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COPYRIGHT, 1906, 1910, 1912, 1917, 








EXHAUSTION of the third edition of these " Notes on Military 
Explosives " has given an opportunity to bring them up-to- 
date and to include such changes bearing upon the manufacture, 
use, storage, and transportation of military explosives as have 
developed during the last four years. It has particularly given 
the opportunity to introduce certain changes that have developed 
in connection with the European war. The more important 
of these latter changes have been the substitution of wood pulp 
for cotton in the manufacture of the nitrocellulose explosives, 
and the fixation of the nitrogen of the air by the three separate 
processes which are now iployed. Both of these important 
changes have been due to the ingenuity, cleverness, and skill 
of the German chemists. Generally speaking, there have been 
no new explosives introduced, and it would seem that in the 
matter of explosives the field is limited, apparently somewhat 
definitely, to the nitrocellulose series, the' nitroglycerin series, 
the nitrobenzene series, the alkaline-metallic nitrate mixtures, 
and to a combination of two or more of these with the others. 
The great propellent explosive for guns continues to be nitro- 
cellulose, alone or in combination with nitroglycerin. The 
explosive for charging shells appears to have been quite defin- 
itely reduced to picric acid or some derivative thereof; that for 
submarine mines and torpedoes to trinitrotoluol or guncotton. 
As to the old nitrate mixtures, they appear to be limited to hand 
grenades, rockets, and pyrotechnics. 

There has been inserted in the appendix of this edition a 
discussion of " The Role of Chemistry in the War " by Allerton 
S. Cushman, Ph. D., Director of the Institute of Industrial 



Research, Washington, D. C. ; which sets forth better than any- 
thing that has come to the attention of the author, the basic 
chemical action of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen 
in all explosives. 

The regulations of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 
regard to the transportation of explosives having been revised 
during the last few years, the new regulations are substituted 
in the appendix for the old. 

It is desired to make acknowledgments to the following 
individuals for assistance in the collection of new material and 
in the modifications introduced into this edition: Lieut. Col. 
Wirt Robinson, Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology, 
at the United States Military Academy, who has very kindly 
gone over the notes of Chapter I, Principles of Chemistry, 
and has made a number of recommendations in regard to changes 
therein which have been adopted; to the Chief of Ordnance, 
U. S. Army, for recent data in regard to powders, shell fillers, 
and methods of testing and storing explosives; to the President 
of the Army War College, Washington, D. C., for information 
of a general character in regard to recent data pertaining to 
military explosives as furnished by the files of the information 
division of the War College; to Professor F. W. Clarke of the 
Geological Survey, Washington, D. C., for information in regard 
to recent changes in atomic weights; to Major George A. 
Nugent, Coast Artillery Corps, for valuable suggestions in regard 
to changes in these Notes; to Mr. B. H. Meyer, Chairman of 
the Interstate Commerce Commission, Washington, D. C., for 
the revised regulations of the Commission governing the trans- 
portation of explosives; and to my secretary, Mr. S. W. Sower- 
butts, for valuable clerical assistance and for suggestions in 
regard to the arrangement of these Notes. 


November 20, 1916. 
































TESTS 81e 

































(6) GUNCOTTON 185 











ARMS 207 












































1. Before entering upon a study of explosives it is desir- 
able that some knowledge be had of the fundamental chemical 
principles involved in the composition of explosive substances 
and in the changes which take place in connection with explosive 
phenomena. To this end a brief review will be given of the 
simple chemical laws, the system of notation, the meaning of 
chemical reactions, the relations of volumes and weights in 
these reactions, and problems arising thereunder. 

Forms of Matter. 

2. As a foundation, it is well to have some conception of 
the forms of matter as generally conceived at the present time. 
With this in view it is convenient to consider matter as 
occurring in the three following forms : 

(a) In the mass; including all aggregations from the smallest 
quantity perceptible to our senses to the great masses 
of the heavenly bodies. 

(6) In the molecule; which is defined to be that portion of 
a substance which has reached the limit of subdivision 
by physical means; that smallest portion of a given 
mass of a substance which, in a progressive process 
of subdivision, would retain all and only the properties 
of the substanee. If by any means a further sub- 
division be effected, some or all of the properties of 
the substance would be changed. 

(c) In the atom; which is the smallest portion of any given 
kind of simple matter that has been differentiated 
in scientific investigations by reasoning processes. 1 

3. The atom is the ultimate unit of matter so far as known; * 

1 As a result of investigations consequent on the discovery of radium 
and the properties of other radio-active substances, a new theory of the 


the molecule is an aggregation of atoms; the mass, or body, is 
an aggregation of molecules. 

4. A body may be homogeneous, like a piece of copper or 
salt, or heterogeneous, like a piece of granite. Homogeneous 
bodies contain only one kind of matter; heterogeneous, more 
than one kind; granite, for example, is made up of three kinds 
of matter called, respectively, feldspar, quartz, and mica. 

5. Homogeneous matter implies only similarity of the mole- 
cules; it is made up of similar molecules. With similar mole- 
cules there would of course, from the definition of a molecule, 
be similar physical properties throughout the mass. 

6. It is known that molecules are of two kinds also: those 
made up of atoms of the same kind and those made up of atoms 
of different kinds. The former are called elementary molecules; 
the latter, compound molecules. 

constitution of matter has been enunciated. According to this theory, the 
atom of any elementary substance is made up of particles charged with nega- 
tive electricity, suspended throughout a larger mass charged with positive 
electricity. The number of negative particles and the resulting attractions 
and repulsions between the charged negative and positive masses determine 
the constitution of the atom. The negative particles are called corpuscles, 
and the theory, from these, is called the corpuscular theory of matter. Since 
the atom is ordinarily neutral, the quantity of negative charge must equal the 
quantity of positive charge. The mass of a corpuscle is constant, and is 
computed to be about y^Vu f the mass of the hydrogen atom. Assuming the 
corpuscle to be a sphere, its radius is computed to be about 10~ 13 cm., and 
its ratio to the radius of the hydrogen atom about 10" 8 . The masses posi- 
tively charged appear to vary; the smallest, however, is at least equal to 
the hydrogen atom. 

The foregoing theory is that as enunciated by J. J. Thomson. A recent 
modification of this theory by Sir Ernest Rutherford contemplates that the 
positive electricity is not diffused, as in Thomson's theory, but concentrated 
in a central nucleus which is surrounded by rings of electrons; 50 of these 
rings .mean 50 charges. Experiments show that this nucleus must be ex- 
ceedingly small, 10~ 12 cm. in diameter, the orbit diameter of the rings being 
10~ 8 cm. Thomson's theory contemplates an extended positive nucleus, 
within which the electrons revolve in Saturnian orbits; Rutherford's theory, 
of an extremely small concentrated nucleus with electrons in planetary or 
Saturnian orbits. Two facts seem to be generally accepted: (1) All atoms 
contain electrons as part of their constitution; of these electrons the atoms 
may lose a certain number without altering their chemical identity, while 
the loss of other sets change them into different elements; this is certainly 
true for radio-active elements, and the law probably extends to all the ele- 
ments. (2) There exist also positively-charged nuclei associated with the 
atomic mass, containing multiples of the fundamental electric charge, and 
the chemical nature of the element seems to be determined by this multiple 


7. Homogeneous bodies made up of the same elementary 
molecules are called elements; if made up of compound mole- 
cules, they are called compounds. 

8. Any body will be either (1) homogeneous and an element 
or a compound, or (2) heterogeneous, made up of different ele- 
ments or compounds, or a mixture of these two classes; this 
form of matter is also called a mixture. 

9. More than eighty elements have been isolated; that is, 
so far as known at present there are at least this number of 
different atoms. Future investigations may discover new ele- 
ments, or disclose that some now thought to be elements are 

Properties of Atoms. 

10. The atom of each element has its own proper weight, 
which is different from the weight of any other atom. The 
lightest known atom is that of the element Hydrogen; the 
weights of all other atoms are expressed in terms of the weight 
of the hydrogen atom as a unit. 

11. The elements are grouped into two classes, namely: 

(1) The metals; those possessing properties like copper, 

iron, gold, etc. 

(2) The non-metals; those possessing properties like carbon 

(charcoal, graphite, diamond), sulphur, phosphorus, 

12. The following are the names of the most important 
elements, and opposite each name is placed the weight of its 
atom to the nearest unit in terms of the hydrogen atom. 


Name. At. Wt. Symbol. Valency. 

1. Potassium 39 K' (Kalium) I. 

2. Sodium 23 Na' (Natrium) I. 

3. Barium 136 Ba" II. 

4. Strontium 87 Sr" II. 

5. Calcium 40 Ca" II. 

6. Magnesium 24 Mg" II. 

7. Aluminum 27 Al'" III. 

8. Zinc.. 65 Zn" II. 


METALS Continued. 

