Advanced Rail Materials for Electromagnetic Launchers

Period of Performance: 05/10/2010 - 03/09/2011


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

IAP Research, Inc.
2763 Culver Avenue Array
Dayton, OH 45429
Principal Investigator


Erosion of copper rail surfaces in EM launchers is a major impediment to their development. Subscale testing at IAP has shown that thin high temperature bore layers such as Tantalum and other refractory metals offer significant protection against erosion. The focus of this Phase I effort is to establish the feasibility of using laser cladding and cold spray technologies to apply high temperature erosion resistant coatings to rail surfaces. These coating technologies are attractive in that they offer the ability to place high hardness low porosity coatings onto low electrical loss copper rail substrates. In addition both processes have the potential to readily scaled to the lengths required for future launcher designs (> 10 m).