Armature-rail instantaneous current-carrying friction in electromagnetic launchers refers to a sliding electric-mechanical impact friction and transition-induced arc erosion on a millisecond time scale. To reveal the electric current (50 to 300 A) effects on friction behavior and wear mechanism, the instantaneous current-carrying friction tests were performed with Al 1060 and Brass H62. Given the short nonlinear friction-induced signals, the friction behavior, including the time-domain information and system state, was comprehensively analyzed via frictional sound pressure (FSP), recurrence plot (RP), and recurrence quantification analysis (RQA). The wear topography was observed, and characterized by the multifractal spectrum. Recurrence analyses demonstrate that as the current increases, the nonstationarity of the system state weakens, and the complexity and unpredictability enhance. Higher currents reduce the FSP amplitude, i.e., enhance the interfacial lubrication effect, but intensify electrical wear and surface roughness. This signifies a wear mechanism transition from abrasive wear and slight adhesive wear to arc ablation, fatigue wear, and severe adhesive wear. The widening spectrum width implies that the irregularity and fluctuation of the topography are enhanced with the current. RP patterns and RQA quantifiers correlate with the wear damage state. The results provide a reference for anti-wear design and online degradation tracking of the rail.

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