High Pressure Acceleration of an Arc-Driven Metal Slug in a Railgun
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The successful acceleration in a railgun of an intact, arc-driven metal slug subjected to a peak pressure of - 0.7 GPa is described. The techniques and principles of accelerating metal slugs at very high pressures are reviewed. High pressure operation is required for applications requiring maximum velocity in guns of limited length. The development of metal projectiles is useful because of the availability of a wide range of properties such as strength, density, ductility, hardness and melting point. For example, high tensile strength and ductility make metal projectiles resistant to damage resulting from high-pressure demuzzling in comparison to ceramic projectiles which are characterized by enormous compressive strength, but low tensile strength and ductility. The electrical conductivity of metals necessitates the protection of metal projectiles from erosion by the armature current during acceleration. The problem of designing protective sabots of minimum mass and capable of operating at very high pressure is discussed.