Name. At. Wt. SymboL Valency. 

9. Nickel 58 Ni"/'" II or III. 

10. Cobalt 59 Co"/"' II or III. 

11. Iron 56 Fe"/'" (Ferrum) II or III. 

12. Manganese 55 Mn'Viv II O r IV. 

13. Chromium 52 Cr'"/vi HI O r VI. 

14. Copper 63 Cu'/" (Cuprum) I or II. 

15. Lead 205 Pb" (Plumbum) II. 

16. Tin 118 Sn'Viv (Stannum) II or IV. 

17. Tungsten 183 Wvi (Wolframium) VI. 

18. Antimony 119 Sb"'/v (Stibium) III or V. 

19. Mercury 199 HgV" (Hydrargyrum) [I or II. 

20. Silver 107 Ag' (Argentum) I. 

21. Gold 196 Au"' (Aurum) III. 

22. Platinum 194 Pf'/iv II O r IV. 


1. Oxygen 16 O" l II. 

2. Hydrogen 1 H' I. 

3. Nitrogen 14 N'"/v III or V. 

4. Carbon 12 -Dv IV. 

5. Silicon 28 Si iv IV. 

6. Sulphur 32 S" II. 

7. Phosphorus 31 P'"/v HI O r V. 

8. Chlorine 35 Cl' I. 

9.- Iodine 126 I' I. 

10. Bromine 79 Br' I. 

11. Fluorine 19 F' I. 

13. These twenty-two metals and eleven non-metals, either 
separately or in combination, make up more than ninety per 
cent of all known matter. The weights of these atoms are 
the constants in all chemical computations in which they enter. 

14. Besides weight, atoms possess another important prop- 
erty. They have mutual attractions for the same kind and for 

1 As to the standard for atomic weights, some chemists prefer to take the 
weight of the oxygen atom as the standard, calling it 16, instead of that of 
the hydrogen atom, unity. The reason for this is that oxygen forms a 
greater number of compounds, and they are susceptible of more exact analysis 
than many of the hydrogen compounds. An uncertainty exists as to the ratio 
between the atomic weights of H andO. Late determinations make = 15.8 
when H = l, or H = 1.008 when O = 16. The International Atomic Weights 
for the year 1917 on the latter basis are given in the Appendix, page 372. 


certain different kinds of atoms. The intensity of these attrac- 
tions vary for different atoms, but, like the weights, are always 
constant for the same atom. This attraction existing among 
atoms is called affinity, or chemical affinity. Just as gravity or 
weight is a property of matter in mass, by means of which 
bodies fall to the earth, so affinity is a property of atoms, by 
means of which they come together and combine, when released 
from one set of conditions in a molecule, to form a new set in 
a new molecule. Atoms do not as a rule exist separately in 
nature; if free, they will associate themselves either with atoms 
of the same kind or with atoms of a different kind, forming 
thereby the elementary and compound molecules described 

15. Atoms have still another important property. In the 
molecules formed by the action of the so-called force of affinity, 
as described in the last paragraph, it is found that one atom 
requires one, two, three, and so on, atoms of other elements to 
combine with it to form molecules. This property of atoms 
which determines the relative number of atoms, in any case, that 
enter into chemical combination in forming molecules is called 

1 6. Elements are classified according to the valency of their 
respective atoms. The valency of the hydrogen atom is taken 
as the unit of valency. 

17. There are certain atoms that do not combine with the 
hydrogen atom. The valency of the atoms of elements whose 
atoms do not combine directly with the hydrogen atom is 
determined through their combination with the atom of some 
element that does combine with the hydrogen atom. Thus: 
the lead atom and the zinc atom do not combine with the hydro- 
gen atom, but all three of these atoms combine separately with 
the oxygen atom, and from this fact the relative valencies of the 
lead and zinc atoms may be obtained with respect to hydrogen. 

18. An element whose atom has the same combining power 
(valency) as the hydrogen atom, that is, combines atom for 
atom with the hydrogen atom or its equivalent, is said to be 


univalent, or is called a monad. An element whose atom has 
twice the combining power of the hydrogen atom, that is, will 
combine with two atoms of hydrogen, or two atoms of any 
univalent element, is said to be bivalent, or is called a dyad. 
An element whose atom has three times the valency of the 
hydrogen atom is said to be trivaknt, or is called a triad, and 
so on. The degree of valency is represented by small ticks or 
Roman numerals placed to the right and above the atomic sym- 
bol, thus : H', 0", N'", C IV (see table, pages 3 and 4, for valencies) . 


19. For convenience, atoms are represented in chemistry 
by symbols. These symbols are the initial letters of the ordinary 
or Latin names of the elements, or the initial and one other 
letter selected therefrom. These symbols are also often used 
as abbreviations of the name of the element. These two uses 
should be kept distinctly in the mind. In all chemical equa- 
tions and computations the symbols represent definitely the 
weights of atoms. The symbols of the more important ele- 
ments will be found in the table on pages 3 and 4. 

20. A single atom is represented by the simple symbol. 
Thus: one atom of hydrogen, H; one atom of calcium, Ca; 
one atom of lead, Pb. 

21. Two or more atoms may be represented either by placing 
the number as a coefficient in front of the symbol, or writing 
it as a subscript to the right and below. Thus: two atoms of 
oxygen, 20 or 02; three atoms of iron, 3Fe or Fes. 

22. An elementary molecule composed of two atoms would 
be indicated as explained in the last paragraph. Thus, the 
molecule of nitrogen contains two atoms; it is represented by 
N2. The molecule of phosphorus contains four atoms; its 
molecule would be expressed by ?4. 

23. A compound molecule is represented by writing the 
symbol of each element which enters it side by side, and giving 
to each symbol a numeral subscript to indicate the number of 
atoms of each element. Thus: the molecule of sulphuric acid 


is known to contain two atoms of hydrogen, one atom of sul- 
phur, and four atoms of oxygen; it would be represented in 
symbolic notation by H 2 S04. In the same way, the molecule 
of alcohol is known to contain two atoms of carbon, six atoms 
of hydrogen, and one atom of oxygen; its molecular symbol 
would be C2H 6 0. The group of symbols used to represent a 
compound molecule is called the formula of the compound, or 
the molecular formula of the compound. 

24. In case two or more molecules of the same compound 
are considered, the proper coefficient is placed before the symbol, 
or a parenthesis may be placed about the symbol and the 
number of molecules indicated by a numeral subscript. Thus: 
two molecules of sulphuric acid, 2H 2 S0 4 or (H 2 S0 4 )2; three 
molecules of alcohol, 3C 2 H 6 or (C 2 H 6 0) 3 . 


25. These symbols are made use of in chemical writings in 
indicating the changes which take place when chemically inter- 
active substances are brought together under conditions which 
excite or permit interaction among their constituents. This is 
done by representing the substances which are brought together 
by their proper symbols, writing the sign plus ( + ) between the 
symbols of the separate substances used, writing the equality 
sign (=) after the last substance used, then writing, in the 
same way, the symbols of the substances resulting from the 
chemical combinations which have taken place. That is, the 
form of an equation is made use of to abbreviate the description 
that would otherwise be necessary. For example, the fact that 
58 parts by weight of common salt (symbol NaCl) mixed with 
63 parts of nitric acid (symbol HN0 3 ) produces 85 parts of 
sodium nitrate (symbol NaN0 3 ) and 36 parts of hydrochloric 
acid (symbol HC1) would be represented thus: 

NaCl + HN0 3 - NaN0 3 + HC1. 

Such an equation is only a means to abbreviate the description 
of chemical changes by using symbols. It is called a reac- 


tion. The substances on the left of the equality sign are called 
reagents] those on the right, products. 

26. It should be kept clearly in mind that such equations 
are quite different from algebraic equations. No mathematical 
operations can be performed with them. They simply express 
the fact that the substances on the left of the equality sign will 
produce those on the right. The total numbers of each kind 
of atom and the total weights must, of course, be the same on 
each side; in this sense, only, are reactions equations. 

27. There are three kinds of reactions, namely, analytical, 
synthetical, metathetical. An analytical reaction involves a dis- 
integration of a compound, separating the constituent elements, 
or reducing it to simpler chemical forms. For example, lime- 
stone is a compound of carbon, oxygen, and calcium, and if a 
piece of limestone be heated, some of the carbon and oxygen 
will pass off, in combination, as a gas, leaving the calcium and 
the rest of the oxygen in combination. This reaction may be 
represented as follows: 

CaC0 3 + heat - CaO + C0 2 

Limestone Lime Carbonic- 

acid gas. 

