Dr. Paul J. Cote - Benet Laboratories, US Army Research Engineering and Development Command, Watervliet, NY
Compared to conventional guns, railguns can double muzzle velocities and thus increase firing ranges with less drift. Such guns have been built and operated successfully on a test basis, but several problems are holding them back from usage in the field.
The key areas of dispute are basically: * how, exactly, are the electromagnetic fields generated, and what is their distribution? * what is the exact effect of the back EMFs on the railgun? * where are the locations of maximum current density and heating? * why do the erosion patterns look the way they do?
The answers to these questions means researchers must understand the inner workings of these weapons, and a group at Benet Laboroatories is using COMSOL Multiphysics to do so.