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Name: Krista K.
Status: student
Age: 15
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1/29/2004


Question:
What waste gas will be formed when gunpowder is burned?


Replies:
Gunpowder refers to range of mixtures of charcoal (carbon), sulfur, and potassium or sodium nitrate. The products of reaction are complex, but contain the obvious products of CO2, CO, SO2, N2, nitrogen oxides, and probably other compounds as well. Unlike, say nitrocellulose, the reaction products of gunpowder are ill-defined. In fact only about 50% of the products are gaseous. In contrast to explosives that produce a supersonic shock wave, gunpowder is "just" a rapid combustion, that is the expansion of the gases is sub-sonic. If it were not ancient muzzle loaders would detonate in the shooters face rather than accelerating the projectile toward the target. The web site below provides an interesting history of gunpowder and other explosives.

http://www.sportshooter.com/reloading/historygunpowder.htm

Vince Calder



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