The TAERF Scientific Railgun Theoretical Performance
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The successful demonstration of direct-current railguns during the last decade has shown that these simple devices have the capability of accelerating gram-sized projectiles to very high velocities, provided that the current and energy is fed into the accelerator in an appropriately controlled manner. Two current-control devices have been used successfully, the large inductor and the explosive flux compressor. In the experiments done to date, only a single power supply device has been used, connected to the breech end of the rails. The performance of these railguns was limited by such factors as the electrical resistance of the rails, however, and improved performance is expected to be obtained by using many energy stores distributed along the length of the gun The Center for Electromechanics at the University of Texas at Austin is funded to build a distributed energy store railgun. The theoretical performance of this gun is examined for several cases in which different numbers of energy stores are used.