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Air equivalent of rail gun possible?

  1. Jan 16, 2012 #1
    If a rail gun works by having an object that moves along a path, where either side has opposite charge, could that same principle be applied in air?

    I am not talking about an ion thruster, that already exists. I am saying, if wasting energy was not an issue, could it be possible to charge the air on either side of an object , allowing for movement across the bottom in the same manner that occurs with the rain gun, and have it gain propulsion from that?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 16, 2012 #2


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  4. Jan 16, 2012 #3
    Hmmm, not sure if I read that right, but it looks like that ionocraft uses slightly different principles.

    It looks like the movement comes from the ions moving from the wire to collecter.

    The picture shows the wires as being above the collector. So they would move in a downward motion.

    A rail gun does not work that way, from my understanding. A rail gun is created by using a negative and positive rail. It has a flow of electrons moving across the projectile.

    The reason I mentioned Ions, is I figured the air could be charged with negative and positive ions at either side and use that to induce the flow of electrons. Basically, a rail gun projectile that produces it's own rail out of air.
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