all 17 comments

[–]Pradfanne 1 point2 points  (11 children)

I didn't think there would be smoke coming out of a magnetic rail

[–]di11deux[S] 8 points9 points  (8 children)

I'm pretty sure it's particles being evaporated off the rails themselves. The biggest problem is making a barrel that isn't totally cooked within 6 shots.

[–]InsanelyDane 1 point2 points  (6 children)

But a rail-gun shouldn't have any physical contact with the barrel, should it?

I believe the particles might be oxygen or a part of the round that catches fire due to the velocity.

[–]Rangourthaman_ [score hidden]  (5 children)

You might be thinking of a gauss rifle; that has a series of magnetic coils to accelerate the projectile.

A railgun has two literal rails with power running through them, an armature contacts the two rails and is accelerated towards one end of the rails based on the Lorentz principle.

[–]zac115 [score hidden]  (3 children)

Would it be possible to make a larger version gauss rifle. Wouldn't that be better then a rail gun. Wouldn't the amount of coils accelerating the projectile make the round go further and faster and hit harder?

[–]Rangourthaman_ [score hidden]  (2 children)

They tried, seems railgun works out better.

[–]zac115 [score hidden]  (1 child)

I wonder if it has to do with the amount of power that would be needed and the size of the coils. I mean powering about let's say 34 coils depending on the size of it require a massive amount of power pretty sure more power than a battle cruiser with a nuclear reactor could put out.

[–]expert02 [score hidden]  (0 children)

I thought it was a gauss rifle/cannon, and the problem was the extreme projectile speed causing too much friction against the air in the cannon.

[–]NoelTrotsky [score hidden]  (0 children)

No doubt it's the rails. It's the extreme current exciting the molecules in the rails and super heating them that 'cooks' the rails.

[–]Rangourthaman_ [score hidden]  (0 children)

Thought I read somewhere that the projectile travels so fast its pressure wave combusts particles in the air. Kind of like a spacecraft atmosphere re entry.

[–]NoelTrotsky [score hidden]  (0 children)

magnetic rail

They aren't 'magnetic'

[–]vulcangreenOptimistic skeptic [score hidden]  (0 children)

What? No video of it hitting a target? At least hit a watermelon or something.

[–]NoelTrotsky [score hidden]  (2 children)

The Railgun is a long, long way off still and may never beat it's competition...missiles. This demo is only 2 shots, not the 4.8 mentioned in the title which is an extrapolation of the time the 2 shots took and very misleading since the big problem with railguns is barrel survival with multiple shots.

What you don't see in this article is all the important details. Only the Zumwalt class even has the juice to fire the test railgun and even it may not be able to fire the gun at 10 shots per minute which is the Navy's goal. No other ship even has the electrical system for this gun. Beyond that small detail the gun accuracy is critical as missiles are very accurate nowadays. No word on accuracy at such long ranges involved, especially while the barrel is melting more and more as you use it. Finally the 10kg round the railgun is shooting needs velocity to deliver damage and no word as to what velocity they are getting as extreme ranges.

[–]shartgame [score hidden]  (1 child)

I thought rail guns are to replace artillery, not missiles.

[–]NoelTrotsky [score hidden]  (0 children)

Actually the Navy wants them to do lots of things. Even artillery nowadays needs great accuracy especially given the long ranges. They also want to use the gun as an anti-ship weapon which really demands incredible accuracy. On top of that they want them to shoot down incoming missiles that lasers won't be able to take down. Talk about a tough job!