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Posted: 2/27/2001 9:54:08 AM EDT
FYI : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/et?ac=001851641145319&rtmo=aCq5hWuJ&atmo=99999999&pg=/et/01/2/27/wgun27.html

US scientists take aim with fastest gun in
                              West
                              By Robert Uhlig, Technology Correspondent


                               

               
                 Sandia Z accelerator
                 - Sandia National
                 Laboratories
                 





                              A GUN that fires coin-size pellets 10 times faster than a bullet has been
                              developed in America.

                              The Z accelerator could fire a pellet from London to Edinburgh in 26
                              seconds, or from London to New York in four and a half minutes. It is
                              outpaced only by a nuclear explosion.

                              It has been nicknamed the "fastest gun in the West". Marcus Knudson, who
                              led the project to develop the Z accelerator at Sandia, an American nuclear
                              laboratory, said that description was an understatement. "It's the fastest gun in
                              the world."

                              The aluminium plates it fires move so fast that the air resistance turns them to
                              liquid, heating them to 2,700C, and forcing Dr Knudson to look at other
                              materials, such as titanium and copper.

                              It has been used only to examine the effect of high-velocity projectile impacts
                              over a distance of a few feet, but the technology is being considered as an
                              alternative to launching spacecraft. A more mobile version could be a "hyper
                              velocity" weapon, piercing thicker armour than any used in battle, Dr
                              Knudson added.

                              The accelerator's vacuum chamber is the most powerful producer of electrical
                              discharge on Earth. It uses 20,000 amps to develop a magnetic field that
                              accelerates pellets up to 45,000 mph in 200 billionths of a second, three times
                              faster than the speed needed to escape Earth's gravitational pull.

                              Dr Knudson is using data from the accelerator to simulate the effect of space
                              junk colliding with a satellite or space station travelling in the opposite
                              direction. This will help scientists to balance lightness with strength in satellite
                              and observatory shells. It is also being used to find out how materials react to
                              high pressures and temperatures.

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Link Posted: 2/27/2001 10:44:25 AM EDT
Cool...ERASER!!!! I want my railgun NOW!!!
Link Posted: 2/27/2001 11:22:46 AM EDT
When can I get one?!?!?!?[:P]
[rail]
Link Posted: 2/27/2001 12:12:32 PM EDT
Now that would be a true army of one.....do you think this gun is what the army is looking for?
Link Posted: 2/27/2001 12:21:49 PM EDT
Why don't fire something (if it's a weapon they want in the railgun) that won't melt, like a man made saphire.
Link Posted: 2/27/2001 12:42:33 PM EDT
Ammo don`t sound cheap.
Link Posted: 2/27/2001 12:43:13 PM EDT
I like the idea of molten metal coming out the end.  Try and remove that easily!
Link Posted: 2/27/2001 1:30:21 PM EDT
Ammo won't cost that much, they are just using a chunk of aliminum, maybe titatium or ceramic/metallic composite in the future. The primary cost will be a portable power source. The energy requirements are enormous right now, but like with computers, what once used to fill a warehouse in the 50's now fits on your wrist and is 10 times more powerful. Railguns don't have barrels that wear out. The projectile is levitated and propelled within a series of circular magnets. Just like a bullet train, there is no physical contact between the magnets and metal. No friction = immense speed!
Link Posted: 2/27/2001 1:37:44 PM EDT
20,000 Amps?  A KABOOM would blow YOU into particals!!
Link Posted: 2/27/2001 1:38:10 PM EDT
I believe this is a refinement of technology that's been around since the early 1960's. In fact, it was originally used during research of space based anti-satellite weapons. Of course, they've come a long way since 1964.
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