Russia’s railgun program still testing fundamental science

A railgun is an electromagnetic cannon using rails to accelerate a projectile through the electromagnetic effects. The pressure in the railgun is comparable with the pressure at the bottom of the Mariana Trench and amounts to over a thousand atmospheres.

Russian railgun developed by scientists of the United Institute of High Temperatures at the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) will help study matter at extremely high temperatures and pressure and understand how the Universe is organized,

According to RAS President Vladimir Fortov, “frequently, when something goes differently from what is expected, screws are torn apart.”

This is what happened on Tuesday during the demonstrative trials of a railgun at the practice range when two fastening pins broke away from the device’s bandage after a projectile weighing 2 grams was launched with a velocity of 3.2 km / s.

Russian scientists are currently working on reaching the hypersonic mode of speeds. Thus, similar railguns have helped reach a speed of 11 km / s with a projectile weighing about 1.5 grams.

Russian scientists feel they are”on the right track” and the equipment was working at its maximum capacity, adding that the device would have been fully repaired by the evening.

The efforts to develop an electromagnetic cannon have been under way throughout the world in the past 45-50 years. Today China is actively working on this technology. In particular, about 150 articles on this issue were published in China last year, Fortov said.

US railgun projectiles are 10,000 times larger and are progressing to deployed weapon status

Intensive work in this area is also being conducted in the United States where a railgun weapon was mounted on a ship about a year ago. The United States said at the time that this technology could accelerate a projectile weighing 10-20 kg to 2.5-3 km / s, Fortov said.

As the RAS president said, the Russian Academy of Sciences is dealing only “with the physical issues,” studying the destruction mechanics, which has relation to fundamental science.

US Railgun