Design and Performance of a Laboratory Pneumatic Gun for Soil Ballistic Applications

A. Cave, S. Roslyakov, M. Iskander, S. Bless

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A laboratory gun that uses compressed gas as its propellant was designed and tested for the study of small projectiles traveling in soils with initial velocities ranging from 50 to 200 m/s. The gun employed the use of air or helium with an electrically triggered, pneumatically piloted, solenoid valve. The triggering system was designed to provide remote activation. A photo gate speedometer was utilized to measure the exit velocity of each projectile. Details of the electro-pneumatic control system are presented in this paper along with the design of the gun assembly and its subsystems. The effects of different design parameters, including muzzle length, projectile mass, propellant type, and volume of compressed gas utilized, on projectile velocity were investigated. Statistical analysis of the gun performance is presented. The gun is currently being used to visualize the fundamental physics of rapid earth penetration in soils, using transparent soils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-553
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental Techniques
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Ballistics
  • Gas Gun
  • Projectile

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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