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Proceedings Paper

High Speed Photographic Analysis Of Railgun Plasmas
Author(s): I. B. Macintyre
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Paper Abstract

Various experiments are underway at the Materials Research Laboratories, Australian Department of Defence, to develop a theory for the behaviour and propulsion action of plasmas in rail guns. Optical recording and imaging devices, with their low vulnerability to the effects of magnetic and electric fields present in the vicinity of electromagnetic launchers, have proven useful as diagnostic tools. This paper describes photoinstrumentation systems developed to provide visual qualitative assessment of the behaviour of plasma travelling along the bore of railgun launchers. In addition, a quantitative system is incorporated providing continuous data (on a microsecond time scale) of (a) Length of plasma during flight along the launcher bore. (b) Velocity of plasma. (c) Distribution of plasma with respect to time after creation. (d) Plasma intensity profile as it travels along the launcher bore. The evolution of the techniques used is discussed. Two systems were employed. The first utilized a modified high speed streak camera to record the light emitted from the plasma, through specially prepared fibre optic cables. The fibre faces external to the bore were then imaged onto moving film. The technique involved the insertion of fibres through the launcher body to enable the plasma to be viewed at discrete positions as it travelled along the launcher bore. Camera configuration, fibre optic preparation and experimental results are outlined. The second system utilized high speed streak and framing photography in conjunction with accurate sensitometric control procedures on the recording film. The two cameras recorded the plasma travelling along the bore of a specially designed transparent launcher. The streak camera, fitted with a precise slit size, recorded a streak image of the upper brightness range of the plasma as it travelled along the launcher's bore. The framing camera recorded an overall view of the launcher and the plasma path, to the maximum possible, governed by the film's ability to reproduce the plasma's brightness range. The instrumentation configuration, calibration, and film measurement using microdensitometer scanning techniques to evaluate inbore plasma behaviour, are also presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 February 1985
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 0491, 16th Intl Congress on High Speed Photography and Photonics, (1 February 1985); doi: 10.1117/12.968040
Show Author Affiliations
I. B. Macintyre, Department of Defence (Australia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0491:
16th Intl Congress on High Speed Photography and Photonics
Michel L. Andre; Manfred Hugenschmidt, Editor(s)

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