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A rail gun is a projectile launcher that uses a magnetic fields powered by electricity to launch objects up to 16,000 meters per second. The three main parts that make up a rail gun is a power source, a pair of parallel rails and a moving armature. The Power supply is used in the rail gun to create a current through the armature which is launched. The minimum power needed to run the rail gun is in the millions of amps. The rails are used to direct the current to the armature from the power source, and to direct which way the projectile will go. The current is completed by the positive terminal of the power supply which is connected to the positive rail, which goes across the armature, then down the negative rail back to the power supply. The armature houses the projectile and it also completes the circuit so it then can be launched. The distance that the projectile is launched depends on the length of the rails, the strength of the magnetic field, and the current that runs through the rail gun. This can be described as F= (i)(L)(B), where F is the net force, I is the current, L is the length of the rails, and B is the magnetic field. However there are some major issues to the design, such as the intense heat caused by the conductors sometimes melts the armature which causes it to miss fire. Another issue is that the rail gun needs a lot of capacitors to store all of the electricity before the rail gun is fired. If perfected, the military would likely use it for a point defense system for ships and satellites.
Work Cited

http://science.howstuffworks.com/rail-gun1.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1q_rRicAwI



By Adam, Sean, Brandon