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Innovative Muzzle Brake Design for Artillery

Description:

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons 

OBJECTIVE: Develop novel muzzle brake structures for extended range cannon artillery systems that reduce mass and manufacturing cost, while maintaining or improving recoil reduction, signature management, durability, and operator safety. 

DESCRIPTION: Given the Army’s Long Range Precision Fires priority, a need exists for novel and innovative muzzle brakes capable of supporting the new extended range cannons. These include but are not limited by munitions currently under development for direct and indirect fire missions. High pressure produced at muzzle exit have negative impact upon the surrounding environment due to muzzle blast flow fields exiting the barrel. The negative consequences, such as recoil and noise production, can be alleviated by redirecting propellant gases. Muzzle brakes have been used for decades to efficiently redirect propellant gas, resulting in effective performance gains. However, recent advances in materials and additive manufacturing techniques show promise for muzzle brake weight reduction and manufacturing cost while maintaining the favorable flow field response and resistance to the resulting thermal and pressure loading. Muzzle brakes are subject to complex loading due to high exit pressure and gas momentum from the projectile emersion from the gun tube. Conditions at muzzle exit are dynamic and vary based on multiple factors. Typical pressure and thermal conditions have been found to be as much as 10-12 ksi and 2000 K, respectively. Gas flow has been found to be as high as 1,500 m/s and may contains small particles, such as solid propellant grains that did not undergo combustion. The muzzle environment can cause erosion on the brake surfaces. The shape of the muzzle brakes often consists of complex three dimensional curves and multiple openings. Examples of various muzzle brakes over the last century can be found in the references. Due to the harsh environment, material performance requirements, and complex shapes muzzle brakes used in current artillery systems are made of cast/forged steel. This topic seeks to develop novel applications of advanced materials, coatings and manufacturing technologies to muzzle brakes. A variety of analyses and tests should be done to show that the materials can survive the environment and that the manufacturing process can produce the complex shapes required. The objective for this effort is to achieve 30 percent weight reduction with either comparable or reduced cost compared to conventional steel muzzle brakes. 

PHASE I: Evaluate various material and coating combinations for use in the muzzle brake environment. Investigate manufacturing technologies such as additive manufacturing for combination with promising materials and coatings. Reference 1 (AMCP 706-251), section 3-3.2 provides an example of an open muzzle brake that can be used as a baseline. Conduct an analysis of alternatives to select the best combination of materials and manufacturing for prototypes to be delivered in Phase II. Select a candidate shape for Phase II. Reference 4 (US Patent No 8,424,440) for a 105mm gun is the preferred shape but other 105mm or 155mm shapes may be used with TPOC concurrence. Perform a preliminary validation of the manufacturing concept, and prepare initial production cost estimates for the designs under consideration. 

PHASE II: Subject promising material / coating combinations identified in Phase I to tests that simulate live fire conditions. Perform feasibility trials on the production of the muzzle brake design selected in Phase I. Produce at least one prototype muzzle brake using the selected final material / coating / manufacturing combination. Subject “as manufactured” sections of the prototype to simulated firing conditions to assess as manufactured performance. Perform final design refinements. Document final material, coating, and manufacturing process. 

PHASE III: Conduct a live fire demonstration of the final prototype in an operational environment with involvement from the prime contractor for the weapon system. Explore potential small arms applications for both military and private sector customers. 

REFERENCES: 

1: Headquarters, U. S. "Army Materiel Command," Engineering Design Handbook: Guns Series

2:  Muzzle Devices" AMC Pamphlet, Document No." (1968): 706-251. (https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/838748.pdf)

3:  Carlucci, Donald E., and Sidney S. Jacobson. Ballistics: Theory and Design and Ammunition. CRC Press, 2018.

4:  Schlenker, George. Contribution to the Analysis of Muzzle Brake Design. ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL IL, 1962. (https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/276154.pdf)

5:  Carson, Robert, and Christopher Aiello. "Low blast overpressure muzzle brake." U.S. Patent No. 8,424,440. 23 Apr. 2013.

6:  Smith, Morris Ford. "Gun." U.S. Patent No. 817,134. 3 Apr. 1906.

7:  Scheider, Eugene. "Prance." U.S. Patent No. 1,363,058. 21 Dec 1920.

8:  August, Bauer. "Silencer and recoil reducer for firearms." U.S. Patent No. 2,457,802. 4 Jan. 1949.

9:  Emilien, Prache Jacques. "Muzzle recoil check for firearms." U.S. Patent No. 2,567,826. 11 Sep. 1951.

10:  Thierry, R. "Muzzle attachment for reducing the recoil and blast effect of guns." U.S. Patent No. 3,714,864. 6 Feb. 1973.

11:  Ledys, Francis, and Jacques Bachelier. "Muzzle brake for weapon barrel." U.S. Patent No. 6,216,578. 17 Apr. 2001.

12:  Franchino, Anthony R., and Thomas Tighe. "Radial-venting baffled muzzle brake." U.S. Patent No. 6,578,462. 17 Jun. 2003.

13:  Bounds, Roger. "Lateral projection muzzle brake." U.S. Patent No. 7,032,339. 25 Apr. 2006.

14:  Poff, Charles. "Firearm muzzle brake." U.S. Patent No. 7,530,299. 12 May 2009.

KEYWORDS: Muzzle Device, Muzzle Brake, Manufacturing, Artillery, Cannon 

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