A synthetical reaction involves a combination of elements 
or compounds and the formation of substances of a more com- 
plex nature than the original ones. Thus, if sulphur be heated 
to a high temperature in an atmosphere of oxygen, the oxygen 
and sulphur will combine, forming a sulphur-oxygen compound. 
The reaction would be represented as follows : 

If this compound be mixed with water, a new compound is 
formed, the reaction being represented as follows: 

A metathetical reaction involves the interchange of atoms 
between two substances, or the displacement of one element 


in a compound by a single separate Element or a group of ele- 
ments. Thus, if a solution of common salt (sodium chloride) 
be treated with a solution of silver nitrate, the sodium of the 
salt and the silver of the nitrate will exchange places, giving 
silver chloride and sodium nitrate, the reaction being repre- 
sented as follows: 

NaCl + AgN0 3 = AgCl + NaN0 3 . 

Again, if metallic zinc be immersed in hydrochloric acid, 
the zinc will displace the hydrogen of the acid, the reaction 
being represented as follows : 


28. There are certain rules followed in the naming of the 
elements and compounds which may be briefly stated as follows : 

29. The more recently discovered metals have names ending 
in urn, and some of the more recently discovered non-metals 
have names ending in ine. Examples: metals sodium, 
ferrum; non-metals chlorine, iodine. 

30. Compounds composed of two elements are called binary 
compounds. Such compounds are written with the symbol of 
the non-metal or the more non-metallic element last, and the 
name of the compound is given by the name of the first element 
followed by the name of -the second element with the ending 
ide. Thus: common salt is a compound of the metal sodium 
and the non-metal chlorine; its symbol would be written thus, 
NaCl, and its name is given by the name of the metal followed 
by the name of the non-metal, replacing the ending ine by 
ide, making the full name of the binary sodium chloride. 
In the same way, FeO is iron oxide; NO, nitrogen oxide; CO, 
carbon oxide. 

31. The combination of oxygen with another element fol- 
lows this nomenclature rule, forming a large class of binary 
compounds called "oxides." Oxygen combines with a great 


many elements, some metallic and others non-metallic; 1 the 
resulting binary compounds constitute two distinct classes of 
oxides. These two classes have distinct properties, and are 
called, respectively, the metallic or basic oxides and the non- 
metallic or acid oxides. 

32. The terms base and basic, acid and acidic have im- 
portant meanings in chemistry. They are suggestive of the 
manner in which the force of affinity will act in any particular 
case. Bases and acids are the opposites in chemical action. 
A substance that possesses basic properties suggests chemical 
union with a substance possessing acidic properties. The ten- 
dency of bases and acids to combine depends on their strengths 
as bases and acids; the strongest or most pronounced bases 
have the greatest tendency to unite chemically with the strongest 
acids. As the two classes bases and acids approach each 
other in the scale of chemical affinity, the tendency to unite is 
less marked. Difference of chemical affinity is, as it were, a 
difference of chemical potential. As difference of electrical 
potential suggests capacity for electrical work, so the relative 
basic or acidic properties of substances suggest capacity for 
chemical combination. 

33. Speaking generally, the result of the combination of 
basic and acidic substances is a third class of substances called 
salts. Many salts possess neither basic nor acidic properties: 
they are the chemical neutrals; such represent zero difference 
of chemical potential under the particular conditions. 

34. There are simple tests to determine whether certain 
particular substances are basic, acidic, or neutral. A substance 
that is chemically active as an acid will turn blue litmus red; 
one that is chemically active as a base will turn reddened litmus 
blue. A salt that is perfectly neutral will have no effect on 
either red or blue litmus. There are other color tests for acids 
and bases, and, of course, the whole range of chemical reactions 
to determine the basic, acidic, or neutral properties of sub- 

1 See Experiments Nos. 1 and 3. 


stances and the degree thereof, but the litmus test is sufficient 
for the limits of these notes. 

35. The principles given in paragraphs 32 and 33 give rise 
to a general classification of substances into bases, acids, and 

36. There are other rules governing the naming of com- 
pounds which may be introduced here. 

37. Both prefixes and suffixes are resorted to to specify par- 
ticular compounds. For example, nitrogen combines with 
oxygen in several proportions, forming separate oxides; these 
may be written as follows : 

1. N20 Nitrogen monoxide. 

2. N 2 2 Nitrogen dioxide. 

3. N 2 3 Nitrogen Jnoxide. 

4. N 2 4 Nitrogen tetroxide. 

5. N 2 5 Nitrogen pentoxide. 

They are designated by using the prefixes mon-, di-, tri-, tetra-, 
and pent- before the word oxide, as indicated above. 

38. Binary compounds in which there are three atoms of the 
second element to two atoms of the first element may be desig- 
nated by the prefix sesqui- placed before the second with its 
proper ending. Thus, N 2 3 is nitrogen sesquioxide ; Fe 2 3 is 
iron sesquioxide; Sb 2 S 3 is antimony sesquisulphide. 

39. The suffixes -ous and -ic are used after the first element 
of a binary compound to indicate which of two compounds is 
meant, in cases where but two compounds are formed between 
the two elements considered, or in cases where there are several 
and two are more important. Thus : sulphur forms two princi- 
pal oxides, namely, S0 2 and S0 3 ; the first, or lower, degree of 
oxidation takes the suffix -ous, being called sulphurous oxide 
(or sulphur dioxide); the second, or higher, oxide takes the 
suffix -ic and is called sulphuric oxide (or sulphur trioxide). 
Also, iron forms three oxides, FeO, Fe 2 3 , and Fe 3 4 ; the first 
is called f err 01*5 oxide, and the second ferric oxide. 


40. The prefix hypo- is sometimes used before a compound 
to indicate a still lower degree of oxidation than the -ous. Thus, 
there is a /ii/posulphurous acid which contains less oxygen than 
sulphurous acid. 

41. The prefix hyper- is similarly used before compounds to 
indicate a higher oxidation; and the prefix per- to indicate the 
highest degree of oxidation. Thus Fe 3 4 above is the peroxide 
of iron, or iron peroxide. 

42. While these uses of prefixes and suffixes are explained 
for oxides only, they may be used also in the case of other 
compounds; in all cases they indicate the degree of combina- 
tion of the non-metallic element. Thus, mercury has two 
chlorides, HgCl and HgCl 2 . The former is mercury mono- 
chloride, or mercurows chloride; the latter is mercury bichloride, 
or mercuric chloride, or mercury perchloride. 

43. Instead of using the metal or more metallic element as 
an adjective and the rion-metal or more non-metallic element 
as a noun, it is just as correct to use the prepositional phrase 
equivalent. For example, instead of nitrogen dioxide, the dioxide 
of nitrogen; instead of mercury perchloride, the perchloride of 
mercury, etc. 

44. The prefix proto- is used to indicate the lowest combi- 
nation with the non-metallic element; thus, HgCl above is 
sometimes called the protochloride of mercury, PbO, the prot- 
oxide of lead, etc. 

45. Many of the acid oxides, like S0 2 , S0 3 , C0 2 , N 2 5 , etc., 
unite with water, H 2 0, forming a class of compounds known 
as oxyacids. 1 These possess in a marked degree acid properties, 
combining readily with bases to form salts. 

46. Oxides which thus unite with water to form oxyacids 
are sometimes called acid anhydrides, or simply anhydrides. 

47. The oxyacids are designated by the same suffixes as the 
acid oxides which form them; thus, sulphurous oxide (S0 2 ) 
forms sulphurous acid, and sulphuric oxide (S0 3 ) forms sul- 
phuric acid, etc. This may be represented by reactions thus: 

1 See Experiment No. 5. 


50 2 + H 2 = H 2 S0 3 

Sulphurous Water Sulphurous 

oxide acid 

50 3 + H 2 = H 2 S0 4 

Sulphuric Water Sulphuric 

oxide acid 

48. The salts formed from acids having the -ous suffix are 
designated by the suffix -ite. 1 Thus, salts formed from sulphur- 
ous acid are called sulphites; from nitrous acid, nitrites, etc. 

49. The salts formed from acids having the -ic suffix are 
designated by the suffix -ate? Thus, salts formed from sul- 
phuric acid are called sulphates; from nitric acid, nitrates; from 
carbonic acid, carbonates, etc. 

50. There is another class of acids which do not contain 
oxygen. These are called hydracids 3 They contain only hy- 
drogen and some non-metal. Such acids are HC1, called 
hydrochloric acid, and H 2 S, called sulphydric acid. 

51. The salts formed from hydracids take names according 
to the binary rule; 4 salts from HC1 are called chlorides; from 
sulphydric acid, sulphides. 

52. Both oxy acids and hydracids contain hydrogen, and 
the fundamental characteristic and most important chemical 
property of these acids is that they will often exchange all or 
a portion of the hydrogen they contain for a metal, whether the 
metal be alone* or in combination with other elements, 4 forming 
thereby salts. 

