Black Powder Essay, Research Paper
Black powder by far has been one of the most remarkable discoveries of this time. It has helped light up our fireworks on the Fourth of July, allowed us to use guns, and to make smoke. The history of black powder is considered to be founded in Italy around the time of the thirteen hundreds. It was supposedly found by the Chinese during this time.Shortly after with the founding of guns, did black powder find fame. This black powder was used to make an explosion causing the bullet inside the gun to fire out. As of late this discovery has come to great use in this country were firearms and fireworks are considered to be the rights of citizens.
One importance is that black powder is probably the best substance that we have for communicating fire and for producing a quick hot flame, and it is for these purposes that it is now principally used in the military art. Standard black powder is used in petards, as a base charge or expelling charge for shrapnel shells, in saluting and blank fire charges, as the bursting charge of practice shells and bombs.
Despite the fact that black powder is called under one name, there are many different forms of black powder. These are merely classified as how strong their reactions are, in other words, the size and power of their reactions. The most typical form of black powder is the mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate. Another form of this powder is known as the brown form, this is a mixture of saltpeter, charcoal, and sulfur. These pieces tend to look like little hexagonal or octagonal milk chocolate pieces. However these can be modified in a way to form a more harsh explosion. This method is known as grading, were powder size is modified to hold a higher concentration of a particular substance. The charcoal used in such black powder is considered to be ash from the wood of a willow. The different types of black powder can be modeled in such ratios such as 6:5:5 or 6:5:2. Any considerable deviation from such formulas produces a powder which burns more slowly or produces less vigorous effects, and different formulas are used for the compounding of powders for blisting and for other special purposes. There are generally 4 grades of black; Fg, FFg, FFFg, and FFFFg. The particle size of Fg is the largest. FFg is the most versatile. It can be used in all CAS guns–shotgun, rifle, and pistol. FFFg is generally used for pistol. FFFFg has the smallest particle size and is used for priming pans in flintlock rifles. In this country blasting powder is generally made from sodium nitrate.
Since it catches fast and hot, it only takes a small spark or static to cause it to explode. The area of the surface of an ordinary grain decreases as the burning advances, the grain becomes smaller and smaller, the rate of production of gas decreases, and the duration of the whole burning depends upon the dimension of the original grain. Large powder grains which allow more time for their burning are used in the larger guns.
This was also worked on and the burning method led to two new improvements. One, the use of multiple perforations in the prismatic grain by f which the burning surface was made actually to increase as the burning progressed, with a resultant acceleration in the rate of production of the gases. Second, the use of the slower-burning cocoa powder, which permitted improvements in gun design.
When reacted the powder has different percentages in which the products are formed in the combustion. It produces 42.98 per cent of its weight of gases, 55.91 per cent solids, and 1.11 per cent water. Those solid included in the overall reaction are
Potassium carbonate, potassium sulfate, potassium nitrate, potassium sulfide, potassium thiocynate, ammonium carbonate, carbon, and sulfer. Gaseous products include Hydrogen, methane, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. One gram of the ‘Powder in the state in which it was normally used, that is, while containing 1.058 per cent of moisture, produced 718.1 calories and 271.3 cc. of permanent gas measured at O’ and 760 mm.
As seen recently, the dangers of black powder add up to be a great sum. That is the reason why it is important to use safe precautions when dealing with it. One spark or static may cause the whole thing to go off. As seen in the recent truck crash, large amounts may be able to take off more than a block of land. It is probably one of the most dangerous explosives aside from dynamite and TNT. But black powder is far more volatile because it doesn’t require a shock from a blasting cap or similar source to set it off. During the removal of the large package of black powder, the police had to evacuate all from the area and go into the wreck with as much caution as possible. Luckily the package that came all the way from Brazil had been crushed during the wreck meaning that it could take a considerable amount of damage, and that very few pieces were thrown askew from the trailer. Since the powder was able to go off at any moment, crews who worked closest to the explosive were dressed in static-free clothing and used grounding materials and brass tools to prevent sparks. Water was sprayed on the container to keep it cool. After the initial forerun of the trailer was made the crew began to move it on out of the hazardous area. However, in most places were black powder is made, only robots and machinery tend to transport the powder do to the possibilities of human error. In this case either a mechanical or human job could have removed the powder away from the danger-zone.