Fabrication of a Compact Storage Inductor for Railguns
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A liquid nitrogen-cooled, coaxial, energy storage inductor has been designed and built to be used in conjunction with a compact homopolar generator to form a high-energy-density power supply for use with electro-magnetic accelerators. The low-resistance, lightweight aluminum inductor stores 3.1 MJ at a peak current of 1.0 MA. Minimizing weight rather than size was emphasized in the design, resulting in a 1.23-m (48.5-in.) diameter by 0.91 m (36 in.) long inductor weighing 14.7 kN (3,300 lb). A coaxial design was chosen to eliminate high external magnetic fields without the necessity for shielding. External magnetic fields are undesirable because of effects on nearby components and the possibility of detection. Also, attention has been given to minimizing the partial flux linkages or internal inductance of the coil, thereby maximizing the overall transfer efficiency into a railgun. Details of the design, fabrication, and predicted performance will be presented.