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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Electromagnetic weapons in the offing: in Shatura experienced a unique gun

On Tuesday in situated near Moscow Shatura, Russian scientists metal zipper… literally. In the laboratory of the local branch of the United Institute of high temperatures of the Russian Academy of Sciences conducted their first public tests of a unique device — the railgun, or the real electromagnetic gun. Speed released from her shell in three times the speed limit in a traditional gunpowder guns — 6 km/s compared to 2 km/s, and this is not the limit. Specialists promise to “accelerate” electromagnetic accelerator to the first cosmic velocity (8 km/s), and then the little bullet from its barrel, shall possess the power of a large projectile, and the distance that she will be able to overcome, to exceed 200 km outside the experiment was observed by the correspondent “MK”.

Vladimir Fortov with the railgun. Photo — Darya Grevtsova

We arrived at the joint Institute for high temperatures early in the morning. Gun, something resembling a hyperboloid of engineer Garina, was already waiting for us in the lab on a special table. In front of her — the target of duralumin and a small, 4-gram bullet transparent polycarbonate.

Our objective is to obtain in laboratory conditions with such systems, large pressure and to investigate the state of matter, explains the present in the laboratory President and Director of RAS joint Institute for high temperatures Vladimir Fortov. – It is necessary for the understanding of the Universe. The second direction is the study of the impacts of comets, meteorites and other impact bodies on the Earth’s surface or man-made orbiters for their protection against high-speed particles of space debris. It’s a difficult situation because of the speed with which they fly dozens of km per second. To simulate the impact of a micrometeoroid on the hull of the spacecraft and thus make the protection for our equipment, is one of the tasks. Meteorites travel at very high speeds, and to simulate their flight, we must cross the limit of 2 km/sec, which is still marginal. We and colleagues abroad decided to use a powerful pulse of electric current in order to disperse the body pressure of the magnetic field.

Before volley is a few minutes, and we explain the principle of operation of the gun. Two parallel electrodes (rail) is connected to a powerful source of direct current, a discharge which exceeds the energy of lightning a hundred times about where I take it later). This power generates between the electrodes a plasma arc. The mutual exchange of current between the rails through this arc and gives rise to the electromagnetic field and the plasma begins to move forward. Here is the replacement of the propellant gas. And if his opportunities are limited to 2 km/s, plasma piston can accelerate to 15 km/s.

Scientists deliberately leave the topic of the military use of the system say that while it is necessary to work out fundamental questions, to learn, for example, to run from it in space samples of the new materials. In fact, everyone understands that the creation of electromagnetic weapons is not far off. This is not just talked and ours, and foreign military. For example, Americans in their experiment, which they conducted in may of this year, hurled with the same gun 3-pound projectile, accelerating it, according to their data up to 2.2 km/s. Power supplied on the rails, was 33 megajoules. By 2020 they promise to increase it to 64 MJ and also to make a shot from a naval destroyer. However, our scientists relate to overseas colleagues with a little skepticism, suspecting them of artificial winding speed.

We have in 2011, the flight velocity of a rigid body made up of 6.25 km/s, – said the Director of Shatura branch, joint Institute for high temperatures Alexey Screws. – Of course, the body itself was much smaller than the Americans, weighed only a few grams. But we tend not to breaking speed records by any means, we are looking for ways to overcome the resistance of the electrodes, new materials for our “shells”.

As for the “record” of scientists from the United States, in the first place, gun, in principle, can not be compared with ours (they are different in that our body on the rails pushes the plasma, and they talk directly moves the projectile itself). According to the head of the laboratory of the Shatura branch, joint Institute for high temperatures Evgeny Polishchuk, to throw a projectile, as Americans, our scientists have been able to tomorrow if they will install the same powerful power plant.

– What is ours?

– These three huge batteries that you see right behind an experimental table with the gun, is our setting, ” says Polishchuk.- Its capacity is only 1 Mega Joule… the Energy that it sends to the railgun shot, equivalent to the energy of the Shatura municipal power station. And yet it is 30 times less than our competitors.

Watch the video on “the Wound showed how shoots railgun”

A unique device — gun railgun — tested in the laboratory of wounds 12th July

But I wonder whether it would be possible in the future to send via EM-gun people on the moon or Mars?

– The flight of the people nothing will happen. People will not be able for a long time to experience a strong acceleration. Here drones, trucks on the ISS, satellites, is please.

But enough of the theory. We are invited to a demonstration of the volley. However, immediately warn that to observe it we will of the operator. To stare at the explosion, which is accompanied by a loud Bang and a bright flash directly in the laboratory can not be – can be an assault on the senses. Three minutes before the shot, two, one… the Operator presses the button and fires the bullet from the muzzle to the target. It feels like in a closed room was struck by lightning. The walls trembled, but fortunately, survived.

Speed, which was achieved in this experiment was slightly less than what economists expected, just 3.2 km/s. pressure of 1 thousand atmospheres (which is several times greater than the pressure at the bottom of the Mariana trench) pulled one of the fasteners of the gun.

– The result is good, – says in the conclusion of the FORTS – destruction say that we are working to the limit, test the system at full capacity.

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