Compressed gas gun

A compressed gas gun for ballistic impact studies is also available at SIMLab.



The main components of the gas gun are:

  • the 200 bar pressure tank,
  • the purpose-built firing unit for compressed gas,
  • the 10 m long smooth barrel of calibre 50 mm, and
  • the closed 16 m3 impact chamber.

Due to the size of the impact chamber, large structural component may be full-scale tested.

The process

The gas gun is designed to launch a 250 g projectile/sabot package to a maximum velocity of 1000 m/s when helium is used as propellant. The projectile is mounted in a sabot, allowing a variety of striker geometries and masses to be used, and the package is inserted into the rear end of the barrel. When the package leaves the muzzle, the sabot is immediately separated from the projectile due to aerodynamic forces. A sabot trap allows the projectile to pass freely while the sabot parts are stopped. The projectile passes the initial velocity measurement station before it impacts the clamped target after about 2 m of free flight. To allow high-speed photography during impact, the clamping system is equipped with a framing window. If the projectile perforates the target, residual velocities are measured before all free flying bodies are stopped without further damage in a rag-box. After testing, the impact chamber may be opened for final inspections and measurements.


Impact EngineeiringBørvik T, Langseth M, Hopperstad OS, Malo KA. Ballistic penetration of steel plates. International Journal of Impact Engineering 1999;22:855-886. (doi)

Børvik T, Hopperstad OS, Langseth M, Malo KA. Effect of target thickness in blunt projectile penetration of Weldox 460 E steel plates. International Journal of Impact Engineering 2003;28:413-464. (doi)