Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
276
BALLISTICS

(Problemi del Tiro, Roma, 1883), and adapted to yd., ft., in. and lb units by A. G. Hadcock, late R.A., and published in the Proc. R.A. Institution, 1898, and in Gunnery Tables, 1898.

In this table

(93)

where a is a function tabulated for the two arguments, V the initial velocity, and R/C the reduced range in yards.

The table is too long for insertion here. The results for φ and β, as calculated for the range tables above, are also given there for comparison.

Drift.—An elongated shot fired from a rifled gun does not move in a vertical plane, but as if the mean plane of the trajectory was inclined to the true vertical at a small angle, 2° or 3°; so that the shot will hit the mark aimed at if the back sight is tilted to the vertical at this angle δ, called the permanent angle of deflection (see Sights).

This effect is called drift and the reason of it is not yet understood very clearly.

It is evidently a gyroscopic effect, being reversed in direction by a change from a right to a left-handed twist of rifling, and being increased by an increase of rotation of the shot.

The axis of an elongated shot would move parallel to itself only if fired in a vacuum; but in air the couple due to a sidelong motion tends to place the axis at right angles to the tangent of the trajectory, and acting on a rotating body causes the axis to precess about the tangent. At the same time the frictional drag damps the nutation and causes the axis of the shot to follow the tangent of the trajectory very closely, the point of the shot being seen to be slightly above and to the right of the tangent, with a right-handed twist. The effect is as if there was a mean sidelong thrust w tan δ on the shot from left to right in order to deflect the plane of the trajectory at angle δ to the vertical. But no formula has yet been invented, derived on theoretical principles from the physical data, which will assign by calculation a definite magnitude to δ.

An effect similar to drift is observable at tennis, golf, base-ball and cricket; but this effect is explainable by the inequality of pressure due to a vortex of air carried along by the rotating ball, and the deviation is in the opposite direction of the drift observed in artillery practice, so artillerists are still awaiting theory and crucial experiment.

After all care has been taken in laying and pointing, in accordance with the rules of theory and practice, absolute certainty of hitting the same spot every time is unattainable, as causes of error exist which cannot be eliminated, such as variations in the air and in the muzzle-velocity, and also in the steadiness of the shot in flight.

To obtain an estimate of the accuracy of a gun, as much actual practice as is available must be utilized for the calculation in accordance with the laws of probability of the 50% zones shown in the range table (see Probability.)


II. Interior Ballistics.

The investigation of the relations connecting the pressure, volume and temperature of the powder-gas inside the bore of the gun, of the work realized by the expansion of the powder, of the dynamics of the movement of the shot up the bore, and of the stress set up in the material of the gun, constitutes the branch of interior ballistics.


Ballistics 3.png
Fig. 3.


A gun may be considered a simple thermo-dynamic machine or heat-engine which does its work in a single stroke, and does not act in a series of periodic cycles as an ordinary steam or gas-engine.

An indicator diagram can be drawn for a gun (fig. 3) as for a steam-engine, representing graphically by a curve CPD the relation between the volume and pressure of the powder-gas; and in addition the curves AQE of energy e, AvV of velocity v, and AtT of time t can be plotted or derived, the velocity and energy at the muzzle B being denoted by V and E.


Ballistics 4.png
Fig. 4.