Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"A good science fiction story should be able to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam."
- Frederik Pohl

Electric Machine Gun (Railgun)  
  A device that accelerates small projectiles magnetically using a strong electric current.  

This is an early fictional use of the idea of a railgun.

"What was that thing you cut those planes up with? I thought you were making a sort of machine gun."

Kennedy chuckled. "It was, Bob, it was. It was simply a long solenoid that threw little steel bullets, but it didn't use powder, it used electric power. Remember, there was practically no mechanical apparatus about it, only electrical contacts made by the bullet itself, as it was drawn throught the tube by the magnetic force. The lack of mechanism meant it could fire as fast as bullets could go through the barrel; no waiting while the thing was cocked and the used cartridge removed... The result was that the machine gun shot something like thirty thousand times a minute. It acted like a huge bandsaw, each bullet being a tooth that moved better than two miles per second."

From The Battery of Hate, by John W. Campbell.
Published by Teck Publications in 1933
Additional resources -

Campbell's description of the device in operation from the point of view of the intended victim is dramatic:

Then something screamed through the night, a glistening sheet that moved across and swept toward their plane. Like a shimmering knife of silver light it passed resistlessly through one wing, angled forward and pelted on the heavy motor. With a roar the motor blew up...

Campbell didn't come up with the idea for a gun that accelerates bullets magnetically. The idea seems to be almost as old as the discovery of electromagnetic forces. Although there does not seem to be much in the way of documentation, it appears that the first electric gun was created in 1844. However, given the trouble that has attended recent efforts in creating a working railgun, it seems hard to believe that a prototype capable of firing a stream of bullets could be created with 19th century materials.

Successful prototypes have been built since the 1970's; the severe forces created in use, along with arcing between the projectile and the rails, typically lead to systems that require maintenance between each shot.

Take a look at Overview of electromagnetic guns and the Wiki entry for railgun.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Battery of Hate
  More Ideas and Technology by John W. Campbell
  Tech news articles related to The Battery of Hate
  Tech news articles related to works by John W. Campbell

Electric Machine Gun (Railgun)-related news articles:
  - Railguns For Surface Ships

Articles related to Weapon
ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
Musk's Boring Flamethrower
Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Wound Healing With Wearable Nanogenerators
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to ... erase the other internal-external damage.'

Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.

Negative Matter Fluid Theorized In New Paper
'Of course, being negative matter, when you push it, it comes toward you..'

Grow Structures Upon Planetfall - Myco-Architecture
'They'll also start pulling in gases and liquids from the local atmosphere...'

MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...'

EXPLORER, The First Total-Body Scanner
'The object is built up of an infinite series of plane layers, at the focus of the ray...'

UK Police AI To Stop Criminals Before They Strike
'... the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'

Sonitus Audio Interface Positioned Beyond The Noise
'... an instrument having relatively small bit pieces adapted to be gripped between the teeth.'

Volvo's Self-Driving Mining Trucks
'A procession of automatic ore carts was racing over the bleak slag'

Audi Pop.Up Autonomous Electric Flying Car
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble of light metals and plastics...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.