Low voltage electrolytic capacitor pulse forming inductive network for electric weapons
Mays, Thomas Allen.
Crooker, Peter P.
Maier, William B. II
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Electric weapons, such as the railgun, require a pulse power supply capable of providing reliable highcurrent, high-energy pulses of many megawatts. Pulsed alternators potentially have the same maintenance issues as other motor-generator sets, so a solid-state system would be desirable, but high voltage capacitor systems are not robust enough for the field. We propose here a Low Voltage Electrolytic Capacitor Pulse Forming Inductive Network (LVEC PFIN) which stores power in a relatively low voltage capacitor bank and provides weapon power pulses by first draining the capacitors into a power inductor and then interrupting the flow of current via a switch counterpulsing technique in order to achieve railgun-appropriate voltages. For this thesis, a 13 kJ LVEC PFIN was constructed, using solid-state semiconductor switches to redirect 25 kA of current into a 1 m. load, and the redirection of larger currents is clearly feasible. This technique may be a viable alternative once the energy densities and equivalent series resistances of low voltage capacitors and ultracapacitors reach the necessary levels.