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Shock and Vibration
Volume 8 (2001), Issue 3-4, Pages 147-155

An Evaluation of Magneto Rheological Dampers for Controlling Gun Recoil Dynamics

Mehdi Ahmadian and James C. Poynor

Advanced Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0238, USA

Received 15 October 2001; Revised 15 October 2001

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The application of magneto rheological dampers for controlling recoil dynamics is examined, using a recoil demonstrator that includes a single-shot 50 caliber BMG rifle action and a MR damper. The demonstrator is selected such that it can adequately represent the velocities that commonly occur in weapons with a recoil system, and can be used for collecting data for analyzing the effects of MR dampers on recoil dynamics. The MR damper is designed so that it can work effectively at the large velocities commonly occurring in gun recoil, and also be easily adjusted to reasonably optimize the damper performance for the recoil demonstrator. The test results show that it is indeed possible to design and use MR dampers for recoil applications, which subject the damper to relative velocities far larger than the applications that such dampers have commonly been used for (i.e., vehicle applications). Further, the results indicate that the recoil force increases and the recoil stroke decreases nonlinearly with an increase in the damping force. Also of significance is the fact that the adjustability of MR dampers can be used in a closed-loop system such that the large recoil forces that commonly occur upon firing the gun are avoided and, simultaneously, the recoil stroke is reduced. This study points to the need for several areas of research including establishing the performance capabilities for MR dampers for gun recoil applications in an exact manner, and the potential use of such dampers for a fire out of battery recoil system.