Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Recoil and Rail Guns
Name: Unknown
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1993


Question:
Do magnetically powered "rail guns" recoil less?



Replies:
No. No kind of gun can be truly recoil less. Newton's third law, the conservation of momentum, guarantees this. Even a laser has some recoil, since photons have momentum. In the rail gun, the momentum given to the projectile must be matched by the momentum given to the "stationary" part of the gun. If the gun is firmly anchored, this momentum is given to the entire mass of the planet and you will not see much recoil. But the force on the gun during the launch will be quite high, equal to the force on the projectile.

Unknown



Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory