team photo

Figure 1
project photo

Figure 2
project photo

Team 34

Team Members

Faculty Advisor

Nathan Wetherell
Jeremy Lucien
Jason Clark

Alexei Poludnenko



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Electromagnetic Expulsion of a Cylindrical Body from an Outer Tube

Current technologies to accomplish the submerged launch of torpedoes and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) consist of water ram systems that use high-pressure water slugs to push the projectile out of an enclosed tube. However, this solution is not ideal for environments where the reduction of detectable noise is a priority. This design examines the feasibility of replacing this water ram system with a less mechanically complex and less detectable electromagnetic launcher. In this design, a sequence of high current pulses is passed through a series of coils, electromagnetically attracting a ferrous sled, propelling it down the tube, and pushing the projectile out in the process. This project was first presented as a small-scale model at the 2019 Demonstration Day, and since then, several improvements have been made to the launch system. The physical design was improved this year to include motor-controlled muzzle and breech hatches to facilitate automated submerged testing. The sled and payload were also modified to ensure consistent submerged launch behavior. In addition to the physical design, a custom discrete time step simulation program was created within Python to interface with a Finite Element Method Magnetics (FEMM) package to quickly and repeatably determine the optimal timings of the current pulses through the three-coil system. The result of this project is a functioning launcher and an experimentally determined relationship between the voltage of the capacitor bank, the launched mass, and the exit velocity of the projectile.

Our team collaborated with Electrical and Computer Engineering 12 on this project.