Posted 11 March 2009 - 10:40 PM
Posted 12 March 2009 - 09:12 AM
Posted 12 March 2009 - 09:20 AM
Posted 12 March 2009 - 01:47 PM
Posted 09 April 2009 - 01:28 PM
What you're talking about is generally known as either a coilgun or a railgun (similar concepts, different operating principles).A friend of mine worked for a while on a larger-scale version of these for the Navy and we're geeked out about it at length. There are a couple of key issues that currently keep this from being useful as a man-portable weapon (according to him, these problems exist at pretty much any scale):
One wacko idea would be to also use a log needle in the center of the barrel to accelerate it using electromagnetic force... thus making for a truly silent ammo not needing powder with no moving parts besides the bullet.
- Power. Even for small projectiles, these weapons need a relatively large amount of energy delivered very quickly and very precisely. This means that you need fairly large capacitors and (if you want to fire more than once) either heavy batteries or some sort of serious power generation (like the engines of a Navy ship).
- Heat. Pushing the sort of power we're talking about through a small area causes a lot of heat. In terms of the ship-mounted Navy railguns, this means that currently they have to routinely replace portions of the weapon after a relatively small number of firings. I've been told this scales down (not as much heat for a smaller version, but smaller versions can also handle less).
- Magnetism. These things operate using powerful electromagnets, which isn't a problem unless you have glasses or a ring or buttons on your jacket. This is very similar to the precautions you have to take with MRI machines -- the scaled-down version they were working with was apparently powerful enough to tear your finger off it you were foolish enough to leave a ring on around it when it cycled.
- Penetrating power. The advantage of this class of weapons is they can fire a projectile very, very fast and thus put a whole lot of energy into a small package. This is also a disadvantage -- they tested the Navy version against an target vessel and found that they just ended up with a hole on either side of the ship. The projectile wasn't able to dump its kinetic energy into the target, it just punched right through.
Posted 16 April 2009 - 02:11 PM
Posted 05 May 2009 - 02:40 PM
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