Speaker(s): Xavier Ramos, Robert Norton, Rebecca Byrne
Date: May 2, 2014 1:50pm – 2:10pm
Location: Morken Center 203, Pacific Lutheran University

We are looking to design a functional railgun that accelerates a metal armature along a pair of conductive rails via electromagnetism. Given that high amounts of electric current may warp the rail material, we plan on using either graphite or aluminum rails in our build. In theory the railgun will work by creating a magnetic field, and when combined with the driving passing through the rails, will create a force directed down the rails, which will accelerate the armature. This is known as the Lorentz force. For our prototype we plan on making a capacitor bank to power the unit, and a thin armature to maximize the contact area between the armature and rails. This should, in theory, make it easier for the armature to accelerate. If we succeed, we intend to design a functional rail gun that fires a projectile at considerable speeds. We are aiming to minimize stress to the rails, which is why we are hoping to use a sturdy material such as iron or graphite. Online sources reference silver­ coated copper as one of the best materials, so we may also try copper materials.