Accelerating Plasmas With Railgun Technology

By Edan Jacob Steen
Intermediate Category (Grades 9-10)
Experiment | Engineering and Computer Science

Electric propulsion rockets have been used to propel satellites into deep-space for years. New methods in accelerating plasmas– in particular, cheap Electric propulsion rockets have been used to propel satellites into deep-space for years. New methods in accelerating plasmas– in particular, cheap methods for denser plasmas than those typically used for space travel– could lead to the creation of new technologies that could be used to upgrade these thrusters. Without access to a vacuum, this study uses a propane torch, 2 copper rails, a ZVS Flyback driver and a ballasted microwave oven transformer going into a full bridge rectifier to demonstrate the viability of a simple method that uses the century old technology of the railgun. While the experiment had proven that this method is indeed plausible through its demonstration of ├śrsted’s law, the technology still requires some additional experimentation in a vacuum where the method’s efficiency could be calculated precisely and be compared to current methods. Nevertheless, it’s cheap, and it works, which is all the experiment needed to prove.

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