The two-stage light gas gun is one of the UNSW Canberra's flagship pieces of equipment. And it's versatile, boasting three different firing configurations to suit the needs of most high-velocity impact experiment.
Two single-stage configurations have barrel bore diameters of 22mm and 70mm to accommodate varying projectile sizes over a velocity range of 150 to 1,100 m/s. These velocities are capable of imparting high-pressure shock waves into targets. Plate impact studies can be conducted under high vacuum with the addition of a secondary chamber at the exit of the gun barrel within the primary target chamber. When configured for two-stage experiments the gun is capable of firing a 22mm diameter projectile to a velocity of 4.5km/s making it the fastest gun in the Southern Hemisphere. At these extreme pressures, the projectile and/or target can actually vaporise on impact. Having the capability to replicate pressures approaching those seen within the centres of planetary bodies provides a unique opportunity for novel, cutting-edge scientific experiments.