The thick tantalum alloy liner, metallurgically bonded to the bore surface, will mitigate wear, heat, corrosion, and hot gas erosion. The tantalum alloy liner welded in place by explosive cladding is 0.5-2.5 mm thick (0.020-0.10”), well in excess of the 0.125 mm thick chrome layer it is replacing and the 0.01-0.1 mm thick coating that may be deposited by sputtering. This increased thickness allows the liner to act like an insulator, thereby permitting greater rates of fire without pushing the barrel steel past its transition temperature. Thermal modeling conducted by ARDEC in collaboration with TPL’s Army MANTECH program showed this insulating effect. TPL recently demonstrated its Barrel Armor technology in small caliber barrels (.223/5.56mm, .30/7.62mm and .50 cal). By redesigning its engineering process, TPL showed the ability to clad, with a metallurgical bond, refractory liners to steel or aluminum barrels a 5.56mm, M249 Squad Automatic Weapon barrel that was clad, machined and proof fired.
Lightweight Barrel: Photograph of an explosively clad rifle barrel. The barrel is aluminum and the bonded liner is low alloy gun barrel steel. The aluminum bull barrel weighs less than its similar all-steel counterpart with a sporter profile.
The barrel is the largest, heaviest component of a rifle. Accuracy would significantly benefit from reduction in barrel weight. TPL can offer a barrel weight reduction of 30-50%. Consequently, a 13 lb rifle could be reduced to about 10-11 lbs.
Heat destroys the accuracy of rifles via throat erosion of the chamber to degradation of barrel rifling. TPL offers better thermal conductivity of the heat, away from the barrel chamber and bore. Gas cutting action is reduced. Weapon longevity is enhanced and the cooling period between shots is reduced.
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