Development of a 40 stage distributed Energy Railgun

Ryan Karhi, Michael Giesselmann, David Wetz, Jeffery Diehl

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The development process pertaining to the design, fabrication, and testing of a 40-stage free-running arc synchronous distributed energy railgun is presented. Investigation of this type of system will determine the effectiveness of a distributed energy scheme to suppress the plasma restrike phenomenon and increase plasma armature railgun performance. Determined by a computer simulation, the proposed system will have a 1.0 cm ? 1.0 cm square bore cross section and a stage length of 15.24 cm producing a total rail length of 6 meters for 40 stages. A free-arc is utilized to relieve the financial burden of a large stored energy facility. A velocity of 8 km/s is desired to emulate conditions during a high altitude microsatellite launch. To achieve this velocity, pulsed power in conjunction with a low pressure (~ 10 Torr) air environment is required. The pulsed power supplies 15 kJ of energy to provide an armature current (~ 50 kA) for 1 millisecond. A real-time feedback control system will
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Jul 2009


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