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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was watching some science tv today about a rocket program, where hydrogen gas was touted as the most powerful and lightest fuel used in rocketry.
I wondered if hydrogen gas could be used in firearms to any benefit. Wikipedia has an article on an artillery cannon fired by a hydrogen charge, claiming it has greater muzzle velocities than traditionally propelled firearms.

Do any of you think it would be worth the trouble to adapt it to small arms? What are y'alls opinion on it?

Now that I think about it, loading would be a bit of a pain: It would probably require a hydrogen bath to push out the air in the case, be ferried into a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen for even and consistent results. That, and we'd miss out on the smell of gunpowder.
 

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It would make a great cartoon for a gun magazine. Rifle propped up on the bench with hoses running to it from big steaming tanks and condensation streaming out of every crack. Caption would read, "I heard on the internet I can get another 100 feet per second!"
 

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The Shadow (Super Mod)
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I was watching some science tv today about a rocket program, where hydrogen gas was touted as the most powerful and lightest fuel used in rocketry.
While true, it omits discussing the downsides. As with anything, it's about trade-off's and diminishing returns. Diesel has about 45 megajules/kg of energy, and hydrogen is something like 120 MJ/Kg. The problem is that hydrogen is far less dense of a fuel source. So to launch a rocket into orbit, you need a massive liquid hydrogen tank. Whereas a diesel rocket(RP-1, Kerosene, whatever) like the Falcon 9 can get away with a substantially smaller and lighter tank.

So while it may be possible to use hydrogen, at least academically, to power a bullet. The time, expense, hassle, and hazzards of toting around massive liquid hydrogen tanks; make it far from practical.

It would make a great cartoon for a gun magazine. Rifle propped up on the bench with hoses running to it from big steaming tanks and condensation streaming out of every crack. Caption would read, "I heard on the internet I can get another 100 feet per second!"

If the Hindenburg taught us nothing else, we know that massive amounts of hydrogen in the hands of random folks looking for a selfie; will end in an epic bonfire.:p

Cheers
 

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The Shadow (Super Mod)
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Tanks of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) don't strike me as terribly practical either😉
Assuming something stronger than $0.99 store strength, you are talking about a powerful oxidizer. And really who doesn't love a little hydrogen embrittlment trouble from time to time. 😁

Anyone interested in a 308 with a barrel life of 1,000 rounds??
....Going once......
:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

Cheers
 

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Actually 2H20 is water --- my bad --- shoulda put H2S --- all ya gotta do is eat some eggs and make your own. :cool:
 

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You wouldn’t have to cary tanks .
A tiny bit of water and a tiny bit of electrickery.
Hydrogen could be produced in a generator the size of a mag .
I think it needs to be compressed .
You could probably feed a piston operated air rifle with hydrogen to compress it .
You would need a projectile that seals to contain the gass , a Ruger electric trigger .
It can be done , has been done and I think it would be cool .

cheers.
 

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2H2O can be understood as two molecules of water. It is also understood as a way of writing deuterium oxide (or heavy water). More commonly heavy water is written D2O, D2 being the Deuterium isotope of hydrogen.
 
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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Sounds like it would be rough on barrel steel, bullets, and anything edible :eek:

Perhaps the ultimate short-barrel-life varmit cartridge..... :D
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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A glow in the dark vapor trail as it were.

RJ
 

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Hydrogen is used at a few labs to launch small projectiles into media to simulate meteor strikes.
The hydrogen is not burned it is compressed with a piston driven by conventional propellants and recycled after each firing. They launch projectiles at hyper-sonic speeds. Called "Light gas guns" they are used at labs like Rice University and Arnold Air Force base.
 

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I've seen the light gas guns at Southwest Labs in San Antonio but they're operated on Nitrogen in purple tanks.
 

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Some use nitrogen some use hydrogen or other gases. The idea is to compress the gas to a metallic state to propel a projectile at hyper-sonic velocities.
One such hydrogen gun was used to launch an inert "anti-tank projectile" at over 25000 miles per hour (over 36000 fps). The projectile was made of a plastic and successfully penetrated a concrete wall and two armor plates equivalent to both sides of a tank. The projectile morphed into a teardrop shape in flight due to air resistance and heat. It is not a practical battle weapon but does show potential.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I meant to reply to this sooner. <_<
Anyway, for what it's worth, somebody demonstrated how it worked by plunging a few syringes of hydrogen gas into a spud gun, and electrically igniting it. It'd be fun to experiment with, at least.
A downside to combustion light gas guns is the inconsistency of muzzle velocity. Add to that the size of hydrogen (or any flammable gas) tanks, and it's pretty clear it won't be a replacement to powder anytime soon.
To clear up some confusion, I referred to "combustion light gas guns", such as Utron Incoporated's.
Thanks for the replies y'all; it's been interesting hearing your take on the subject.
 

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Light gas guns don't burn the light gas. They compress the hydrogen or nitrogen with a burning charge behind a piston. The piston is attached to a shaft with a smaller piston on the other end. The small piston compresses the gas until it is extremely dense and that pushes the projectile. Most of the light gases are captured and reused.
 
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