Ceramic Composite Insulating Rails for Electromagnetic Guns

Period of Performance: 01/01/1988 - 12/31/1988

$500K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Materials & Electrochemical Research
7960 South Kolb Road
Tucson, AZ 85756
Principal Investigator

Abstract

THE PHASE I PROGRAM DEMONSTRATED THAT A CERAMIC COMPOSITE GUN RAIL COULD BE PRODUCED THAT SUSTAINED TWO FIRINGS AT THE PLASMA UTILITY GUN AT EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE WITHOUT ANY DISCERNABLE DEGRADATION. IT IS OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT NO RAIL HERETOFORE COULD UNDERGO A SECOND FIRING OR EVEN AFTER ONE FIRING DID NOT SUSTAIN ANY DEGRADATION. IT THUS APPEARS THAT TOUGH, STRONG CERAMIC MATRIX COMPOSITES CAN SERVE AS GUN RAILS. A PHASE II PROGRAM PROPOSES TO CONTINUE THE SUCCESS ACHIEVED IN PHASE I WITH THE OBJECTIVE OF OPTIMIZING COMPOSITE COMPOSITIONS, AND FABRICATION TECHNOLOGY, AND PRODUCING SEVERAL FULL SIZE RAILS FOR FURTHER TESTING. THE PHASE II PROGRAM PROPOSES TO CONTINUE THE SUCCESSFUL RESEARCH CARRIED OUT IN PHASE I AND WILL FOCUS ON 1) OPTIMIZING THE CONSOLIDATION PARAMETERS OF HOT PRESSING; 2) EVALUATING THE HIGH TEMPERATURE MECHANICAL AND PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF THE COMPOSITES THROUGH A SERIES OF TESTS: ELECTRICAL RESISTANCE, THERMAL SHOCK RESISTANCE, OXIDATION RESISTANCE, THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY, AND THERMAL EXPANSION; 3) USING OTHER TYPES OF WHISKERS TO REDUCE ELECTRICAL RESISTANCE OF COMPOSITES; 4) USE COATINGS TO CONTROL THE INTERFACE BONDING BETWEEN THE MATRIX AND THE WHISKERS, FOR MECHANICAL AND ELECTRICAL PROPERTY ENHANCEMENT; 5) USING HOT ISOSTATIC PRESSING TO PRODUCE LARGE SIZE NEAR NET SHAPE RAILS; 6) INTRODUCE MODIFICATIONS ON THE CURRENT DESIGN OF GUN RAILS TO AVOID STRESS CONCENTRATION AT SHARP EDGES.