Optimized use of superconducting magnetic energy storage for electromagnetic rail launcher powering

Arnaud Badel, Pascal Tixador, Michel Arniet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Electromagnetic rail launchers (EMRLs) require very high currents, from hundreds of kA to several MA. They are usually powered by capacitors. The use of superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) in the supply chain of an EMRL is investigated, as an energy buffer and as direct powering source. Simulations of direct powering are conducted to quantify the benefits of this method in terms of required primary energy. In order to enhance further the benefits of SMES powering, a novel integration concept is proposed, the superconducting self-supplied electromagnetic launcher (S 3EL). In the S 3EL, the SMES is used as a power supply for the EMRL but its coil serves also as an additional source of magnetic flux density, in order to increase the thrust (or reduce the required current for a given thrust). Optimization principles for this new concept are presented. Simulations based on the characteristics of an existing launcher demonstrate that the required current could be reduced by a factor of seven. Realizing such devices with HTS cables should be possible in the near future, especially if the S 3EL concept is used in combination with the XRAM principle, allowing current multiplication.

Original languageEnglish
Article number014006
JournalSuperconductor Science and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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