PowerLabs ElectroMagnetic Weapons!


“Anything is a weapon if you swing it right”.
The discovery of electricity came hand-in-hand with the realization that it could be use to harm and kill living things. In 1745, with the invention of the Leyden Jar (the first type of capacitor ever developed, invented in the University of Leiden, Netherlands), high power electrical discharges became a possibility, and with them came numerous salon shows where these discharges would be used to electrocute birds, rats and other small animals. Thomas Edison used AC power to electrocute cats, dogs, a horse, and even a 3-ton elephant. He also created the first electric chair, which ran on DC power and almost set the person to be executed on fire (nowadays they are AC). As our knowledge of electricity expanded so did the uses to which this most versatile form of power has been put to.
My research on electromagnetic weapons does not have as its goal to produce actual weapons but rather to explore some of the very interesting possibilities that this field can have for the benefit of mankind. No Rail Gun, Coil Gun or LASER will ever substitute a firearm. There is more than enough firepower in even a small pistol to accomplish the goal it is intended for and making that pistol fire a projectile through electromagnetic means would only mean making it larger, heavier, more expensive and less practical. On the other hand, no chemical propulsion system will ever approach the velocities obtainable through electromagnetic means, and the possibilities for hypervelocity acceleration are endless: Materials synthesis, testing, welding, satellite and space station micro debris shield development, transportation, and others… Similarly, Electromagnetic Radiation Weapons may be used to disable communications and electrical devices without the need for casualty-causing explosives… With this in mind, here is a small sample of some of my research in the field to date…

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Rail Gun:

The PowerLabs 20-Kilojoule RailGun is PowerLabs’ latest research project; a high powered linear electromagnetic accelerator sponsored by Cornell-Dubilier Electronics. It is also the most powerful, expensive and intricate electromagnetic accelerator on this page, designed to fire a non magnetic projectile to hypersonic velocities using Lorenz forces. (NEW Test Fire Videos available! 21/11/2002)

Gauss Guns/Coil Guns:

PowerLabs’ Gauss Gun / Coil Gun Overview Page: A look at the basic principles behind the design and operation of solenoid-based electromagnetic accelerators, including some theory and design tips.

PowerLabs 9mm Caliber 3000Joule Single Stage Coil Gun (With Video!) A solid state switched coil gun investigating the effects of very high energy delivery on a single coil.

PowerLabs 7000Joule Multi Stage Coil Gun Project (With Videos!) A high performance coil gun utilizing optical projectile sensing and 5 stages for higher efficiency acceleration.

PowerLabs Advanced Coil Gun Research: My latest and most efficient Coil Gun so far.

Thompson's Coils/Disk Shooter:

PowerLabs Thompson’s Coil and Disk Shooter Research: Thompson’s coils repel conductive materials in the vicinity of their magnetic fields due to induced eddy currents. A Thompson’s coil is demonstrated levitating a copper ring, along with an interesting spin-off from its principle of operation: a type of coil gun that works by repelling the projectile instead of attracting it: the Disk Shooter. (Includes Videos)

Microwave Oven Experiments and Microwave Gun:

Microwave Oven Experiments and PowerLabs Microwave Gun: Bet you didn’t know your microwave oven could do that… Make sure the repair company doesn’t either! Or else they might refuse to fix it if (when) it burns out… Includes microwave oven ball lightning, zapping CDs and other inedible items in the microwave oven, flash boiling liquids, observing the radiation pattern inside the cooking cavity, and more! Includes the PowerLabs Microwave Gun, for long range cooking! (Includes microwave experiment videos)

Electro Thermal and Electro Thermo Chemical (ETC) Guns:

Electrothermal Gun Harnessing electrical power to produce extremely high propellant pressures, Electro Thermal (ET) guns are analogous to conventional chemical propulsion methods in that the projectile is accelerated by a pressure differential between the accelerating chamber and the exterior, except that by using electricity to produce the pressure differential pressures unheard off in conventional propellants are now possible, along with equally spectacular performance indexes. ETC guns combine Electro Thermal power with Chemical energy to produce even higher accelerating pressures.


PowerLabs CO2 Laser: 40Watts of burning power!
Soon to come!) The PowerLabs 1Megawatt pulsed Nitrogen Laser.

Relevant Links:

You can learn more about the topics above and see experiments dealing with similar principles at the pages below:
PowerLabs High Voltage Research: All of the experiments on this page deal with High Voltages; on this page you can learn more about the types of circuits that can be used to charge capacitor banks to any voltage required.

PowerLabs General Science Experiments: Propulsion from combustion, deflagration, and phase expansion. Includes the PowerLabs Mach 2 Golf Ball Cannon (with videos).

Pulsed Water Detonation: The principle behind Electro Thermal guns: A poorly understood phenomena where water explodes with extreme violence when subjected to high magnitude electrical discharges (My IB Research Paper).

PowerLabs Solid State Can Crusher: Utilizes a circuit very similar to that of disk shooters and coil guns (with videos).

Comments welcome: Mail me, and tell me what you think!