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Re: Weapon Naming Madness!!

From: db-ft@w... (David Brewer)
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1999 23:54:18 GMT
Subject: Re: Weapon Naming Madness!!

In message <000401be6f09$e85f48a0$bb4eaecf@u4g8g4> "Daulton James
Whitehead III" writes:

> The designation Railgun is rarely used correctly.  There is such a
thing as
> a Railgun, but it is not a slugthrower, it is actually more of a
> curiousity than an effective weapon.
>     The Railgun consists of a large capacitor attached to two
> rails, mounted paralell to each other. The amunition for this weapon
is a
> collection of wire clippings, just long enough to touch both rails.
>     The Railgun fires by having the capacitor fully charged when a
wire is
> dropped onto the rails. In an instant the wire is superheated to a
> conductive plasma, and the magnetic fields generated by the rails, now
> highly charged, propell the plasma forward from the weapon (If the
wire is
> dropped too far forward the plasma will be propelled backwards). The
> is contained within the magnetic fields created by the rails up untill
> point where the rails, and thus the magnetic field, end. After that
> plasma rapidly dispurses.
>     The reason Railguns aren't in common use is twofold, One charging
> capacitor takes a long time or a major power source. Two the weapon is
> intensely inefficient. a one foot weapon has the range of six inches,
> punches very tiny holes through paper. Any effective research on the
> is probably classified, but I wouldn't doubt that someone is trying to
> it effective. For our purpouses we can assume that someone will make
> effective, and then we have a valid name for a weapon system.

Long time ago from some 'net source that I've long forgotten I
heard that a railgun (as described above) could be used to propel
a projectile, the plasma pushing at the back of said projectile.
What was proposed was that the projetile be about a gram of
plastic, which could be handily accelerated to about, say, one
hundred kilometers per second. The resulting kinetic energy of the
teeny pellet would be five megajoules, enough to toast a tank. The
pellet, on striking a surface would instantly disintegrate into a
plasma and continue burning its merry way through whatever was in
front of it.

I somehow doubt this would work in an atmosphere, though.

David Brewer

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