53. The term basicity is used with respect to acids to indi- 
cate the number of hydrogen atoms which are replaceable by 
a metal or equivalent in chemical union. Thus, H 2 S0 4 is a 
bibasic acid, HC1 is monobasic, etc., since in the former two 
atoms of hydrogen are replaceable by a metal or equivalent, 
and in the latter there is but one atom to be so replaced. 

54. Some of the common acids are indicated by the follow- 
ing names and formulas of their molecules : 

1 See Experiment No. 10. 3 See Experiment No. 6. 

2 See Experiment No, 11. 4 See Experiment No. 7. 



Hydrochloric.... HC1 Sulphydric. . . H 2 S 

Nitrous HN0 2 Sulphurous. . . H 2 S0 3 

Nitric HN0 3 Sulphuric. . . . H 2 S0 4 

Carbonic H 2 C0 3 

Hydric H 2 (see par. 58). 

55. Acids may be graded, according to their respective 
avidities, with respect to nitric acid as a standard. The term 
avidity is used to indicate the proportion of a base that any 
given acid will combine with, when chemically equivalent 
quantities 1 of the given acid and nitric acid are mixed separately, 
with a solution of a given base. Any base may be used. The 
avidities of the three standard acids at ordinary temperatures 
have been established as follows: HN0 3 =1; H 2 S0 4 = 0.5; 
HC1=1. That is, in solutions of equal concentration HC1 and 
HNOa are stronger acids than H 2 S0 4 . But if heat be applied, 
the greater volatility of the first two will enable H 2 S0 4 to dis- 
place them from salts. 

56. A bibasic acid may form three kinds of salts, depending 
on whether all of the hydrogen or a portion only is replaced, 
and whether one or two metals are used. These salts are named 
as follows: 

Acid salt, when only half the hydrogen is replaced. 2 
Normal salt, when all of the hydrogen is replaced and by 

one 3 metal. 

Double salt, when all of the hydrogen is replaced and by two 


H 2 S0 4 


+ Na 


NaHS0 4 +H 2 

Acid sodium 

H 2 S0 4 


+ Na 2 

Twice as 
much sodium 

Na 2 S0 4 +H 2 

Normal sodium 

H 2 S0 4 


+ Na + K = 

Sodium and t 

NaKS0 4 +H 2 

Double sodium- 

1 See Par. 75. 2 See (a), Experiment No. 10. * See (6), same experiment. 


57. Compounds containing three different elements are 
called ternary compounds; e.g., H 2 S0 4 ; those containing four 
different elements are called quaternary compounds; e.g., 
NaKS0 4 ; etc. 

58. The principal basic substances are the metallic oxides l 
and another group of substances called hydroxides. Oxygen 
combines with hydrogen in two proportions: first, one atom 
of oxygen to two atoms of hydrogen, forming water; and, 
secondly, one atom of oxygen to one atom of hydrogen, forming 
hydroxyl. Water exists in nature as a stable liquid; hydroxyl 
does not exist separately in nature, only in combination with 
some metal or other chemical equivalent. In the table of acids 
on page 14 it is to be noted that water is classed as an acid. It 
comes under this classification only in that it has the property 
of exchanging its hydrogen for certain metals. (It is neutral 
to blue litmus and has no other characteristic acid property.) 
The most important of these metals in a chemical sense are 
potassium, sodium, lithium, ccesium, rubidium; especially the first 
two. These act on water directly to decompose it, displacing 
one of the two hydrogen atoms, 2 thus: 

2H 2 + K 2 = 2KHO + H 2 

Water Metallic Potassium Free 

potassium hydroxide hydrogen 

The oxides of these metals form hydroxides, as follows: 
K 2 + H 2 0=2KHO, 

without giving off free hydrogen. 

59. Metallic oxides which combine with water to form 
hydroxides are sometimes called basic anhydrides. 

60. The rule for writing and naming oxides applies to 

1 The oxides of the metals as a rule neutralize acids, forming salts, and 
behave in this way as bases. There are some few metallic oxides like SnO., and 
Sb.,O 5 , which are "anhydrides," forming acids with water. No non-metallic 
oxide is known to have basic properties. There is another class of oxides, both 
metallic and non-metallic, which are neutral, such as water (H ? O), and the 
black oxide of manganese, MnO 2 . But the general rule is that metallic 
oxides are basic and non-metallic oxides are acid. 

2 See (a), Experiment No. 2. 


hydroxides. HO is written after the metal and the ending 
ide- is used; thus, KHO is potassium hydroxide, or hydroxide 
of potassium. 

61. The hydroxides of the metals named in paragraph 58 
constitute a group of the strongest bases and are called alkalies. 
One other hydroxide is included in the alkalies, namely, 
ammonium hydroxide, NH 4 (HO). 

62. A second group of hydroxides, formed by the direct 
action of metals or their oxides on water, 1 are those known 
as the alkaline earths. These are the hydroxides of calcium, 
Ca(HO)2,' barium, Ba(HO)2; strontium, Sr(HO)2; and mag- 
nesium, Mg(HO) 2 . These rank next to the alkalies in strength 
as bases. 

63. The hydroxides of other metals cannot be formed 
directly by the action of the metals or their oxides on water. 2 
They are formed by combining one of the alkalies or alkaline 
earths in solution with a solution of some soluble salt of the 
metal. Thus, zinc hydroxide may be formed by mixing a 
solution of zinc chloride with a solution of potassium hydroxide, 
the reaction being represented thus : 

ZnCl 2 + 2KHO = Zn(HO) 2 + 2KC1 

Zinc- Potassium- Zinc- Potassium- 

chloride hydroxide hydroxide chloride 

solution solution solid solution 

64. In general and for the purposes of these notes, it may 
therefore be said that substances may be classified chemically 
as follows: 

f Oxides of the non-metals (acid oxides) . 
, ., I Oxy acids (union of acid oxides with water). 

I Hydracids (union of hydrogen with certain non- 

l metals, but not oxygen). 

r Oxides of the metals (basic oxides) . 
Bases. \ Hydroxides (union of basic oxide or metal with 

I water) . 
Salts. Neutral substances resulting from the combination 

of acids and bases. 


1 See (6), Experiment No. 2. 2 See (c), Experiment No. 2. 



65. It has been stated that oxygen may be considered as 
existing in combination with hydrogen in chemical substances 
in the proportion of one atom of oxygen to one atom of hydro- 
gen, HO, and that the name hydroxyl has been given to this 
particular combination. It should be understood here that 
there is no substance in nature existing separately, having 
the molecular formula HO. The oxides of hydrogen which 
do so exist are H 2 02 and H 2 0. The assumption of its 
existence is made because, in the chemical changes which 
take place in the formation and decomposition of the class 
of hydroxides the proportions of hydrogen and oxygen 
represented by HO are found invariably associated together. 
Groups of atoms which are found thus to persist together 
throughout chemical reactions are called compound radicals, 
or often simply radicals. (The atoms of the elements are 
the " elementary radicals") Often such groups are written 
either inclosed in parentheses or pointed off by periods 
thus: K.HO or K(HO); Zn(HO) 2 ; Ca(HO) 2 . There are 
many possible groupings of atoms, but only those which are 
found to exist in chemical analysis and synthesis are legitimate 

66. Compound radicals are considered to have valencies the 
same as atoms of elements. Hydroxyl, for example, is univalent 
and will combine with only one univalent atom or another 
univalent compound radical. Other important compound radi- 
cals are : 

Amidogen NH 2 ', valency 1. 

Methyl CH 3 ', valency 1. 

Carbonyl CO", valency 2. 

Nitroxyl or nitryl N0 2 ', valency 1. 

Cyanogen CN', valency 1. 

67. Compound radicals have basic or acid properties or 
are neutral, the same as elementary radicals. Radicals com- 
posed of the two elements carbon and hydrogen only, are 


usually basic; if oxygen is also present, the radical is usually 

68. Basic radicals, whether compound or elementary, are 
electropositive; acid, electronegative. 1 

Graphic Formulas. 

69. The valency of atoms and compound molecules, and 
the manner in which the units of valency in any molecule are 
satisfied or grouped, are often represented graphically by join- 
ing together the symbols with small lines, each line representing 
a unit of valency. Thus, for 

Hydrochloric acid, H'Cl', we may write H Cl 
Water, H 2 '0", " " " H H 

Ammonia, H 3 'N'", " " " H-N-H 


Marsh-gas, H 4 'C' V " " " H-C-H 


The manner in which valency is satisfied by such graphic 
formulas may be understood better, perhaps, by imagining 
each atom, as represented by its symbol, to have bonds or 
hooks extending from it, and each bond or hook having capacity 
for engaging with a free bond or hook of another atom. Sup- 
pose, for example, that the H's, in the above formulas, are 
connected with the other bonds or hooks as indicated by the 
lines between the letters. 

