A New High Current Laboratory and Pulsed Homopolar Generator Power Supply at The University of Texas
The University of Texas at Austin is constructing a spacious facility for research in pulse power technology at the Balcones Research Center, located in north Austin. The arrangement and capacity of the facility are intended to support high-current experiments. The laboratory power supply being designed consists of six homopolar generators, each capable of delivering ten megajoules of energy. The output bus is configured such that various series, parallel, and series-parallel circuits of homopolar generators are possible. Both resistive and inductive loads can be driven from the power supplies. Research programs will be supported with a wide range of physical facilities, including materials handling, machine shop, data acquisition and analysis, engineering and operating personnel, chemical analysis and metallurgical laboratories, and an information center. These facilities will be available to the U. S. technical community through several types of arrangements with The University through the Center for Electromechanics. Each of the six homopolar generators is designed to deliver 1 MA at 100 V, with a maximum repetition rate of a discharge every five minutes. In addition to EM launch research and applications, other intended uses of the power supply include welding of large cross-sections of metal (up to 650 cm2or 100 in.2of steel), generation of high magnetic fields in low-impedance magnets, and testing of high-current opening switches. Status of major elements of the project is reported.