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Accelerator
Accelerator
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The Accelerator is a Human Golden Age structure on Earth's moon. Bungie stated that it is what is called "...a Fusion coil Accelerator, coilgun, or railgun..." though which of the three is left unstated (the difference between a coilgun and a railgun will be explained later in the article). This installation was used to launch payloads at extremely high velocities into space, usually to transport cargo to the outer colonies. It was stated to have been very active in its day, but to have fallen into a state of disrepair in the years since the Collapse.


Coilgun as opposed to Railgun[]

A coilgun and railgun achieve the same goal- accelerating a payload down a linear bore- but through different methods. A coilgun uses a series of electromagnetic coils to accelerate the payload. A railgun is composed of a power source- a capacitor or battery- two parallel rails, and the payload, which completes the circuit by bridging the rails. A magnetic field, which spins towards the other rail, is created by the current running through the rails, and essentially "pushes" the magnetic payload out from between the rails.

Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. Coilguns don't have an intrinsic limit on the velocity of the payload, whereas railguns do, due to the payload actually being in contact with the rails. This means that, theoretically, they can accelerate a payload to arbitrarily high speeds. Additionally, since the payload isn't in direct contact with anything like in a railgun, wear and tear caused by friction is not a factor in maintenance, and friction-generated heat is avoided as well. However, coilguns require a much more complicated design. Each coil must be turned off as the payload reaches the center of it, otherwise the payload will be stopped at the center of the coil. The cost of turning off each of these coils- called switching- gets very expensive. Additionally, measures must be taken to keep excess charge from the coils from running back up the circuit and wreaking havoc on capacitors. All these complicated electronics make it much more likely that problems will occur.

Railguns suffer from simpler problems, though this doesn't mean they are easy to fix. An inherent drawback is that the friction from payloads running along the rails creates massive wear on them, as well as extreme heat, which will quickly warp the rails. As stated above, the fact that the payload is in contact with the rails limits the maximum velocity the payload can achieve. As more payloads clear the rails, electricity will arc between the rails and will damage their surfaces. The power required to accelerate the payload is also massive, and requires huge capacitor or compulsator suites. However, they are much simpler to construct than coilguns. The rails can be easily replaced if damaged, and cooling is not as difficult with higher budgets, and they do not require nearly as much knowledge to operate and maintain.

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