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transformative tech idea for Rail gun break thru in fiction

Rabe

I identfy as a 9000 series intelligences
to the nerds here
Is this dumb sci-fi idea?
Rail guns without solid rails , sub in a gas/fluid/plasma as rails to get around the whole vaporization /tearing together
 

bluepencil

Indentured Artist
Author
That's a coilgun or Gauss Rifle.

Coilgun_animation.gif


For now, railguns are much less complex to produce and can be scaled up much larger with greater range and max velocity, which is why the world is talking about naval railguns instead of coilguns. Because they have less stages, they also promise greater rate of fire.

The barrel wear issue is a problem but it is a familiar one.

Everything from machine guns to tank guns to artillery to naval rifles all exhibit barrel wear.
 

Eliar

Well-known member
I mean sure but HOW much of a problem?

Having the barrel of an artillery piece wear out after say 300 shots of intensive use and 600 shots of regular use is one thing.

If the railgun needs a new barrel after every shot or every other shot then it is useless.
 

bluepencil

Indentured Artist
Author
I mean sure but HOW much of a problem?

Having the barrel of an artillery piece wear out after say 300 shots of intensive use and 600 shots of regular use is one thing.

If the railgun needs a new barrel after every shot or every other shot then it is useless.
Apparently 12 to 24 before replacement, which is why the USN temporarily shelved the project.


3MpUJGm.jpeg

They went with railgun vs coilgun because the operation of the railgun is dead simple in comparison.
 

Eliar

Well-known member
Apparently 12 to 24 before replacement, which is why the USN temporarily shelved the project.


3MpUJGm.jpeg

They went with railgun vs coilgun because the operation of the railgun is dead simple in comparison.

Ouch.

yea that way too little.

Either material tech will have to mature more or find new configrations.
 

bluepencil

Indentured Artist
Author
Ouch.

yea that way too little.

Either material tech will have to mature more or find new configrations.
When your range is several hundred kilometers, at first they figured it's probably not much of a problem. Specially if it's at sea where artillery counterbattery is irrelevant. But being that rails are big and heavy, it is too inconvenient to perform rail replacement while under way.

Probably eventually they're going to eventually figure out some sort of conductive sheathing that is easier to replace.
 

bluepencil

Indentured Artist
Author
see this is why I was thinking of replacing the rails with something with some self healing capacity compared to current material
Unfortunately while plasmas are conductive, but they do not push out magnetic fields as much. They tend to be electrically neutral. Magnetic fields contain plasma, they tend not to generate them without pumping gross amounts of electricity to induce currents.

"What about the sun then?" One might ask.

... planetary levels of plasma is not viable for turning into a railgun. Just fire the plasma itself. :p

Hhum nanomaterial/paste of some sort huh.

That would be grand.
Yeah that's probably where the tech is heading.
 

Rabe

I identfy as a 9000 series intelligences
Unfortunately while plasmas are conductive, but they do not push out magnetic fields as much. They tend to be electrically neutral. Magnetic fields contain plasma, they tend not to generate them without pumping gross amounts of electricity to induce currents.

"What about the sun then?" One might ask.

... planetary levels of plasma is not viable for turning into a railgun. Just fire the plasma itself. :p


Yeah that's probably where the tech is heading.
any non compressible liquids that might work?
 

bluepencil

Indentured Artist
Author
any non compressible liquids that might work?
Solid chunks of iron remain vastly less cumbersome than anything that needs to be held under pressure.

The more complex a system, the more it is likely something will break under combat conditions.


As @Eliar said, something that could maybe be sprayed onto the rails in between each shot would probably do it.
Or a super material that won't erode as fast.
 

Rabe

I identfy as a 9000 series intelligences
there is always the I need this right now sultion we'd see in a movie
yes the ship has 2 rail guns due to the power involved in the shots and current limits of materiel science and the requirement set by the joint chief, we've add barrel replacement to the auto mated ammo fed process.

the replacement rails? well once the internal mag is expended the 7,000 ton supply ship is caring our reloads about 500 meter to our starboard
 

bluepencil

Indentured Artist
Author
there is always the I need this right now sultion we'd see in a movie
yes the ship has 2 rail guns due to the power involved in the shots and current limits of materiel science and the requirement set by the joint chief, we've add barrel replacement to the auto mated ammo fed process.

the replacement rails? well once the internal mag is expended the 7,000 ton supply ship is caring our reloads about 500 meter to our starboard
A rail has, like, 4 sides. :p

Fire until the rails deteriorate to the point of no long providing contact, rotate. Then again. Then again. Replace. Even if you only get say 12 shots per rail facing, that's 48 theoretical for the whole system.

Since rails are just straight lumps of metal, you could even recycle the rails themselves as ammo. Or remelt into smaller rails once a big ship has used up its rails, then once they become unserviceable there, dump it and cut it apart as replacement for smaller main battery railguns. Then once those are used up, slice into secondary railguns.

And then once those are used up, start dropping them as orbital artillery rods from god. Or reforge into armor plating.

Metal is very recyclable.

--

In theory you could press new metal facings into eroded ones. Metals... melt.


Spray-on conductive polymer would likely still be much simpler and cheaper though.
 
Last edited:

Avernus

Well-known member
any non compressible liquids that might work?
Molten metal, as in MAHEM.

The amusing thing is that the basic idea first appeared in the old Arthur C Clarke novel Earthlight, where he included it as an excuse to have the classic sci-fi "beam of light in space" weapon and to baffle the in-universe observers who knew perfectly well that you can't see a beam of light in a vacuum. What makes it funny is that Clarke himself thought it was impossible, he just included it for the coolness factor and visual effect.
 
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