Study on the Reaction Mechanism of Black Powder And Its Applications Ballistics of Firework Shells

ABSTRACT: Black Powder is said to be the oldest explosive. At present, it is one of the most important explosives. However, the burning reaction mechanism of materials in the mixture is still obscure. The purpose of this study is to clarify this mechanism and illustrate some applications of Black Powder.

The burning reaction of Black Powder has been denoted for a long time by various formulae that include potassium carbonate or sulfate, which is found in the ash. The author has endeavored to clarify the formation of such materials during burning, in an effort to shed light on the burning reaction mechanism.

Through his experiments, the author found that potassium carbonate or sulfate is formed not only in the case of Black Powder, but also in the case of mixtures of potassium nitrate and charcoal or potassium nitrate and sulfur. It is clear that the formation of potassium carbonate or sulfate is not peculiar to Black Powder, but to nitrate.

The ash contains both of these substances. The formation reaction takes place not in a gaseous, but rather in a solid or liquid state. Such a reaction would explain the excellent ignition characteristics of Black Powder.

Other applications of the burning reaction mechanism of Black Powder could be found to make ignition of other compounds more effective.

Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of Dr. Takeo Shimizu, Part 2,  pp 45-58

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