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Disrupting Armature Ejecta and Its Effects on Rail Damage in Solid-Armature Railguns

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3 Author(s)
Zielinski, A. ; U.S. Army Res. Lab., Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, USA ; Watt, T. ; Motes, D.

Material ejected from aluminum armatures at the rail-armature interface has been identified as a mechanism that degrades both rails and insulators in a railgun, significantly reducing the bore lifetime. With the goal of controlling the onset of armature ejecta, a series of single-shot tests was conducted in a small railgun with a bore cross section of 22 × 44 mm. The tests utilized channels of various sizes and geometries machined into the rail contact surface of the armatures to see if ejecta could be controlled. These tests identified several channel patterns as having the potential to delay the onset of armature ejecta. A series of multiple-shot tests was subsequently conducted in a larger railgun having a bore cross section of 38 × 76 mm. The goal of these experiments was to see if the channel patterns that delayed armature ejecta had a significant impact on rail erosion at start-up. Three test series were conducted. In the first series, three armatures with a nested circular channel pattern were tested. In the second series, three armatures with a large centrally located channel were tested. Both armature designs used equivalent contact areas. These results were then compared to a standard armature contact face with no modifications in a third test series.

Published in:

Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 3 )