Prediction of electromagnetic launcher behavior with lubricant injection through armature-rail interface modeling
Swope, Kory A.
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Electromagnetic launchers are currently being developed for their use as military weapons. These devices launch a projectile to extremely high speeds using very large electric currents. One obstacle facing the development of electromagnetic launchers is damage to the rails and armature during launch. The damage occurs due to current arcing in the armature-rail interface and is denoted as a transition. One solution is to use a lubricant injection system contained inside the armature to provide a conductive lubricant to the interface. The lubricant will ensure good electrical contact, prevent solid-solid contact, and cool the interface to prevent a launch from transitioning. Various different armature designs are currently under development. Each design must be analyzed through armature-rail interface modeling in order to predict the physical behavior and identify causes of transitions. There have been many studies on the physical behavior of sliding contacts. Some of which are directly applied to electromagnetic launch. In particular the magneto-elastothermohydrodynamic model is the most comprehensive model found for use in simulating electromagnetic launch. It includes calculation of the electromagnetic field, elastic deformation of the armature, calculation of the armature temperature history, and a hydrodynamic study of the lubricant both in the injection system and the armature-rail interface. The magneto-elastothermohydrodynamic model has been applied to only one armature design with limited success due to the assumptions used. The magneto-elastothermohydrodynamic model is applied to six different armature designs each requiring modifications to be made in order to predict the distinct behavior of each launcher. Modifications to the model include consideration of turbulent flow in the injection conduit, unique injection configurations, dry-out of the armature-rail interface, two dimensional pressure fields, and analyses of cylindrical bore launcher designs. The results show the model is effective in predicting when a transition will occur and what physical event leads to a transition when compared to experimental launch data. Additionally, experimental observations are used to affirm the simulation of other physical characteristics. It is found by the simulation that the base case armature is successful in preventing a transition of the shot, which is consistent with the experimental results. The simulation of NRL shot 223 reveals that such a small amount of lubricant is supplied by the reservoirs that the armature-rail interface partially dries out making a transition likely at a time of 4.7 ms; agreeing with the experimentally observed transition at a time of 4.5 ms. It is determined that the transition of NRL shot 406 is not due to a lack of lubricant inside the interface and that the amount of lubricant which leaks from the joint is negligible. IAP shot 7 did not transition in the experiment, however, after a time of about 3.5 ms the muzzle voltage began to rise. The simulation presents a possible explanation, showing that the armature-rail interface is beginning to empty out after 4.2 ms. The simulation of the GTL-2-4C armature shows that the experimentally observed transition is caused by the reservoirs emptying out at about 2.1 ms. The exploratory simulation of a modified GTL-2-4C armature determines that the absence of the slit in the armature trailing edges will not prevent the transition nor extend the successful portion of the shot.