Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Laser Railgun

Railgun + Laser = ?
  [vote for,

Railguns are neat and all but they aren't practical because the rails erode when you shoot lots of electricity through them. So instead of using physical rails, I suggest using a pair of powerful lasers to ionise the air between the gun and its target, then using normal railgun stuff to shoot the slug between the two points. You should be able to get really long rails too, much longer than would be possible with fixed rails.
Madcat, Jan 24 2009

Plasma Rail Railgun Plasma_20Rail_20Railgun
[bungston, Jan 25 2009]

Electrolaser http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolaser
And lo! [bungston, Jan 25 2009]

Railgun http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railgun
How to shoot a projectile with electricity [goldbb, Jan 25 2009]

Laser Taser http://www.geocitie...583/project431.html
Laser ionisation paths for taser charge delivery [RattyBunyip, Jan 27 2009]


       A good "mad science" weapon.
Aristotle, Jan 24 2009

       I had this idea also, but did not think of using lasers. I am not sure that lasers ionize gases they traverse. Are laser beams conductive?
bungston, Jan 25 2009

       High energy lasers will leave behind an ionized path by superheating.
MechE, Jan 25 2009

       I don't completely understand it, but I like it.   

       So you destroy the target with lasers and then immediately after, you shoot a lot of bullets at a non existent target? Great.
zeno, Jan 25 2009

       It is a rail gun. Powered by Lorentz forces! (waves hands authoritatively). Pure Lorenz forces. No, I meant to not have the t that time. He and Lorentz were friends. Cousins, maybe. French folk, you know. Like Fresnel and Frensel, those lens guys.
bungston, Jan 26 2009

       No idea if it would work but it sounds cool enough to bun.
simonj, Jan 27 2009

       What [zeno] said. [+]
coprocephalous, Jan 27 2009

       This is a nice variant on an idea I had ages ago... and which some lunatic seems to consider viable. See my Laser Taser link. (from a quick search). Note the laser discussed doesnt seem to carry enough punch to be dangerous on its own.
RattyBunyip, Jan 27 2009

       plasma ice skating
beanangel, Jan 27 2009

       Cool! But I think that you would need a nonconducting set of rails guiding the projectile in the right direction, so that it would not just jump out of the way. It should be okay, no arcing and sparking to destroy the physical rails.
GutPunchLullabies, Jan 27 2009

       /guiding the projectile in the right direction/ that is a great addition, gutpunch.
bungston, Jan 28 2009

       /guiding the projectile in the right direction/ that is a great addition, gutpunch.   

       One could have these physical rails be long. But the laser rails could be even longer. This would not work in space but laser rails are potentially very long and the longer the rails, the greater the acceleration.
bungston, Jan 28 2009

       From Wikipedia on railguns /[edit] Materials The rails and projectiles must be built from strong conductive materials; the rails need to survive the violence of an accelerating projectile, and heating due to the large currents and friction involved. The recoil force exerted on the rails is equal and opposite to the force propelling the projectile. The seat of the recoil force is still debated. The traditional equations predict that the recoil force acts on the breech of the railgun. Another school of thought invokes Ampère's force law and asserts that it acts along the length of the rails (which is their strongest axis)[5]. The rails also repel themselves via a sideways force caused by the rails being pushed by the magnetic field, just as the projectile is. The rails need to survive this without bending, and must be very securely mounted./   

       I had not thought about the equal and opposite reaction. Somehow I thought the energy just turned into pure force, not that it was pushing back on the rails to push the projectile forwards. I suspect it would be hard to get much leverage against a stream of ionized gas.
bungston, Jan 29 2009

       Well, the two monster lasers I ordered Monday might still come in handy for my optical persistence skywriting project. Only need one, really. I can let you have the other one for cheap.
bungston, Jan 30 2009


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