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For some time I've been thinking upon the concept of a firearm that uses a mechanical system to generate an electrical current for use in a electrically ignited firearm without the hassle of batteries. While piezometric crystals hammer could work for conventional propellants, I am not to sure if the same can be said about Electrothermal-chemical firearms.

So. what I'm thinking is if you take a linear electric motor, scale it down to to be used in a rifle like platform, and use the exiting mechanism in place for cycling to drive a piston that could generate an electric current for igniting a plasma charge.

Does this sound plausible? Would it actually work? And if it doesn't, is there a method of mechanical-electric generation that would?

Edit: To clear up somethings that I really needed to explain better; the "plasma cartridge" refers to material that is flashed vaporized by electricity into a plasma which then ignites a high temperature propellant. It does not refer to a stand alone bolt of super heated plasma, only a plasma "burst" that ignites a propellant. Thus, the question in question is whether or not the recoil of the rifle can be converted through a linear motor into electricity that is sufficient enough to ignite the plasma charge.

More information of said plasma charge can be found in the link at the main body of the question.

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  • $\begingroup$ It depends all on how much electricity is required for the plasma to ignite. It seems very low from some induction of the facts, but I couldn't find direct factual sources. Electricity doesn't seem to be the problem as far as I could tell. I think you could get enough electricity by having the trigger move a linear motor. The problem is having it stable and reliable, which is what this technology is all about. Why risk being unreliable when a small stable battery can be enough? Then again, I just read a few articles this morning, having no previous knowledge. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Oct 17, 2021 at 7:07
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    $\begingroup$ What does "ignite a plasma charge" actually mean? $\endgroup$ Oct 17, 2021 at 8:57
  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean using the recoil to generate the charge for the next high-energy plasma creation. How much plasma do you need? Sort of depends how the energy levels work out, but I figure a secondary source of electricity would be less likely to defeat the object by gobbling up available energy from the chemical explosives. I suspect the army agrees, that's why the things were designed for tanks not foot soldiers. $\endgroup$ Oct 17, 2021 at 20:55
  • $\begingroup$ How is the first shot done? And: the piezo element of any lighter produces a 'spark' - this is - drumroll - plasma. The wikipage for ETC is breathtakingly short on details about the actual technology, could you dig for a source that has more info on what energies we are talking about here? $\endgroup$
    – bukwyrm
    Oct 19, 2021 at 15:26

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I'd go with

  1. Small charge to propel a permanent magnet through a coil for about 10-100J in magnetic flux
  2. extra step of helical explosively pumped flux compression generator pumping up the current to 5-10kJ (AK-47 has somewhere around 6-7kJ per shot - so no a lot of extra explosive required)

The energy available should be enough get quite a hot plasma, keeping into account that everything happens in times of milliseconds or less (10MW or more).

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What you are describing made me think back to toy cars I had when I was a kid. These cars, when you pushed them on the floor, generated sparks. I know these toys used friction motors with flint and steel for the sparks (not electricity). However, if you configured the small motor to turn the flywheel with magnets through coils (all very small) you could generate small amounts of electricity. Whether or not this would lead you in the right direction would depend on how much electricity you would need. Could your weapon have a two-stage trigger? Repeated squeezes on one trigger to build the charge and a secondary trigger (or deeper squeeze on a single trigger) to fire the weapon?

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Dynamo and a capacitor

Electricity is made every time a conductor moves through a magnetic field. Your old bike light ran by a dynamo that touched your rear tire and made electricity for your lights. All a dynamo is is a magnet on a shaft turning inside wound-up wires. When the magnet spins, electricity moves through the wires. So you need to be able to turn your trigger into rotation, so the magnet turns very quickly. Lots of wire turns make larger voltages. Yes, you can definitely make a large enough spark to ignite a small plasma firing cap.

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Hand Powered or Hand Crank Torch with Camera flash circuit

Hand Powered Dynamo Torch or Hand Crank Flashlight is available from here and here. You can use it to generate electricity. enter image description here

Then use a circuit as used in camera flashlight to store electric charge in a capacitor. This voltage of capacitor is around 300 - 400 volts. Discharge the capacitor as required.

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