Self-Excitation and Energy Recovery of Air-Core Compulsators

Weiduo Zhao, Shaopeng Wu, Shumei Cui, Chris Gerada, He Zhang, Zhuang Xu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


As power supplies, compulsators are popular choices for high-end railgun power supplies. In order to increase power and energy density, air-core compulsators are proposed by using composite materials instead of traditional iron-core compulsators. Due to the absence of ferromagnetic material, the flux density in the air-core compulsator can reach to 4-6 T instantaneously, which is much higher than the saturation field strength in traditional iron-core machines. Therefore, self-excitation topology is essential for the air-core compulsator to obtain up to 100-kA field current. This paper carried out research on the key parameters of self-excitation efficiency first, and then focus on the large magnetic energy remained in the inductive field winding after one shot, an implementation scheme and control strategy of energy recovery of air-core compulsator was proposed and analyzed. By controlling the field rectifier working at active inverter state after one discharge process, the magnetic energy stored in the field winding can be converted to rotor kinetic energy again. The simulation results indicate that the energy recovery efficiency can reach to 70% for a reference air-core compulsator. The continuous discharge number of times increased from 3 to 4 during one kinetic energy charging, which means that the delivered energy density increases 33.3%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7929298
Pages (from-to)1168-1174
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • Compulsators
  • electromagneticlaunch
  • energy recovery
  • railguns
  • self-excitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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