Electrothermal Propellant (or, more properly electrothermal-chemical propulsion) is an advanced system of firearm operation in which the chemical propellant is burned in a plasma flame rather than combusted/exploded as in a conventional system. This gives a more reliable combustion pattern and a smoother, better controlled energy transfer to the round and overall is expected to produce more power for the same mass of propellant and less stress on the weapon.
This is currently demonstrator level technology, under development to improve performance - all current examples are ordnance level weapons, but future examples might include small arms. Other possibilities include moving from solid to liquid or gaseous propellants and tying in with propellant reservoir weapon concepts. This might also lead to caseless ammunition.
Game and Story Use
- A useful tech advance twenty minutes into the future - good for getting you the much sought after caseless round.
- Also good for explaining that whining noise just before weapons open fire in Firefly - it's the capacitor system building up a plasma shot.