Design of a superconducting self-supplied electromagnetic launcher proof of concept using HTS REBCO conductor

A. Badel Arnaud, J. Ciceron, R. Pasquet, E. Voisin, F. Forest, M. Schneider, P. Tixador

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


A superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) is an attractive power supply for electromagnetic rail launchers (EMRL), which require pulse currents to launch projectiles at very high speeds. Moreover, the accelerating force in an EMRL may be enhanced by adding a background field, a principle known as launcher S3EL concept (Superconducting Self-Supplied Electromagnetic Launcher) consists in using the SMES both as a power supply and for background field generation. The challenge is to reach the operating current and peak magnetic field of such launchers, which can be up to hundreds of kA and up to 10 T. The use of a high-temperature superconductor is mandatory to maintain superconducting operation during a launch, though operation at 4.2 K is foreseen to benefit from the RareEarth-BaCuO (REBCO) tape high critical current densities. The aim of this work is to derive a practical design for a 1-m-long small-scale S3EL proof of concept using REBCO coated conductor, with a reduced output velocity (100 m/s). After preliminary sizing studies, the spatial constraints for the SMES-Launcher integration is presented. A parametric joint analytical and Finite Element Method (FEM) study is conducted to refine the design and maximize the operation margins while maintaining the launch performances. Finally, cable design and discharge method suitable to reach the required operating current are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7739939
JournalIEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • HTS
  • SMES
  • electromagnetic rail launcher (EMRL)
  • pulse power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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