High Power Switches at the Center for Electromechanics at the University of Texas at Austin

Sledge, R.L.
Perkins, D.E.
Rech, B.M.
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Three high coulomb explosively actuated opening switches which have demonstrated reliability and fast switching in railgun experiments are presented. Two of these switches first provide a low conductivity path to transfer energy from homopolar generators to inductive energy stores and then open to commutate current to the railgun. One is a monolithic aluminum element with machined stress concentrations, and the other uses reloadable cartridges mechanically clamped. The third switch is designed to interrupt current in a compulsator powered railgun experiment. In the event of a short circuit fault, the switch automatically opens in order to prevent overheating of the compulsator armature windings. The design and excellent performance of these switches are reviewed

R.L. Sledge, D.E. Perkins, and B.M. Rech, “High power switches at the Center for Electromechanics at The University of Texas at Austin,” IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, vol. 25, no. 1, January 1989, pp. 519-524.