The hooks linking, or the bonds attaching them together, 
in a measure represent the idea involved in " satisfying " units 
of valency. Such formulas are called graphic or structural for- 
mulas. They merely indicate how valency may be supposed to 
be satisfied in combinations. They do not represent the rela- 
tive positions of atoms in molecules. 

'This fact has a bearing on the corpuscular theory of matter (see note 
bottom of page 2) . 


70. When all the units of valency are satisfied, as in the 
groups in paragraph 69, the molecule is said to be saturated. 

71. Elements whose atoms have an even number of units of 
valency are called artiads; those whose atoms have an odd 
number of units of valency are called perissads. In any sat- 
urated molecule the sum of the perissad atoms is always even. 
This is the law of even numbers. 

72. An unsaturated molecule is one having one or more 
units of valency unsatisfied. The compound radicals in para- 
graph 66 are unsaturated. The free units of valency and the 
consequent combining power of these radicals respectively 
may be determined by writing out their graphic formulas, thus: 


N'"H 2 ', H N , one free unit; H N H, ammonia. 

i A 

H H 

I I 

C IV H 3 ', H C , one free unit; H C H, marsh-gas. 

H H 

C IV 0", 0=C=, two free units; 0=C 0, carbon dioxide. 

N'"0 2 , N , one free unit; N H, nitrous acid. 

\l \l 

C IV N'", C , one free unit; C H. hydrocvanic acid. 

Ill III 

N N 

73. If valency be a definite property of atoms, it is neces- 
sary to account for what appear to be variations in valency, or 
variable valency. Thus, it is known that chlorine has but one 
unit of valency, yet tin and mercury unite in two proportions 
with chlorine, as follows: 

1. SnCl 2 

2. SnCl 4 

3. HgCl 

4. HgCl 2 


In 1, Sn has a valency of II; in 2, of IV; in 3, Hg has a valency 
of I; in 2, of II. 

The question arises, How can such variations as these be 
reconciled with a constant atomic property? The use of 
graphic formulas may assist in explaining such seeming con- 

If the graphic formulas of the compounds referred to be 
written as follows, all units of valency are satisfied, and in each 
case there is the proper proportion by weight and constant val- 
ency for each atom. For SnCl 2 we may write Sn 2 Cl 4 or (SnCl 2 )2, 
preserving the proportions by weight; that is, consider two 
molecules instead of one molecule to be involved in the condition 
of saturation. The graphic formula for this condition would 
be, assuming Sn to have a valency of IV, the highest : 

Cl Sn Cl 

Cl Sn Cl 

and for SnCl 4 the graphic formula would be 


Cl Sn Cl 


For HgCl we may write Hg 2 Cl2 or (HgCl) 2 , and the graphic 
formula of this is, assuming Hg to have valency of II, the 

Cl Hg Hg Cl. 

Again, for HgCl 2 , valency still II: 

Cl Hg Cl. 

Other cases of seeming variable valency may be similarly 
explained by considering the proper grouping of molecules. 

The series of the nitrogen oxides may be represented 
by the following graphic formulas, taking valency of nitro- 
gen III: 


N 2 = 

N 2 3 = 0=N N/l 

\ y 

N0 2 =N 2 4 = | >N-N/ | 

<X NO 

\ / 

N 2 5 = | >N-0-N< | 

(X X 

74. If variable valencies may be thus explained, the original 
definition of valency may be adhered to, namely, it is the great- 
est number of univalent atoms an atom will combine with. 1 

75. The equivalent weight' of any element (or compound) 
is that weight of it which combines with, is substituted for, or 
otherwise is chemically equivalent to, one part by weight of 
hydrogen. Thus: 

H N H, 


In ammonia (NH 3 ) the equivalent weight of nitrogen is \ of 
the atomic weight of nitrogen, since it combines with 3 atoms 
of hydrogen; that is, its equivalent weight is V~ = 4.67. In 
H 2 the equivalent weight of oxygen is - l -f-=8. 

The equivalent weight of NH 4 is 18, since 18 parts displace 
1 part of H in HC1, giving NH 4 CL 

76. Accepting these definitions, the valency of any element is 
equal to its atomic weight divided by its equivalent weight. 

Organic and Inorganic Chemistry. 

77. Substances which result from the operation of life 
functions, either animal or vegetable, are called organic sub- 

1 The model atoms displayed by Professor J. J. Thomson in his lectures 
on the corpuscular theory of matter appear to support this conclusion. 


stances, and that portion of chemistry which treats of them 
is called organic chemistry. Substances obtained as minerals 
from the earth and which are not directly the result of life 
are called inorganic substances, and that portion of chemistry 
which treats of them is called inorganic chemistry. 

Objects of Chemistry. 

78. The objects of chemistry may be enumerated as follows : 

(1) To study the properties of a substance so as to be able 
to identify it with certainty under whatever conditions it may 
be met with, i 

(2) To ascertain a method of producing it at pleasure. 

(3) To determine its precise composition by weight and 

(4) To investigate its action with other substances and the 
phenomena associated therewith. 

Physical and Chemical Phenomena. 

79. In studying the properties of substances it is important 
to distinguish between physical properties, changes, and effects 
and chemical properties, changes, and effects. All mass effects, 
outside the limits of molecules and between molecules, which 
do not affect the integrity of any of the molecules of the mass, 
pertain to physical phenomena. All effects within the limits 
of molecules and between the atoms of different molecules, 
which accomplish disintegration of molecules and the rearrange- 
ment of atoms as constituents of new molecules, pertain to 
chemical phenomena. 

Thus the physical properties of a substance include the state 
of aggregation of its molecules, as gas, liquid, or solid; its 
color, odor, taste, hardness, specific gravity, form of crystal, 
fusing-point, and boiling-point. 

The chemical properties of a substance include its classifica- 
tion as an acid, a base, or a salt; the action of acids, bases, or 
salts with it; its composition. 


Mixtures, Solutions, Alloys, Amalgams. 

80. In addition to the elementary substances and the homo- 
geneous compounds there are other aggregations of matter which 
may be classified as mechanical mixtures, solutions, alloys, and 

81. A mechanical mixture consists of two or more substances 
mixed together in any proportions. It differs essentially from a 
chemical compound in that the proportions of the constituents 
of the latter are always the same by weight. Each constituent 
of a mechanical mixture always retains its own distinguishing 
physical properties, whereas in a true compound the. character- 
istic physical properties of the separate constituents disappear. 
Granite is a mechanical mixture of quartz, feldspar, and mica; 
these ingredients may vary throughout all possible proportions, 
and although the physical properties of the separate constituents 
remain the same, those of the conglomerated mass vary to cor- 
respond to the varying proportions of the constituents; it is 
nevertheless always granite. Marble, on the contrary, is a chemi- 
cal compound, and the proportion by weight of calcium, carbon 
and oxygen is always the same; the physical properties of the 
mass are always the same, but the physical properties of the 
constituents have completely disappeared. Among explosives, 
black and brown powders are mechanical mixtures of potassium 
nitrate, carbon, and sulphur; guncotton is a chemical compound, 
composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. 

82. A solid, liquid, or gas may be in solution in a given 
liquid; the latter is called the solvent. In passing into solution 
the solid liquefies and mixes with the solvent; the liquid mixes 
directly, and, when a homogeneous solution obtains, the two 
liquids are said to be mixable or miscible; gases are absorbed, 
so to speak, into the body of the solvent, the amount of gas 
passing into solution being directly proportional to its pressure 
on the surface of the solvent and inversely proportional to the 
temperature of the solvent. Usually the quantity of a solid 
that will dissolve increases with the temperature of the solvent. 


Simple solution appears often to be a quasi chemical as well 
as physical phenomenon, though there is usually a reduction 
of temperature due to the physical change of the solid to liquid 
state. In chemical solution there is chemical combination. 

83. A solvent will usually take up only a limited quantity of 
a soluble substance; when this quantity has been taken up 
further addition only causes an accumulation in the liquid of 
the solid in the solid state. At this stage the solvent is said 
to be saturated and the solution is called a saturated solution. 
Fractional solutions may be made in the percentage quantities 
required from a saturated solution. A saturated solution is 
sometimes improperly called a normal solution. A normal solu- 
tion is one in which each litre contains the number of grams 
of the substance equal to its molecular weight. A standard 
solution is such that each litre contains a known and definite 
amount of the substance. There may be an infinite number 
of standard solutions of a substance. 

84. Proximity of molecules favors chemical action. The 
form of solution is particularly favorable, both for the reason 
that the molecules are closer together than in the gaseous state, 
and the action of affinity is not interfered with by the force of 
cohesion which acts between the molecules of substances in 
the solid form. 

85. Alloys partake of the nature of solidified solutions of 
two or more metals mixed together in the molten state. The 
consti tents may vary in any proportion. 

