SW d6 Mailing List: Notes on Blaster Recoil

Yesterday Tim Gilberg did a wonderful job of explaining to me how blasters work, citing “Craken’s Rebel Field Guide” as a reference. The explanation given involved energizing “blaster gas” to produce a high-energy bolt (in effect a plasma gun).  The “recoil effects” apparently seen in the movies would be more believable for a plasma weapon than for a laser. I was content in the assurance that I now understood what blasters REALLY were.  HOWEVER,  I was thumbing through my SW-RPG 2nd Edition Rulebook last night and happened to stumble upon a brief discussion of how blasters work.  I don’t have the book with me now, but the explanation I recall involved energizing blaster gas which in turn excited it and caused it to emit an energy pulse or something to that effect.

Wait a minute…there’s a problem here.  The explanation given in the 2nd Ed Rule Book sounds and awful lot like a gas laser, NOT a plasma weapon.  The difference is that in a plasma weapon, the gas itself is energized (superheated to a plasma state) and actually BECOMES the bolt.  In a gas laser, the gas is EXCITED which causes it to EMIT energy (i.e., coherent light).  The gas itself doesn’t become the bolt, but serves as the emission source for photons.  I’ve actually seen the damage that a millisecond pulse from a REAL high energy laser can do, so I could believe that blasters could be a type of pulse gas laser. But THEN there’s the recoil issue…
Guess I’m still confused…(HELP!)
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|But THEN there’s the recoil issue…
|Guess I’m still confused…(HELP!)

Well, a point that was brought up in the never ending ST vs. SW battles on R.A.S.S.M. is that if Han Solo’s blaster is actually a laser, and has kick it is packing an insane amount of power.  In order to get kick from photons (which have almost no mass) you would need to have a large amount of them leaving the gun.  While I don’t have all the original arguments, it was pretty much stated that if it is a laser, it could probably destroy a Capital Ship with one shot.  Now than, we know it’s not that frightful, so it makes sense that the gun is shooting some form of plasma.

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There have been a discussion on recoil and the speed of bullets, and i really feel the urge to submit my 0.02SEK

The recoil of a weapon has to do with the mass of the “bullet” and it’s velocity, this is called the “impulse” and the mass of the weapon plus the shooter takes up this impulse. This impulse also pushes the target back. then there is the kinetic energy which is the velocity squared times half the mass (Wk=v^2*m/2) this energy produces a chock wave in the target, if the bullet stops in the target the whole energy is absorbed.
The speed of a bullet leaving a modern rifle (5.56mm NATO) is about 950m/s (near Mach 3) and the mass is 4.0 grams, there are experimetal ammo with a 0.66 gram “flechette” leaving the barrel with more than 1400 m/s (over Mach 4).
And then blasters, what are they ?
My thought is some type of plasma weapon fiering a small amout of superheated gas at VERY high velocities, A plasma weapon should perhaps fire 0.1g gas in 100000m/s giving a low enough recoil but having an high kinetic energy plus the heat of the gas (say 1 000 000 Kelvin) the kinetic energy should be over 100 times the 0.66g flechette in the above example, this should penetrate most modern armour and most people wearing such armour should have a REALLY BAD DAY.
sorry for the rambling but when i get started…..

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