Projectile

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A projectile is any object thrown into space (empty or not) by the exertion of a force. Although any object in motion through space (for example a thrown baseball) may be referred to as a projectile, the term more commonly refers to a ranged weapon.[1][2] Mathematical equations of motion are used to analyze projectile trajectory.

Motive force[edit]

Projectile and cartridge case for the massive World War II German 80cm Schwerer Gustav railway gun

Arrows, darts, spears, and similar weapons are fired using pure mechanical force applied by another object; apart from throwing without tools, mechanisms include the catapult, slingshot, and bow.

Other weapons use the compression or expansion of gases as their motive force.

Blowguns and pneumatic rifles use compressed gases, while most other guns and firearms utilize expanding gases liberated by sudden chemical reactions. Light-gas guns use a combination of these mechanisms.

Railguns utilize electromagnetic fields to provide a constant acceleration along the entire length of the device, greatly increasing the muzzle velocity.

Some projectiles provide propulsion during flight by means of a rocket engine or jet engine. In military terminology, a rocket is unguided, while a missile is guided. Note the two meanings of "rocket" (weapon and engine): an ICBM is a missile with rocket engines.

Ballistics analyze the projectile trajectory, the forces acting upon the projectile, and the impact that a projectile has on a target.

An explosion, whether or not by a weapon, causes the debris to act as multiple high velocity projectiles. An explosive weapon, or device may also be designed to produce many high velocity projectiles by the break-up of its casing, these are correctly termed fragments.

Delivery projectiles[edit]

Many projectiles, e.g. shells, may carry an explosive charge or another chemical or biological substance. Aside from explosive payload, a projectile can be designed to cause special damage, e.g. fire (see also early thermal weapons), or poisoning (see also arrow poison).

Sport projectiles[edit]

Ball speeds of 105 miles per hour (169 km/h) have been recorded in baseball.[3]

In projectile motion the most important force applied to the ‘projectile’ is the propelling force, in this case the propelling forces are the muscles the act upon the ball to make it move, and the stronger the force applied. the more propelling force which means the projectile (the ball) will travel further.

Kinetic projectiles[edit]

A projectile which does not contain an explosive charge or any other kind of charge is termed a kinetic projectile, kinetic energy weapon, kinetic energy warhead, kinetic warhead or kinetic penetrator. Typical kinetic energy weapons are blunt projectiles such as rocks and round shots, pointed ones such as arrows, and somewhat pointed ones such as bullets. Among projectiles which do not contain explosives are those launched from railguns, coilguns, and mass drivers, as well as kinetic energy penetrators. All of these weapons work by attaining a high muzzle velocity (hypervelocity), and collide with their target, converting their kinetic energy into destructive shock waves and heat.

Some kinetic weapons for targeting objects in spaceflight are anti-satellite weapons and anti-ballistic missiles. Since in order to reach an object in orbit it is necessary to attain an extremely high velocity, their released kinetic energy alone is enough to destroy their target; explosives are not necessary. For example: the energy of TNT is 4.6 MJ/kg, and the energy of a kinetic kill vehicle with a closing speed of 10 km/s is of 50 MJ/kg. This saves costly weight and there is no detonation to be precisely timed. This method, however, requires direct contact with the target, which requires a more accurate trajectory. Some hit-to-kill warheads are additionally equipped with an explosive directional warhead to enhance the kill probability (e.g. Israeli Arrow missile or U.S. Patriot PAC-3).

With regard to anti-missile weapons, the Arrow missile and MIM-104 Patriot PAC-2 have explosives, while the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI), Lightweight Exo-Atmospheric Projectile (LEAP, used in Aegis BMDS), and THAAD do not (see Missile Defense Agency).

