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Thoughts on Railguns...

All non-spudgun related discussion goes here such as projects, theories, serious questions, etc. All "off-topic" posts (aka useless posting, determined by moderators) will be removed.
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Thoughts on Railguns...

Unread postAuthor: Hubb » Tue May 04, 2010 8:25 am

I'm gonna start with a diagram of my theory then work from there.

Image
Black - non conductive barrel
Gray - primary projectile
Yellow - plasma
Brown - anode and electrode
Purple - UV laser

One of the primary problems with a conventional railgun is that metal rails are used and these will erode to the point of needing to be replaced after just a few shots. By using a UV laser, it will ionize the air and turn it into a conducting source, which means no more rail replacement.

But this poses a new problem. You see, as the the projectile travels down the rails, the magnetic forces push the rails outward. With metals rails (this is probably a big part of the erosion) it isn't too much of an issue because they are usually braced to withstand it. Air, on the other hand cannot be braced. So, to keep them from flexing, they are placed behind the projectile.

But, again, a new problem arises. Having the conducting rails end at the projectile will not propel it at all. It will simply turn the projectile into one bad@$$ magnet (and may blow it up :shock: ). We don't want that. So, to try and solve this, something (aluminum?) is placed at the rear of the projectile. By superheating it, it will turn the substance into a plasma, which propels the projectile, working off of a modified magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) propulsion, which should launch the projectile down the barrel.

If all of this is possible, it should eliminate much of the problems from a conventional railgun, and still be able to achieve the same results.

Now, I'm not electronics expert, but I know some of you on here have a great deal more knowledge and experience than me. I'm almost certain that there are unforseen issues that I just can't put my finger on, and that's where you come in. Thoughts?
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Unread postAuthor: Insomniac » Tue May 04, 2010 8:49 am

I get the feeling that the plasma won't be conductive enough, or that the plasma won't stay where you want it and will find a way to complete the circuit well before the projectile.

Of course, I have only basic electronics knowledge and haven't done much research on railguns at all, so I don't really know what I'm talking about.
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Unread postAuthor: Technician1002 » Tue May 04, 2010 10:04 am

Plasma is used to etch items. Google Plasma Etcher. A plasma arc is very hot. Look up plasma cutters. Plasma doesn't eliminate erosion problems.

The intensity of UV required to create the ionization of air sufficient to start the conduction is not something you would wish to purchase.
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Unread postAuthor: Big-E » Tue May 04, 2010 10:17 am

don't they use UV lasers to make a sort or wireless taser? I read about a prototype like that somewhere before.
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Unread postAuthor: Hubb » Tue May 04, 2010 10:22 am

Plasma doesn't eliminate erosion problems.
Yeah, from my understanding, plasma arcs are what cause a lot of a railgun's deterioration.

The intensity of UV required to create the ionization of air sufficient to start the conduction is not something you would wish to purchase.
I understand that as well. Right now, this is just theory. Nothing more. But, perhaps another form of ionization is in order...

I get the feeling that the plasma won't be conductive enough, or that the plasma won't stay where you want it and will find a way to complete the circuit well before the projectile.
The plasma should be plenty conductive enough. In fact, some railguns are made to work off of plasma, which is where I got the idea from.

don't they use UV lasers to make a sort or wireless taser? I read about a prototype like that somewhere before.
I'm sure it's possible.
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