Rheological fluids based firearms mechanisms

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A rheological fluid-based mechanism (or RB-MECHANISM) is a method for designing and powering firearms and ordnance. The mechanisms currently used by firearms and ordnance utilize combustion of gunpowder to propel ammunition. An RB-MECHANISM controls the recoil and the reloading process by altering the viscosity of a rheological fluid, or "smart fluid," to control the force necessary to accelerate a piece of ammunition to high speeds. This can be used in both small arms such as pistols and heavy ordnance applications, minimizing moving parts and streamlining the fire control system. A computer chip is needed to control the fire and other weapon “settings”. Typical power requirements are approximately 1 ampere/12 volts. If electricity is unsuitable or unavailable, a magnetic field may be applied to the fluid by the use of magnets.

Smart fluids[edit]

Rheological fluids, or smart fluids, are fluids whose viscosity can be controlled by applying an electric current or introducing a magnetic field. Rheological fluids are thus considered valuable for the ease of manipulating viscosity without consuming or degenerating the substance, as might be necessary with other fluids.


A typical application for heavy ordnance would be to control the intense recoil forces generated when firing a howitzer, allowing a lighter and more compact gun carriage. A typical application for small arms would be to replace the bolt which is used to seal the firearm by keeping the bolt-head tight to the chamber as long as the projectile travels down the barrel. A RB-MECHANISM will be able to support the bolt-head in the same fashion, while being less prone to negative factors such as dirt, cold, heat or poor ammunition. Rheological Ammunition may also require a weapon with a rheological fluids based mechanism to achieve a reliable function regardless of the projectile properties.

Small arms applications[edit]

In devices that feature multiple weapons, such as a combined rifle and grenade launcher (XM29/ OICW), there is a penalty in weight because each weapon requires separate systems for firing, reloading and recoil control. A single computer-controlled RB-MECHANISM, however, can support and control both weapons and thereby save weight as well as streamline the control system.

Old simple blowback-type submachine guns like S&W 76, "Swedish K", Sten etc. are unsuitable for powerful rifle ammunition. With rifle ammunition a bolt with a mass nearing 10 kilograms would be necessary to safely absorb the recoil for the time the bolt-head must be locked to the barrel. This makes it impractical for use with higher-power ammunition. Instead, the computer-controlled RB-MECHANISM can absorb the recoil as effectively as a 10-kg bolt without the added weight disadvantage.

Active companies[edit]

Companies that are known to carrying out research on rheological fluid-based firearm mechanisms:

See also[edit]