A 40-stage DES plasma ARC railgun

R. Karhi, D. Wetz, J. Mankowski, M. Giesselmann, I. El-Dana

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The design and experimental results of a 40-stage distributed energy store (DES) plasma arc railgun are presented. The railgun drives a free running hypervelocity plasma arc, one that is not pushing a payload, to velocities in excess of 10 km/s. These high velocities are of interest as they are required to successfully launch payloads into low earth orbit (LEO). The ability to launch payloads into LEO using a hypervelocity electromagnetic launcher has many financial benefits over the more conventional chemical combustion launchers. In collaboration on an Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) funded Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) project, the Center for Pulsed Power and Power Electronics (P3E) at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Texas has been responsible for developing and investigating a functional scale model of a multi-stage DES railgun to determine its effectiveness to suppress restrike phenomenon and increase plasma armature railgun performance. The distributed energy scheme is theorized to suppress restrike arc formation because the back emf voltage is localized to active stage regions. B-dot sensors positioned along the length of the launcher provide data to measure the plasma arc velocity and detect restrike, arc splitting, or additional secondary arc formation phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIEEE Conference Record - PPC 2011, Pulsed Power Conference 2011
Subtitle of host publicationThe 18th IEEE International Pulsed Power Conference
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2011
Event18th IEEE International Pulsed Power Conference, PPC 2011 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Jun 19 2011Jun 23 2011

Publication series

NameDigest of Technical Papers-IEEE International Pulsed Power Conference


Conference18th IEEE International Pulsed Power Conference, PPC 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityChicago, IL


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