Using simple theoretical principles from electrodynamics, namely the Lorentz force law and Biot-Savart law, a design for an electromagnetic linear accelerator was formed and implemented. Before a Railgun could be designed, however, a few factors had to be taken into account as the electrodynamical laws are based on an ideal and impossible case. A realistic model had to be made which accounted for rail geometry before building a Railgun. Using data from Los Alamos National Laboratory, a rail geometry was selected for the gun and the rails were placed into a housing constructed rigid GPO-3 plastic. A 450 psi compressed air system was implemented to give the projectile an initial velocity before making contact with the rails. The rails were powered by a 3.15 kJ capacitor bank constructed from 24 500v 4200 uF capacitors wired in parallel. This bank is capable of 12.6 kJ, but a power supply was not available to charge the bank that high. Using this system, multiple dry shots were taken with just air pressure, and then multiple shots powered by the capacitor bank were taken and attempts were made to analyze and compare data from the two shot types. Unfortunately, while some useful data was acquired, the different means of measuring the velocity yielded drastically different results, so better means of measuring must be used in the future.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 4-24-2014


Marco Ciocca

Mentor Department Affiliation

Physics and Astronomy

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Physics, Geosciences, and Astronomy

Department Name when Degree Awarded

Physics and Astronomy

Air Shot Day 2.mp4 (22640 kB)
Air Shot Day 2-2.mp4 (22823 kB)
Air Shot Day 2-3.mp4 (16750 kB)
Air Shot Day 2-4.mp4 (31476 kB)
First Power Shot.mp4 (37225 kB)
Power Shot Day 2-1.mp4 (8070 kB)
Power Shot Day 2-2.mp4 (28362 kB)
Air Shot.MOV (64744 kB)
Air Shot 2.MOV (73728 kB)
Air Shot 3.MOV (56646 kB)
Air Shot 4.MOV (55293 kB)
Powered Shot.MOV (95712 kB)
Powered Shot 2.MOV (101164 kB)
MVI_2192.MOV_1.mov (12198 kB)