Scientists Build Coilgun That Stops "Bullets"

March 13, 2008


Scientists at the University of Texas-Austin have developed a coilgun that can allegedly stop projectiles in mid-air. The coilgun works in the opposite manner of a typical coilgun -- this one slowing down projectiles as opposed to speeding them up. Unfortunately (and I know you will all hate me for this) the "bullets" used in the tests are atom and molecule sized. Not .38s or 9mms or anything like that. But still, it's a step.

The coilgun consists of 64 hand-made units (about $25 each) and is powered by its own capacitor. Here's how it works: The researchers trap particles from the air, store them in a tiny chamber, and release them in the direction of the gun. When a particle reaches the gun and encounters the coils, each coil's magnetic field progressively slows the particle down without touching it. The coilgun brought atoms and molecules traveling at 500 meters per second (1,118 mph) to a complete stop.

Yeah, a lot less exciting than I made it out to be. I apologize. I mean, they already have things that can stop bullets. It's called me. Well, to be fair I haven't actually stopped any bullets. I'd like to think my vital organs slowed them down a bit though. Anyway, the eventual goal of this coilgun project is to weigh neutrinos, which, if I had to guess, are particles that don't want to get involved in the fight between positrinos and negatrinos. But what do I know? I'm no scientist. I'm just a guy who sneaks into the physics lab to heat my coffee with a laser.

Magnetic Gun Stops Teen Bullets Mid-Air [discoverynews]

Thanks to Michelle, who is aw-aw-AWESOME, for the tip

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