An experimental and computational study of magnetic sawing in a railgun
Magnetic sawing is a phenomenon that can severely damage electrical conductors carrying high current densities. It occurs at flaws in the conductor, such as cracks or notches, or at any other location where the current becomes concentrated, and it can cut deeply into or completely through the conductor. This thesis studies the process experimentally using a railgun, a form of electromagnetic launcher. The research achieves two main objectives. The first is to develop and test a computational model to predict and avoid the onset of magnetic sawing damage. The second is to experimentally observe and characterize the progression of the damage as greater amounts of energy are supplied by the current. Finally, there is a discussion of the relative contributions to magnetic sawing damage by mechanical and thermal effects.