86. An amalgam is a union of a metal with mercury. Iron 
is the only metal in common use which does not form amalgams 
readily with mercury. Amalgams approach more nearly to 
compounds than alloys or solutions. 

87. The single molecule is invisible. In order that matter 
become visible the molecules must be brought to within cer- 
tain limits of nearness to each other. In the state of gas the 
molecules are not sufficiently close to each other to produce 
visibility. The passage from visibility to invisibility is well 
illustrated in the disappearance of condensed steam escaping 


from an engine. The proximity of molecules in the liquid and 
solid states causes visibility. 

88. The passage from a liquid or solid state to gaseous is 
called evaporation, or vaporization. Water evaporates whether 
in the liquid or solid form (ice or snow). Camphor and a 
few other solids vaporize directly, like ice; notably (NH^Cl 

89. The passage from the solid state to liquid by the appli- 
cation of heat is fusion, and the temperature at which the 
change of state takes place is the fusing-point. If the tem- 
perature be raised from the fusing-point until vaporization 
begins in the interior of the liquid as well as on the surface, the 
latter temperature is the boiling-point. As a rule, fusible sub- 
stances have definite, characteristic fusing- and boiling-points. 

90. The change of state from vapor to liquid or vapor to 
solid is condensation. The cycle of change from solid or liquid 
to vapor back to liquid is distillation; from solid to vapor back 
to solid, sublimation. 

91. When a solid absorbs moisture directly from the air at 
ordinary temperatures and combines therewith to form a liquid, 
the phenomenon is called deliquescence. 

92. Change of state from solid to liquid, solid to vapor, or 
liquid to vapor causes a disappearance of heat; that is, there 
is a lowering of temperature. The reverse series of changes 
cause a corresponding and equal development of heat eleva- 
tion of temperature. 

93. As a rule chemical actions resulting in the building up 
of compound molecules from elementary molecules, or which 
increase the complexity of the molecules (synthetical reactions), 
involve evolution of heat. Reactions resulting in a separation 
of the constituents into elements or simpler molecules involve, 
as a rule, disappearance of heat. In any particular case pre- 
cisely the number of heat-units made evident in synthesis are 
made latent or disappear in analysis. 

94. There are certain exceptions to the rule given in the 
last paragraph. There are some molecules, like nitrous oxide, 


N 2 0, and potassium chlorate, KC10 3 , and fulminate of mer- 
cury, Hg0 2 C 2 N 2 , which absorb heat in formation and give off 
heat in disintegration. This property has an important bearing 
in explosives. Such molecules are said to be endothermic. 
Molecules which give off heat in formation and absorb heat in 
disintegration, according to the usual rule, are said to be exo- 

95. The number of heat-units involved in the synthesis of 
a molecule is to some extent a measure of the stability of the 
compound. It will require an equal quantity of heat or some 
form of equivalent energy to disrupt the bonds forged in the 
heat of chemical union. Water, for example, is one of the 
more stable molecules, and the heat given off by H 2 , com- 
bining with to form water (H 2 0), (that is, the burning of 
hydrogen in oxygen) amounts to 68,400 units; [that is, 2 grams 
of hydrogen combining with its equivalent weight (16 grams) 
of oxygen will give off enough heat to raise 68,400 grams of 
water 1 C. 

96. The effect of high temperature on complex molecules 
is to weaken the molecular bonds and to favor disruption and 
a rearrangement of the atoms in new molecules depending on 
the kind of atoms within the scope of chemical union and their 
relative affinities for each other under the existing conditions. 
Heat also weakens the cohesive bonds between molecules, as 
stated above in connection with changes of physical states of 

97. The molecular bonds may be so weakened by the appli- 
cation of heat that the constituents part company. The phe- 
nomenon which includes the separation of the constituents of 
a compound under the influence of heat and their recombina- 
tion as the temperature falls, by operation of the original chemical 
affinities which have not at any time been diverted into other 
relations, is called dissociation. The molecules of elements are 
sometimes dissociated. 

98. When the constituents of a molecule are separated and 
do not reunite after the disturbing cause has ceased to operate, 


having taken up new relations, the phenomenon is termed 

Fundamental Laws. 

99. There are three laws of special importance in chemical 
science; these are: 

1. The Law of Fixed Proportions. 

2. The Law of Multiples. 

3. The Law of Avogadro. 

100. The Law of Fixed Proportions is, that a chemical com- 
pound always contains the same elements in the same propor- 
tion by weight. For example, pure water contains oxygen 
and hydrogen and only these two elements, and they are 
always associated in the proportion of 1.111 parts by weight of 
hydrogen to 8.889 parts by weight of oxygen in every 10 parts 
by weight of pure water. 

1 01. The Law of Multiples is, that when two elements unite 
in more than one proportion the weights of one which combine 
with the fixed Weight of the other bear to each other a ratio 
that may be expressed by simple whole numbers. Thus nitrogen 
combines with oxygen to form five separate compounds, and the 
weight of oxygen entering this series increases by multiples of 
the smallest weight when a fixed weight of nitrogen is taken in 
each compound. If we say that the weight of nitrogen shall 
be 28 pounds in each compound, then the weight of oxygen in 
the first of the series would be 16 pounds, and it would increase 
by 16 pounds for each of the subsequent compounds of the 
series, as follows : 

1. Nitrogen, 28 Ibs. ; oxygen, 16 Ibs. 

2. " " " " 32 " =2X16. 

3. " " " " 48 " =3X16. 

4. " " " " 64 " =4X16. 

5. " " " " 80 " =5X16. 


102. The Law of Avogadro may be stated as follows : 

All gases under the same conditions of pressure and tem- 
perature have the same number of molecules in equal volumes. 
That is, a cubic foot of hydrogen will have the same number 
of molecules as a cubic foot of oxygen, or a cubic foot of the 
vapor of water, or of the vapor of alcohol, or of any other gas; 
provided all of these are at the same temperature and sub- 
jected to the same pressure. 

The law may also be stated as follows: The same number 
of molecules of all gases occupy equal volumes under the same 
pressures and temperatures. This law being true of any number 
of molecules is true of one. If, therefore, we consider the law 
as applying to the volumes occupied by single motecules, it 
is evident that the volumes of all single molecules are equal. 
That is, the space occupied by a single molecule of hydrogen 
is equal to that occupied by a single molecule of oxygen, or 
a molecule of water, or a molecule of alcohol. The volumes of 
all single molecules therefore are equal whether they be ele- 
mentary or compound. 

103. It has been ascertained by experiment that the mole- 
cules of most of the elements contain two atoms. Some of the 
exceptions to this are the following: 

Cadmium i 

Mercury ! have but one atom in a molecule. 


Phosporus 1 


r . " ( have four atoms in a molecule, 
tic J 

For purposes of discussion the conditions existing among 
diatomic elements only will first be considered. 

104. The hydrogen molecule may be taken as the type of 
diatomic molecules. The space occupied by the molecule, that 
is the molecular volume, may reasonably be assumed to be 
equally divided between or occupied by the two hydrogen atoms. 
The space occupied by one hydrogen atom, that is half the 
volume of the hydrogen molecule, may be taken as the unit of 


volumes; that is, the ultimate standard volume for comparing 
specific gravities is half the volume of the hydrogen molecule, 
or the space occupied by the hydrogen atom. The expression, 
" space occupied by the hydrogen atom/ 7 is used for the reason 
that the atom is supposed not to occupy solidly the limits of 
the half-molecule; that is, while it occupies the space of the 
half -molecule, it does not fill it. Calling such space the atomic 
space, to distinguish it from the true volume of the atom, the 
standard volume may be considered the atomic space of the hydrogen 

105. Since the volumes of all molecules are equal, it may be 
assumed that the atomic spaces of all diatomic elements are equal. 
That is, the space occupied by any atom of a diatomic element 
occupies a space equal to that occupied by the hydrogen atom, 
and the weights of atoms of diatomic elements are the weights 
of equal volumes. Keeping in mind the fact that the atomic 
weight of hydrogen is unity and that the atomic weights of 
other elements are expressed in terms of this unit, it is evident 
that the atomic weights of diatomic elements express the rela- 
tive weights of equal volumes, and if hydrogen be taken as the 
standard of specific gravity for gases, the atomic weights of 
diatomic elements are the specific gravities of these elements in 
gaseous state referred to hydrogen as a standard. For example, 
the specific gravity of oxygen referred to hydrogen is 16, of 
nitrogen 14, etc., the same as their atomic weights. 

