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Ice Cannon

Launch ice bombs from nuclear powered ships.
  (+3, -6)
(+3, -6)
  [vote for,

A variation on a previous weapon - my idea is for a nuclear powered ship to utilize its enormous energy-generating power to desalinate, then freeze water into projectile shapes, then launch the projectiles at it's enemies with railgun technology. This would obliviate the need for carrying large stores of munitions, and dangerous explosives. There would be no need to run resupply missions, etc. I wonder what would happen to the ice under the extreme pressures of accelleration (would it turn to liquid). I couldn't find anything on accellerating ice except for global warming.
trekbody, Nov 01 2006

Obliviate... http://www.urbandic....php?term=Obliviate
[trekbody, Nov 06 2006]


       Rail guns can accelerate ice? I don't think so. And firing ice at your enemies? Might was well throw rocks! This is Bad Military Science all around.
DrCurry, Nov 01 2006

       If you could get the ice projectiles to work (and they wouldn't, for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that they aren't explosive, and aren't hard enough to penetrate armour), it would be far more efficient to electrolyse water into H2 and O2, and use this as the propellant in a modified conventional cannon. Perhaps barrels would last longer, and not overheat as easily using this.   

       Currently, really only carriers use nuclear power. I think there have been one or two nuclear battleships, but I’m not really certain. Carriers don’t use cannon, so we’re really talking specialised ships, too.
Custardguts, Nov 01 2006


       Maybe you could use the ice as a sabot for a penetrator of some kind, like an APFSDS tank round???   

       Or rather, like the WW2 armour piercing rounds (can't remepber the designation), where a hard tungsten penetrator was encased on a soft steel or iron shell. on impact, the penetrator simply continued through the armour. I think this was useful because the penetrator could take on a variety of geometries, didn't need to be machined as precisely, and avoided the complexities of discarding sabots
Custardguts, Nov 01 2006

       I was actually thinking that the ice would have to be held on some sort of sled.   

       As for the explosiveness, I was thinking that their kinetic energy would enable them to cause damage, and because they were "renewable", you could simply saturate the target area. They definitely would not be explosive in the usual sense, but if you launched them high enough, their effect could still be devastating. It would depend on energy delivery.   

       Custardguts, I agree ice might not be armor piercing - but what about armor smashing - if you dropped a 500 pound block of ice from a couple miles up onto a tank or armored enclosure, would it not get "smashed?"   

       Dr. Curry - Rocks are not available in standard sizes and shapes in basically infinite amounts. That is what I think ice munitions could bring to the table if coupled with high energy delivery.   

       Yes, it would probably require a new vehicle with nuclear power, or be mounted onto a carrier.
trekbody, Nov 01 2006

       This is the old idea of the ice bullet, hidden under the rail gun and nuclear power razzamatazz.
ldischler, Nov 01 2006

       A rail gun firing ice played a brief and deadly role in 'Count Zero' by William Gibson (sci-fi, of course), though that one was fired towards the ground from an airship.
imaginality, Nov 02 2006

       Why not just skip the desalinating part and freeze the seawater with the limitless energies available? Small pockets of supersaturated brine would remain in the ice projectile, making it more stingy.
bungston, Nov 02 2006

       sp. obviate? obliterate?
pertinax, Nov 02 2006

       //making it more stingy// [bungston] it's at times like these I'm glad you're here on the halfbakery, and not cloistered away in some degenerate government lab, inventing diabolical forms of saline weaponry.
zen_tom, Nov 02 2006

       A functional railgun requires nearly sonic injection velocities, or else your conductor just vaporizes. So you'd have to get your projecticicle moving pretty fast even before you get it into the rails. A thin layer of foil bridging from one rail to the other at the aft end of the projectile is all it takes.   

       At these amperages, any film of meltwater - especially seawater! - is going to cause one mother of a short across the rails, without imparting much motive force. Can you say "zap?" Can you say it louder?
elhigh, Nov 02 2006

       // Small pockets of supersaturated brine would remain in the ice projectile, making it more stingy. // OW it burns!! Retreat! Retreat!
MoreCowbell, Nov 03 2006

       after your ice cannons have killed the enemy, the refugees and POW's can now drink iced water from munitions.   

       ice is too brittle. use that stuff they featured on the discovery channel or history channel, that pykecrete stuff.
twitch, Nov 05 2006

       elhigh - I like the ZAP - the ZAP sounds cool
trekbody, Nov 06 2006

       Preheated anyway, ask William Gibson to help you work out the technical issues, since he apparently thought he had them covered way back in Count Zero. These arguments make me wonder if he did.
normzone, Nov 06 2006

       ldischler - i see the similarity to a ice gun, but my point was to reduce the need for carrying munitions - making them on the spot. I like twitch's remark about pykecrete. Not sure what that is, but maybe the solution is to solidfy the water in a more stable form than ice. Some sort of concrete sound interesting, but that's an awful lot of ready-mix you would need to carry around.
trekbody, Nov 06 2006

       I like your take on it longshot - Normzone - I don't know the reference, so I can't tell if you are being serious or sarcastic - please clarify either way.
trekbody, Nov 07 2006

       Thinking about ice and rail guns: if there were those stingy brine pockets the projectile might be conductive enough to use on the railgun. A benefit: no fused projectile parts on the rail. A drawback: ohmic heating and steam.   

       I think maybe people in dry parts of the world might taunt and tease a ship outfitted with one of these, then emerge from bunkers to have a pool party in the craterful of cool water left behind.
bungston, Sep 28 2007

       [trekbody], I use the term "preheated" when something has been suggested before in print. Not the same thing as "baked" or widely known, but evidence that somebody got there before you did.   

       William Gibson is an author, Count Zero is a book.   

       In the book an area is destroyed using ice shot out of a rail gun. Mr. Gibson maybe should have consulted the halfbakers before he proposed this, but I think his book predated the 'bakery by about ten or fifteen years.
normzone, Sep 28 2007

       [DC] had it right, a railgun won't work. And, in any case, nuclear isn't the way to go. Intensely fast, concentrated beams of water can cut through steel, but they aren't practical either. [trekbody] had one thing right though: if you smash ice onto army vehicles, the ice WILL get smashed.
Shadow Phoenix, Sep 29 2007


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