Design of a Two-Stage Light Gas Gun for Muzzle Velocities of 10 - 11 km/sSpace debris poses a major risk to spacecraft. In low earth orbit, impact velocities can be 10 - 11 km/s and as high as 15 km/s. For debris shield design, it would be desirable to be able to launch projectiles of known shape and mass to these velocities. The design of the proposed 10 - 11 km/sec gun uses, as a starting point, the Ames 1.28”/0.22” two stage gun, which has achieved muzzle velocities of 10 - 11.3 km/sec. That gun is scaled up to a 0.3125” launch tube diameter. The gun is then optimized with respect to maximum pressures by varying the pump tube length to diameter ratio (L/D), the piston mass and the hydrogen pressure. A pump tube L/D of 36.4 is selected giving the best overall performance. Piezometric ratios for the optimized guns are found to be ~2.3, much more favorable than for more traditional two stage light gas guns, which range from 4 to 6. (The piezometric ratio for a gun is defined as the maximum projectile base pressure divided by the constant projectile base pressure which, acting over the entire barrel length, would produce the same muzzle velocity.) The maximum powder chamber pressures are 20 to 30 ksi. To reduce maximum pressures, the desirable range of the included angle of the cone of the high pressure coupling is found to be 7.3 to 14.6 degrees. Lowering the break valve rupture pressure is found to lower the maximum projectile base pressure, but to raise the maximum gun pressure. For the optimized gun with a pump tube L/D of 36.4, increasing the muzzle velocity by decreasing the projectile mass and increasing the powder loads is studied. It appears that saboted spheres could be launched to 10.25 and possibly as high as 10.8 km/sec, and that disc-like plastic models could be launched to 11.05 km/s. The use of a tantalum liner to greatly reduce bore erosion and increase muzzle velocity is discussed. With a tantalum liner, CFD code calculations predict muzzle velocities as high as 12 to 13 km/s.
Bogdanoff, David W. (Analytical Mechanics Associates, Inc. Moffett Field, CA, United States)