New Air Force Grant Supports Electromagnetic Launch Technology

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Hector Gutierrez, Florida Tech associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Daniel R. Kirk, assistant professor of aerospace
engineering, have earned a new subcontract from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research in cooperation with Advanced Magnet Lab Inc. (AML). The
contract is a Phase-2 STTR Award for $500,000, over two years. The grant supports development of novel electromagnetic launch technology.
This research will further Gutierrez’s work of the last four years in electromagnetic launching, initially funded by the Office of Naval Research.
Advanced Magnet Lab, a private company, is located on the Florida Tech campus. The firm provides technology for the design and manufacture of advanced
conventional and superconducting magnets for medical, energy, research and the space and defense markets.
“We are investigating novel concepts that address some of the current bottlenecks in electromagnetic launching, such as the inductive heating of the launch
package, the formation of plasma induced by metal-to-metal contact at high speeds, and the heating of the launch tube itself, which greatly limits the rate
of fire. New developments that address these issues will pave the way to make EM launch a reality,” said Gutierrez.

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