillary discharges capable of transferring energies around 100 kJ. Electrical properties were estimated with the help of plasma theories and compared with experimental results. Experiments using a closed vessel and a gun-chamber simulator have been done to investigate the burning behaviors and the early phase of an electrothermal ignition, respectively. The closed vessel was designed for both a plasma and a conventional ignition. The burning rates could be obtained up to 70 MPa. The gun-chamber simulator was designed in the shape of the chamber of a 120-mm gun except for an acrylic chamber wall withstanding up to 30 MPa. Through prior tests using the closed vessel and the gun-chamber simulator, appropriate electrical energies and propellant have been selected. Firings of the full-scale 120-mm gun have been done using JA2 propellant. Electrical pulses of 1-2.5-ms duration in the energy from 20 to 120 kJ were applied. Aside from ignition capability, the results showed a possibility of a control on the peak pressure. Currently, ADD, Korea, continues the research to enhance the efficiency of the plasma injector, to compact the pulse forming network, and to investigate the electrothermal ignition properties of LOVA propellant.

Published in:

Magnetics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:45 ,  Issue: 1 )