Functional Graded Conductor Rails for Electromagnetic Launchers

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N00014-10-M-0207
Agency Tracking Number: N101-086-1487
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solitcitation Year: 2010
Solitcitation Topic Code: N101-086
Solitcitation Number: 2010.1
Small Business Information
Plasma Processes, Inc.
4914 Moores Mill Road, Huntsville, AL, 35811
Duns: 799114574
Hubzone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Daniel Butts
 Materials Engineer
 (256) 851-7653
 dbutts@plasmapros.com
Business Contact
 Timothy McKechnie
Title: President
Phone: (256) 851-7653
Email: timmck@plasmapros.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
The US Navy is pursuing the development of an electromagnetic rail gun (EMRG) for long range naval surface fire support. Such guns have been built and operated successfully on a test basis, however several obstacles prevent them from usage in the field. One specific obstacle is the development of suitable materials for the conductor rails. Copper and Cu alloys have been materials of choice for electrical and thermal conductivity considerations. However, abrasion, rail arcs, balloting loads and molten armature metals easily degrade bare Cu surfaces. As a result multiple firings are not possible without significant barrel repair. In order to maximize electrical/thermal conductivity, Cu alloys are likely inescapable. In order to minimize damage to Cu rail, a material with a high melting temperature and high density is essential. Therefore, a rail structure that most practically meets these requirements would have a Cu-based core and a refractory metal surface. However, issues associated with coefficient of thermal expansion mismatch have challenged the production of such a structure via conventional manufacturing techniques. During a Phase I investigation, the ability to form a functionally graded Cu/refractory metal conductor rail surface will be evaluated. The ability to form net-shape, non-planar geometries and the feasibility to grade the through thickness properties will also be investigated.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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