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Thermal Analysis of High-Energy Railgun Tests

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5 Author(s)
D. Motes ; Institute for Advanced Technology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA ; J. Keena ; K. Womack ; F. Stefani
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This paper describes temperature measurements made on the high-energy medium-caliber launcher at the Institute for Advanced Technology. Simulations performed in Maxwell 3-D and E-Physics showed that Joule heating from current diffusing into the rails accounts for most of the temperature rise in the conductors. Temporal skin effects increase thermal dissipation significantly over what would be expected by the ohmic losses under fully diffused conditions. Based on this analysis, Joule heating is the overwhelmingly dominant source of heating in low-speed tests. As the velocity of the armature increases, Joule heating remains the dominant source of heat; however, additional mechanisms-which may include frictional heating, arcing energy, aluminum deposition, and temperature-dependent properties-are required to more satisfactorily explain the temperature profile obtained.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  (Volume:40 ,  Issue: 1 )