AiS Challenge Team Abstract Team Number: 024 School Name: Desert Academy Area of Science: Electrical Engineering Project Title: Optimization of Acceleration in a Coil Mass Driver Definition of the problem Mass drivers are constructed in various ways in order to achieve specific objectives or to overcome engineering obstacles. A rail mass driver is one example of balancing objectives against obstacles. A rail gun potentially can create a high level of acceleration for a projectile but a projectile can fuse easily to the rails unless additional steps are taken. A coil mass driver in contrast is less likely to fuse but has issues relating to the magnetic field generated by the coil. This project addresses two kinds of problems. The first is an engineering problem while the second is a mathematical problem. The team initially will build a small scale coil mass driver in order to understand the design and engineering issues involved. The team then will build a larger coil mass driver to demonstrate a working model. The electric and magnetic fields created in a coil will be modeled mathematically. The coil, tubing and electronic controls will be designed to reflect and confirm the math model. Purpose of the project and Anticipated Results The purpose is have the team members obtain hands-on and theoretical experience with what can be considered to be a cutting edge technology. Mass drivers, although intriguing from a science point of view, have not developed to the point of common use. Rockets and airplanes continue to be propelled by chemical means. The mass driver remains as a potential propulsion system for sending probes to other planets. There are three anticipated results. First the team members will obtain experience in designing and using the technology. Second, the team members will be introduced to the electrical and magnetic theory of mass drivers. Third, the teams members will gain insights into the problems of efficiently converting stored electrical energy into actual movement. Plan of action A classic series of research/design/construct steps are being followed in order to move from a general background understanding of mass drivers to the actual creation of one, incorporating a mathematical model. Different teams members are responsible for different parts of the project. School faculty and consultants will advise the team members as they progress through the project. The following is a reference site for more information: