A bench top railgun with distributed energy sources

J. Mankowski, J. Dickens, M. Giesselmann, B. McDaniel, B. McHale, M. Kristiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Experimental results of a distributed energy source railgun are presented. Distributed energy source railguns were first proposed by Marshal in an asynchronous scheme and later by Parker synchronously. Both schemes employ a "traveling excitation wave" to push the projectile along the rail. The primary advantages of such a scheme over the common breech-fed is higher efficiency due to less energy remaining in the rail and lower rail resistive loses. Another advantage is the reduction in the probability of re-strike. However, these advantages are achieved at a cost of higher switching complexity. As a proof of principle experiment, we have constructed a bench-top solid armature railgun with distributed energy sources. Instead of a single, capacitive, breech-fed, energy source, the current is supplied by two storage capacitor banks, placed at different positions along the rail. The switching configuration, which requires a dedicated switch at each capacitor, is realized with sold state switches. The railgun is diagnosed in order to evaluate performance and to appropriately trigger the switches. In addition, experimental results are compared to simulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-169
Number of pages3
JournalIEEE Transactions on Magnetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Capacitive energy storage
  • Electromagnetic launching
  • Electromagnetic launching power supplies
  • Railgun power supplies
  • Railguns


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