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Research Project-RailGun

  1. Jul 22, 2009 #1
    As a Senior in high school I am conducting a research project. I have spent numerous hours searching the web and becoming familiar with railguns. Now I need to start constructing but I need a good, detailed set of plans to start with. I am not looking to build a massive one or even very powerful but a real railgun.

    Where can I find or get construction plans for a railgun??

    I really need some help. Anything is appreciated.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2009 #2
    Well first of all before you start anything, what is the aim of the project?

    As simply building a railgun from someones existing plans, is not in any way research, also I doubt that you can find a set of construction plans anywhere. These things arent mechano, they are a new peice of technology.

    Also are you thinking of railguns or coilguns?
     
  4. Jul 22, 2009 #3

    Mech_Engineer

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    I seriously doubt you will be able to afford the parts or technology required to make a railgun work. The complexity required just to make a "simple" one would be quite daunting. You definitely won't be able to find detailed plans for one you can build in your garage.
     
  5. Jul 22, 2009 #4

    minger

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    In theory the mechanical part of these devices aren't very complex. I would think the electrical part would be the most complex and dangerous. If I were doing a project such as this, I would take a steel tube and cut it lengthwise such that I had my two "rails". My projectile would be a metal block with circular cuts milled to the sides. I would then use ball bearings between the projectile and the rails.

    I would then use a car battery with plenty of resistors and the goal would be to simply show a proof of concept that yes, I can move the projectile down the rails using only electricity. Do not use the high amps needed for practical demonstration.
     
  6. Jul 22, 2009 #5
    For the overall research I would like to examine the recoil as the voltage increases to chart the correlation. I would definitely like to construct a rail gun and will. It is just a matter of how. I have access to all the needed equipment as far as I can tell and funding should not be an issue.
     
  7. Jul 23, 2009 #6

    minger

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    Recoil is something that you can predict analytically, and should be pretty close. From your voltage you can calculate force on the projectile and consequent acceleration. From conservation laws, you should then be able to calculate the reaction force.

    The only thing you'll show by plotting recoil is that frictional losses.
     
  8. Jul 23, 2009 #7

    Mech_Engineer

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    Plotting the "voltage" versus recoil is a useless quantity for describing the performance of a railgun. First, the acceleration is achieved with quickly varying AC current(not a static DC current) which changes as it is applied to different magnetic coils when projectile accelerates down he barrel. Second, voltage alone is not enough to describe the force, acceleration, or power being imparted on the projectile; you would want to graph something like power or impulse which in itself could be used to calculate the projectile's acceleration (and thus the gun's recoil).

    Well then let me ask- what equipment do you think is required to build and operate a small railgun? You say you have access to all of the equipment you need and price is not a problem so that tells me you already know all of the components required to build one...
     
  9. Aug 30, 2009 #8
    You won't be able to build a railgun, just build a coil gun. It's much cooler as a high school project.
     
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