For charging military lasers, rail guns, microwave weapons and more, Chinese scientists claim a single massive explosion within a shock tunnel may transform hot gas into the most powerful hypersonic generator yet seen by a military.
A recent peer-reviewed publication in the Chinese Journal of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics reveals how the hypersonic generator converts a single explosion within a shock tunnel into enough electrical current to power future hypersonic weapons, as reported by the South China Morning Post.
The Chinese scientists used a carefully timed explosion to transform the heated gas into a plasma full of speeding ions, which they then used to generate a current. Compressed argon gas is accelerated to 14 times the speed of sound by shock waves, and the resulting ionised plasma is then sent via magnetohydrodynamics generators to create up to 212 kilowatts of electricity on the back of just.26 gallons of fuel. That’s more than enough juice for a jolt of energy unmatched by any current compact system.
“It has a large capacity and high efficiency,” the researchers write via the SCMP. No intermediary energy storage mechanisms are required. Without a high-power switch, energy may be sent straight to the load. And it’s fast to boot up,” There are no moving components in the generator, which improves both its efficiency and its usability.
The researchers claim they can generate a gigawatt of input power for the greatest weapons in development using just 177 cubic feet of hypersonic plasma (less volume than a standard van).
As of right now, China isn’t prepared to roll out the new system. Transporting a device that needs controlled explosion and the gas required for a second charge presents a number of logistical challenges. China’s hypersonic weapons received a massive boost in strength, especially if the next generation of research allows for automatic reloading of the technology.