A modular electromagnetic accelerator that actually works...;)
Warning: This project involves the use of a capacitor bank that contains more than enough energy to kill you. Do not attempt to build this unless you know what you are doing ! (There is a real possibility of poking an eye out or qualifying for a Darwin Award if you make a mistake...)
The inspiration to create this came from reading the books "Kristian Birkeland - The First Space Scientist" (available from Springer) and "Zero To Eighty" by Edwin Fitch Northrup.
Each module contains a high voltage charger, an optical trigger, capacitor bank, voltage indicator, accelerator coil and switch circuitry. When the projectile interrupts an infrared beam at one end, it triggers a pulse of several hundred amps through the acceleration coil. The pulse peaks after approximately 4 ms. The projectile is then accelerated through the module.
This is a modular design that uses optical triggers. Because of this, it is possible to stack several modules to achieve more power (each module weighs approx 1 Kg)
If you want to see the this thing in action, there is a video on YouTube: youtube.com/watch?v=KeSjeUIltcI, and on my blog: timeexpander.com/wordpress/archives/5124 (norwegian only - sorry)
Please be very careful if you plan on building something like this. I am myself an amateur regarding electronics and I can make no promises or guarantees regarding the safety of the electronics or design.
Parts list is maintained in bom.txt
(The two additional schematics you will need are in the video)
PS. varying the length of the projectile can make a really big difference in kinetic energy.