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By L.C. Chhabildas, Lee Davison, Y. Horie

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An important characteristic of the projectile release valve is the speed with which it operates (from fully closed to fully open). The valve should open quickly enough to ensure complete operation before significant projectile package motion occurs. For small gas guns launching projectiles to hypervelocities, opening times under 10−5 s (10 µs) are required to meet this criterion. The valves must also open completely so that no impediment to gas flow remains in the launch tube if the valve is not to limit gas flow efficiency and, hence, light-gas gun capability.

19. O. J. A. F. S. Naval Research Laboratory,” 3rd Symposium on Hypervelocity Impact, Chicago, IL. 1 Introduction A number of different methods can be used to launch a projectile at a high velocity exceeding a few kilometers per second. In preparing this chapter, I have chosen to limit the presentation to a device called a two-stage light-gas gun that is capable of doing this. The information related here is not always new and may not be completely up-to-date. The use of new materials with new capabilities, and a better knowledge of coefficients such as friction, heat transfer, and head loss, might have modified the final results obtained.

Most workers in the field concluded that hydrogen should prove more effective than helium for light-gas gun charges. Fear was prevalent, however, 1 Light-Gas Gun Technology: A Historical Perspective 23 that use of hydrogen might cause catastrophic explosions. After much debate, staffs at several laboratories including the staff at NRL and NASA Ames decided that hydrogen could probably be used safely if the gas guns were sealed well and fired into evacuated range tanks so that hot hydrogen never encountered atmospheric oxygen.

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