The Projectile-Wall Interface in Rail Launchers

Y. C. Thio, M. A. Huerta, G. C. Boynton, D. A. Tidman, S. Y. Wang, N. K. Winsor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


At sufficiently high velocity, an energetic gaseous interface is formed between the projectile and the gun wall. We analyze the flow in this interface in the regime of moderately high velocity. The effect of this gaseous interface is to push the gun wall radially outward and shrink the projectile radially inward. Our studies show that significant plasma blow-by can be expected in most experimental railguns in which organic polymers are used as insulators. Since plasma leakage may result in the reduction of propulsion pressure and possibly induce the separation of the primary, the results point to the importance of having sufficiently stiff barrels and structurally stiff but ‘ballistically compliant’ projectile designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1213-1218
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Transactions on Magnetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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