There have been a few articles about the Navy's new Mach 7 33 Megajoule railgun. As a physics teacher, I have a couple of questions about this, and was hoping for some help.
Is the kinetic energy of the projectile 33 MJ, or is that the energy that was delivered from the capacitor bank that was used to fire the projectile, so that some of it would have been lost in resistive heating, etc.
The photos of the projectile show a cloud of hot gas behind the projectile? What is this? superheated air? Plasma from the electrical breakdown inside the railgun? What causes this?