Tenney Davis - The chemistry of powder and explosives

Author : Tenney Davis L.
Title : The chemistry of powder and explosives
Year : 1943

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Chapter 1. Properties of explosives. Definition. An explosive is a material, either a pure single substance or a mixture of substances, which is capable of producing an explosion by its own energy. It seems unnecessary to define an explosion, for everyone knows what it is - a loud noise and the sudden going away of things from the place where they have been. Sometimes it may only be the air in the neighborhood of the material or the gas from the explosion which goes away. Our simple definition makes mention of the one single attribute which all explosives possess. It will be necessary to add other ideas to it if we wish to describe the explosive properties of any particular substance. For example, it is not proper to define an explosive as a substance, or a mixture of substances, which is capable of undergoing a sudden transformation with the production of heat and gas. The production of heat alone by the inherent energy of the substance which produces it will be enough to constitute the substance an explosive. Cuprous acetylide explodes by decomposing into copper and carbon and heat, no gas whatever, but the sudden heat causes a sudden expansion of the air in the neighborhood, and the result is an unequivocal explosion. All explosive substances produce heat; nearly all of them produce gas. The change is invariably accompanied by the liberation of energy. The products of the explosion represent a lower energy level than did the explosive before it had produced the explosion. Explosives commonly require some stimulus, like a blow or a spark, to provoke them to liberate their energy, that is, to undergo the change which produces the explosion, but the stimulus which "sets off" the explosive does not contribute to the energy of the explosion. ...

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