The Rail Gun
Powered by electricity, rail guns are electromagnetic projectile launchers that are able to fire several pound projectiles at hypersonic speeds.
Amazing But True
- A rail gun is an apparatus that consists of two parallel guide rails that are connected to a power supply. When a conductive projectile is placed on the rails a magnetic field is created that is perpendicular to the rails. As a result, a Lorentz force is created that accelerates the projectile at a rate that is proportional to the current squared.
- The Lorentz force states that a charged particle that moves in the presence of an electric or magnetic field will experience a force of the form:
Using the information provided above, and the link below, answer the following questions.
- If a charged particle has a velocity along the
x-axis, what direction would the Lorentz force be if the particle enters a region with an electric field pointed along the y-axis?
- If a particle with zero charge has a velocity along the
x-axis, what direction would the Lorentz force be if the particle enters a region with a magnetic field pointed along the y-axis?
- If the particle in the previous problem has a positive charge, what direction would the Lorentz force be?