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A patented technique originally developed to measure temperatures inside turbine engines and fuel cells could play a key role in making electromagnetic weapons, or railguns, a reality. While several challenges remain, Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers' ability to accurately measure the temperature of a projectile as it whizzes by at speeds up to 1,000 miles per hour is providing information critical to further development. At that speed, the viewing time is less than 20 microseconds. The same phosphor thermography technique also provides precise temperature measurements of the rails, which undergo severe strain and high temperatures as they are subjected to the 1 million to 4 million amperes used to fire the projectile. Railguns are of interest to the military for many reasons, including their incredible kinetic energy and long-range potential. The University of Texas at Austin is a partner in this research, which is funded by the Department of Defense.

 -  Ron Walli,  865.576.0226,  December 15, 2006
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