I'd like to enter the world of electronic hobbies by making a railgun, and so far I know that I understand the basics of the device and that I need high amounts of direct current.
However, I am puzzled, as to where to begin calculating. I'd like to set myself X amount of joules/kjoules of electric energy and work from that, but I know stuff like rail length and how the rails push eachother apart would affect performance, so I'd like to know;
- How Farads relate to Joules (I know the J/V^2 formula but that wasn't clear enough)?
- Should I opt for a single powerful capacitor or a bunch of smaller ones, especially since I want to unload the charge as fast as possible?
- What kind of conductive metal should I use that would be both conductive enough for acceleration and durable enough to resist the recoil and other forces involved?
- How should I cool it or deal with the heat?
- Would there be much heat to begin with in a portable railgun?
- Would ABS coating be a proper body for the gun, protecting the user from the lethal amperages that will be involved?
- How exactly does rail length help the case, as I would use a bipod for a long rifle if that will increase my efficiency?
- Would it be a better idea to have conductive bullets, insulated bullets with discarding and conductive sabots, or a stable aperture that will simply stop at the end of the barrel by whatever means I can come up with while letting the unbound insulated bullet out?
- Should I keep my circuit simple as to just use switches, a battery, capacitor, and some LEDs, or are there more efficient circuit components?
- I'd like to have a control mechanism that lights the Red LED when it is charging, green when it is charged, how can I do that? In my simple sketchup of the circuit I have V-switches (don't know the technical name) aligned in a way that the lights should light correctly during the course of my planned three stage trigger, but better ideas are obviously welcome.
- Will a capacitor lose its current when neither of the ends are connected to a complete circuit but both of them have wires attached to them? I am guessing not but better safe than sorry.
- Is there a way to make sure the capacitor has depleted its entire charge?
- What would be a good idea to improve safety and efficiency?
Thanks in advance!