1 06. For elements whose molecule contain but one atom, 
that is monatomic elements, the atomic weight represents the 
matter occupying two " standard volumes" (atomic space of 
hydrogen atom). The weight of the matter corresponding to 
one standard volume would therefore be one-half the atomic 
weight. That is, the specific gravities of monatomic elements 
in the gaseous state are one-half their atomic weights; e.g., 

198.5 (at. wt.) 
the specific gravity of the vapor of mercury is - x 


107. For elements whose atoms occupy one-half the stand- 


ard volume, or have four atoms to the molecule, that is tetra- 
tomic elements, the atomic weight is the weight of matter in 
a half- volume; therefore, to get the weight of a whole volume, 
the atomic weight must be multiplied by two. That is, the 
specific gravities of tetratomic elements are obtained by mul- 
tiplying atomic weight by two. Thus the atomic weight of 
phosphorus is 30.7; its specific gravity in gaseous state is 
30.7X2 = 61.4. 

108. A compound gas, like marsh-gas (CH 4 ) or acetylene 
(C 2 H 2 ), or a compound vapor like water (H 2 0) or alcohol 
(C2H 6 0), has as its smallest volume the molecular volume, 
because by definition the molecule is the smallest quantity that 
possesses all and only the properties of the substance. Hence the 
specific gravities of all compound gases are based on the weight of 
matter in a molecular volume, which is twice the standard vol- 
ume. Therefore the specific gravity of all compound gases is ob- 
tained by dividing the weight of the molecule by two. The specific 

12 + 4 
gravity of marsh-gas (CH 4 ) is ^ =8; of water- vapor (H 2 0) 

2 + 16 /n TJ 24 + 6 + 16 
is 2~ = 9; of alcohol-vapor (C 2 H 6 0) is ~ - = 23, etc. 

109. A very important principle is based on the fact that 
the volumes of all molecules are equal. It is this: Whatever 
number of elementary or compound gases combine chemically 
to form a single compound gas, the latter will occupy but two vol- 
umes. Let the reaction for the formation of water be taken 
as follows : 

H 2 + = H 2 0. 

From paragraph 104 each symbol of an atom of a diatomic 
element represents a standard volume, provided the symbols 
stand alone, as in the first member of this equation. That is, 
in the first member of this equation there are two standard 
volumes of hydrogen represented, and one standard volume of 
oxygen, or three standard volumes altogether. When cjiemical 
union takes place forming the molecule, water, but one mole- 


cule is formed, and it cannot occupy more than two standard 

Again, one volume of nitrogen combines with three volumes 
of hydrogen to form two volumes of ammonia, thus: 

N + H 3 = NH 3 

1 vol. 3 vols. 2 vols. 

This fact, which is based upon the truth of Avogadro's law 
and is confirmed by experiment, is sometimes referred to as the 
principle or law of gaseous condensation. 

1 10. The examples in paragraph 109 contemplate strictly 
theoretical standard volumes, that is the spaces occupied by 
single atoms; but of course such spaces cannot be dealt with 
in practical work. However, it is axiomatic that what is true 
of these theoretical volumes will be equally true of any multiple 
of the volumes, and it follows that the practical standard volume 
may be assumed as one cubic foot, or one thousand cubic feet, 
or one litre, or multiple or fraction thereof, and the first reac- 
tion of the last paragraph might just as truly have been stated 

H 2 + = H 2 

2 cu. ft. 1 cu. ft. 2 cu. ft. 

and the second reaction, thus : 

N + H 3 = NH 3 

1 cu. ft. 3 cu. ft. 2 cu. ft. 

Determination of Atomic Weights. 

in. In paragraph 3 it is stated that the atom is the ultimate 
unit of matter so far as known. It is convenient here to explain 
how these smallest known quantities of matter have been 
ascertained. For this purpose the elements may be divided 
into, first, those which may be volatilized and dealt with in the 
form of gas or vapor, and, secondly, those which cannot con- 
veniently be so experimented with. 


ii2. The determination of the atomic weights of gaseous 
elements is based on the principles of the Law of Avogadro 
and chemical analysis. 

Let it be assumed that the atomic weight of hydrogen is 

All possible gaseous compounds in which hydrogen enters 
as a constituent are collected. 

(1) According to Avogadro's Law and the deductions there- 
from the molecular weights are the weights of equal vol- 
umes (all molecular volumes being equal). But the standard 
theoretical volume is the half-molecular volume. That is, the 
molecular weights are the weights of double the standard vol- 
ume, or, in other words, twice the specific gravities of gases, 
hydrogen being taken as the standard for specific gravity. If, 
therefore, equal volumes of hydrogen and all its compound 
gases be weighed under the same conditions of temperature 
and pressure, and the resulting weights of the compound gases. 
expresseU in terms of the weight of the volume of hydrogen as 
unity, be multiplied by two, the products will be the molecular 
weights l in terms of the weight l of the hydrogen atom. 

For example, it is known that water contains hydrogen; 
if a cubic foot of water-vapor be weighed, it will be found to 
weigh 9 times more than an equal volume of hydrogen under 
the same pressure and at the same temperature. Multiplying 
9 by 2, the product 18 is the weight of the water-molecule; 
that is, the water-molecule weighs 18 times more than the 
weight of hydrogen which occupies the atomic space. 

1 The word weights has been used throughout, but it should be kept in 
mind that quantity of matter, mass, is the exact idea that should be carried 

weight in pounds w 

In any case mass = ; . j- 3 - r- . : , or m . To 

acceleration due to gravity at the place g 

be correct, we should speak of atomic masses and not atomic weights. The 
masses are constant, the weights vary with the force of gravity at differ- 
ent latitudes. Atomic weights are expressions for the relative weights of 
atoms, hydrogen being unity. The weights of all atoms vary with the lati- 
tude, but as they all vary according to the same law, their relative weights 
are as constant as the masses themselves. Therefore no numerical error is 
introduced by using atomic weights instead of atomic masses. 


(2) By chemical analysis the constituents in each one of the 
compounds may be separated, and the proportion by weight 
of hydrogen which enters each sample can be found. For 
example, suppose that the sample of water was 10 pounds. 
By chemical analysis it can be accurately determined that 
1.111 pounds of this was hydrogen gas and 8.889 pounds 

was oxygen gas. Or, ' by weight of water consists of 


(3) It was ascertained in (1), above, that the molecular 
weight of water is 18, in terms of the weight of the hydrogen 

atom. But it now appears that ' of any mass of water 

is hydrogen, whether it be a ton or a molecule. Hence ' n 


of 18 will be the proportional part of hydrogen in the water- 
molecule, expressed in terms of the weight of the hydrogen 
atom, or .1111x18 = 1.999 + , that is 2, and the hydrogen in 
the water-molecule is represented by H 2 . 

(4) Any of the compounds of hydrogen may be dealt with 
as explained for water. Take hydrochloric acid, for example. 
Its vapor weighs 18.25 times more than equal volumes of hydro- 
gen, hence, from (1), its molecular weight is 36.5. It may be 
ascertained by chemical analysis that in every part by weight 


of hydrochloric acid there are ~r^ parts by weight of hydrogen. 

This is as true of a single molecule as of any larger quantity. 
Hence of the 36.5 units of the molecular weight 36.5 X. 0274 
= .999 + of them are units of hydrogen, that is 1 atom of hydro- 
gen, and the quantity of hydrogen in the molecule of hydrochloric 
acid is therefore represented by H. 

(5) All other compounds of hydrogen may be treated in the 
same way, and the smallest quantity of hydrogen in terms of 
the weight of the half-hydrogen molecule may be ascertained. 

The data resulting from such a series of experiments may 
be tabulated as follows : 







Hydrogen Compounds. 







c *** 

' ^ > -- 











1111 = 


H 2 O 


Hydrochloric acid 



.0274 = 3^ 



Hydrobromic acid 






Sulphydric acid 



0588 = 


SH 2 






1765 = 


NH 3 


Phosphorus trihydride . . . 



.0882 = 1 


PH 3 

Marsh-gas . . . 



25 = 


CH 4 


Olefiant gas . 



142 = 


C,H d 









If, in any case, a value less than unity were obtained for 
this smallest quantity, say i, that would be taken as the standard 
atomic weight instead of the one now assumed; if this were 
made equal to unity, it would necessitate doubling all existing 
atomic weights. But no weight of hydrogen less than the 
weight of the half-hydrogen molecule has ever been separated 
by any procedure or reasoning. The hydrogen atom is, there- 
fore, to be understood to be the smallest quantity of hydrogen 
that is now known to exist. 

(6) All of the compounds of any other gaseous element may 
be analyzed chemically and experimented with physically in 
the same manner, and the smallest weight of that element which 
is found in any compound is taken as its atomic weight. 

113. The atomic weights of some of the solid elements have 
been determined by a comparative study of the specific heats 2 

1 The weight of the half-hydrogen molecule is often called a microcrith. 

2 The specific heat of a body at any temperature is the ratio of the quan- 
tity of heat required to raise the temperature of the body one degree to the 
quantity of heat required to raise an equal weight of water at its temperature 
of maximum density (4 C., 39.2 F.) through one degree. The unit of heat 
is the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of one unit weight 
of water one degree. Depending on the weight units involved and the tern- 


of the elements in the solid state and a comparison of these 
specific heats with known atomic weights. 

