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In the demonstration Thursday, engineers fired the electromagnetic railgun at what they said was a record power level: 10 megajoules.
The scale of Birkeland's research enterprises was such that the time-honored matter of funding became an overwhelming obstacle. Recognizing that technological invention could bring wealth, he developed an electromagnetic cannon. In 1900, he obtained patents on what we now call an electromagnetic-rail-gun and, with some investors, formed a firearms company. The rail-gun worked, except the high muzzle velocities he predicted (600 m/s) were not produced. The most he could get from his largest machine was 100 m/s, corresponding to a disappointing projectile range of only 1 km. So he renamed the device an aerial torpedo and arranged a demonstration with the express aim of selling the company. At the demonstration, one of the coils in the rail-gun shorted and produced a sensational inductive arc complete with noise, flame, and smoke. This was the first failure of any of the launchers that Birkeland had built. It could easily have been repaired and another demonstration organized.
Originally posted by damajikninja
Wow. Remind anyone of Quake? lol