A kinetic projectile can also be dropped from aircraft. This is applied by replacing the explosives of a regular bomb, e.g. by concrete, for a precision hit with less collateral damage. A typical bomb has a mass of 900 kg and a speed of impact of 800 km/h (220 m/s). It is also applied for training the act of dropping a bomb with explosives. [1] This method has been used in Operation Iraqi Freedom and the subsequent military operations in Iraq by mating concrete-filled training bombs with JDAM GPS guidance kits, to attack vehicles and other relatively "soft" targets located too close to civilian structures for the use of conventional high explosive bombs.

A Prompt Global Strike may use a kinetic weapon. A kinetic bombardment may involve a projectile dropped from Earth orbit.

A hypothetical kinetic weapon that travels at a significant fraction of the speed of light, usually found in science fiction, is termed a relativistic kill vehicle (RKV).

Wired projectiles[edit]

Some projectiles stay connected by a cable to the launch equipment after launching it:

  • for guidance: wire-guided missile (range up to 4,000 meters)
  • to administer an electric shock, as in the case of a Taser (range up to 10.6 meters); two projectiles are shot simultaneously, each with a cable.
  • to make a connection with the target, either to tow it towards the launcher, as with a whaling harpoon, or to draw the launcher to the target, as a grappling hook does.

Typical projectile speeds[edit]

Projectile Speed Specific kinetic energy (J/kg)
(m/s) (km/h) (ft/s) (mph)
Object falling 1 m (in vacuum, at Earth's surface) 4.43 15.948 14.5 9.9 9.8
Object falling 10 m (in vacuum, at Earth's surface) 14 50.4 46 31 98
Thrown club (expert thrower) 40 144 130 90 800
Object falling 100 m (in vacuum, at Earth's surface) 45 162 150 100 980
Refined (flexible) atlatl dart (expert thrower) 45 162 150 100 1,000
Ice hockey puck (slapshot, professional player) 50 180 165 110 1,300
80-lb-draw pistol crossbow bolt 58 208.8 190 130 1,700
War arrow shot from a 150 lbs medieval warbow 63 228.2 208 141 2,000
Blunt Impact Projectile shot from a 40mm grenade launcher 87 313.2 285 194.6 3,785
Paintball fired from marker 91 327.6 300 204 4,100
175-lb-draw crossbow bolt 97 349.2 320 217 4,700
Air gun pellet 6 mm soft air pellet 100 360 328 224 5,000
Air Rifle BB 4.5 mm 150 540 492 336 11,000
Air gun pellet .177" (magnum-power air rifle) 305 878.4 1,000 545 29,800
9×19 mm (bullet of a pistol) 340 1224 1,116 761 58,000
12.7×99 mm (bullet of a heavy machine gun) 800 2,880 2,625 1,790 320,000
German Tiger I 88 mm (tank shell- Pzgr. 39 APCBCHE) 810 2,899 2,657 1,812 328,050
5.56×45 mm (standard round used in many assault rifles) 920 3,312 3,018 2,058 470,000
20x102mm (standard US cannon round used in fighter cannons) 1039.38 3,741 3,410 2,325
25×1400 mm (APFSDS, tank penetrator) 1,700 6,120 5,577 3,803 1,400,000
2 kg tungsten Slug (from Experimental Railgun) 3,000 10,800 9,843 6,711 4,500,000
ICBM reentry vehicle Up to 4,000 Up to 14,000 Up to 13,000 Up to 9,000 Up to 8,000,000
projectile of a light-gas gun Up to 7,000 Up to 25,000 Up to 23,000 Up to 16,000 Up to 24,000,000
Satellite in low earth orbit 8,000 29,000 26,000 19,000 32,000,000
Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle ~10,000 ~36,000 ~33,000 ~22,000 ~50,000,000
Projectile (e.g., space debris) and target both in low earth orbit 0–16,000 ~58,000 ~53,000 ~36,000 ~130,000,000

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The free Dictionary". Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  2. ^ "Dictionary.com". Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  3. ^ Pepin, Matt (2010-08-26). "Aroldis Chapman hits 105 mph". Boston.com. Archived from the original on 31 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-30. 

External links[edit]