Two investigators, Petit and Dulong, developed the fact 
that the specific heats of the solid elements are nearly inversely 
proportional to their atomic weights. That is, the quantity of 
heat required to raise weights proportional to atomic weights 
through one degree is practically constant and approximately 
equal to 6.4 units of heat. This number is called the atomic 
heat. If, therefore, the specific heat of a solid element be 
determined, and the atomic heat, 6.4, be divided by the specific 
heat, the quotient will be approximately the atomic weight. 

Used in conjunction with chemical analysis, the principle 
of atomic heat will give sufficiently reliable results. For ex- 
ample, by analyzing silver chloride chemically it is found that 
108 parts by weight of silver and 35.5 parts of chlorine are 
obtained. If there be two atoms of silver in this compound 
its atomic weight is 54; if three atoms, 36; if four, 27; if one, 
108. The specific heat of silver at ordinary temperature is .057; 
the quotient, 112, obtained by dividing 6.4 by .057, suggests that 
the number 108 should be taken as the true atomic weight, 
instead of 54, 36, or 27. Chemical analysis is a more exact 
process than the determination of specific heat, therefore the 
number 108 is taken in preference to 112. 

114. The number of atoms in an elementary molecule is 
obtained in any case by first ascertaining what the molecular 
weight is, then the atomic weight, and then dividing the molec- 
ular weight by the atomic weight. 

Conditions Influencing Affinity. 

115. In paragraph 14 it is stated that one property of 
atoms is that those of one kind have an attraction for certain 
other kinds. This attractive force is, as already stated, called 

perature scale used, it may be either the number of units of heat required 
to raise one pound of water at 39.2 F. through 1 F., or one pound of water 
at 4 C. through 1 C., or one kilogram of water through 1 C. (large calorie), 
or one gram of water at 4 C. through 1 C. (small calorie). 


affinity or chemical affinity. It operates between atoms only. 
Chemical changes which result in the formation of new sub- 
stances, by new groupings of the atoms involved, are due to 
the operation of this force. The intensity of its action varies 
between different atoms and is modified by different conditions. 
The quantity of heat evolved in the formation of new substances 
is, in any given case, to some extent a measure of this intensity, 
as well as of the stability of the resulting molecules. 

116. There are certain causes and conditions which influence 
the action of chemical affinity. Among these the following may 
be enumerated : 

Temperature. Substances that do not combine at one 
temperature will combine at another; and conversely, through 
the action of temperature alone, decomposition may be effected. 
Increase of temperature may cause either a synthetical or an 
analytical reaction; for example, the synthetical reaction 
where heat is used in forming metallic oxides, and the analytical 
reaction where lime is formed from marble by heat. 

Solution. In order to have the force of chemical affinity 
act, it is necessary that the molecules be very close together. 
Chemical affinity acts at very short distances only. The form of. 
solution is particularly favorable to the action of chemical affinity. 
Therefore it is used to get chemical combination where other 
methods have failed. The objection to a solid form is that the 
force of cohesion opposes combination by impeding or prevent- 
ing the mutual penetration and close proximity of the particles 
of the different substances. In gases cohesion does not inter- 
fere with chemical action, but owing to the distance between 
the particles preventing the necessary close proximity, bodies 
evince but little disposition to combine when in the gaseous 
state and under normal pressure. If any reaction will take 
place at all, it will take place in the case of solution. 

Insolubility The principle of insolubility may be stated 
thus: when two soluble substances, which contain between them 
the constituents of an insoluble or sparingly soluble substance, 
are brought together in the form of solutions, the insoluble or less 


soluble substance is formed and appears in the combined liquids 
as a suspended solid, called a precipitate, which eventually will 
settle to the bottom. For example, if a solution of silver nitrate 
(AgN0 3 ) be mixed with a solution of common salt (NaCl), a 
metathetical reaction will take place, the metals silver and 
sodium exchanging places in the molecules, forming silver chlo- 
ride (AgCl) and sodium nitrate (NaN0 3 ), the former appearing 
suspended in the resulting liquid as a white curdy precipitate. 
The reaction would be represented thus : 

AgN0 3 + NaCl = AgCl + NaN0 3 . 

Volatility. The principle of volatility may be stated as 
follows: if two substances contain between them the constitu- 
ents of a volatile substance, and these two substances be mixed 
and heated together, the volatile substance will be formed 
and separate as gas. For example, if pulverized ammonium 
chloride (NH 4 C1) be mixed with pulverized sodium carbonate 
(Na 2 C0 3 ) and the mixture heated, the volatile substance 
ammonium carbonate ((NH 4 ) 2 C0 3 ) will be formed and pass of! 
as a gas, leaving sodium chloride. 

Physical Surroundings. The atmosphere surrounding a 
substance has an influence on the chemical reactions which may 
take place. For example: If iron oxide be heated in an atmos- 
phere of hydrogen, the oxygen combines with the hydrogen, 
passing off as water vapor and leaving ultimately metallic iron. 
Conversely, if water vapor be passed over heated iron filings, 
iron oxide will be produced and hydrogen gas liberated. 

Nascent State. By nascent state is meant the state of 
the element or substance just in the act of being separated in 
chemical decomposition. The nascent state is particularly 
favorable to chemical combination. Reactions which will 
not otherwise take place may take place at the instant that 
atoms are freed from the bonds that have held them in a 

Pressure. The retarding influence of pressure is seen in 
such cases as the action of acids on metals, or the electrolysis 


of water in sealed tubes. In these cases the elimination of a 
gas is an essential condition of the change, and this being pre- 
vented, the action is retarded. On the other hand, there are 
numerous reactions which are greatly promoted by increased 
pressure those, namely, which depend on the solution of gases 
in liquids, or on the prolonged contact of substances which 
under ordinary pressure would be volatilized by heat. 

The relation of chemistry to explosives has recently been 
admirably enunciated in a paper entitled " The R61e of Chem- 
istry in the War " (Senate Document 340, 64th Congress, 1st 
Session) by Allerton S. Cushman, Ph.D., Director of the Institute 
of Industrial. Research, Washington, D. C., which, with the per- 
mission of Dr. Cushman, is republished in Appendix III of 
these "Notes," pages 349-371. 


117. Stoichiometry is that part of chemistry which deals with 
the computations of the weights of substances used in chemical 
reactions and resulting therefrom, and in the volumes of gases 
connected therewith. The foregoing principles may be applied, 
now, in the solution of chemical problems involving weights and 
gaseous volumes. 

118. It has been seen that symbols represent atoms; that 
the atoms have definite weights for each element, and that 
the weight of the molecule of any substance is the sum of the 
weights of the atoms which compose the molecule. 

It may now be stated that the symbols may be used not 
only to represent atomic weights of the elements, but any 
weights proportional to their atomic weights. In Stoichiometry 
they are so used. That is, to the abstract numbers in the second 
column of the table on pages 3 and 4 the name of any unit of 
weight may be applied, such as grams, ounces, pounds, tons. 

A reaction that is true for the atomic weights proper is 
equally true if the same proportions by weight be observed, using 
any unit of weight. 


For example: one atom of oxygen unites with two atoms 
of hydrogen to make water. Since the weight of the oxygen 
atom is 16 and the hydrogen atom 1, it follows that any weights 
whatever of oxygen and hydrogen in the proportions of 16 to 2 
will produce 18 parts by weight of water. That is, 16 Ibs. of 
oxygen will unite with 2 Ibs. of hydrogen to make 18 Ibs. of 
water, and we may write + H 2 = H 2 0. Any unit of weight 

16 + 2 = 18 

may be applied to the numbers written below the symbols. 

In the same way any reaction may be utilized to solve 
problems involving weights. 

119. Reactions may also be used to solve problems relating 
to volumes of gases, and these problems are often of value 
in dealing with explosives. 

The symbols of the atoms of gaseous elements may be considered 
to represent the atomic spaces as well as atomic weights, it being 
kept in mind that the ultimate standard volume for the com- 
parison of gases is the space occupied by the half -molecule, and 
that all single molecules, whether simple or compound, have 
equal volumes. These principles were enunciated in paragraphs 
102 and 109, and it was seen in the latter paragraph that one 
volume of oxygen united with two volumes of hydrogen to 
make two volumes of water- vapor, or that, giving concrete values 
to the volumes, one cubic foot of oxygen will combine with two 
cubic feet of hydrogen to make two cubic feet of water- vapor, 
considering all gases at the same temperature and pressure. 
Expressed in connection with the reaction, this may be written 

+ H 2 = H 2 0. 

1 cu. ft, 2 cu. ft. 2 cu. ft. 

In the same way, any reaction involving gases may be made 
use of to write out the volume relations existing among the 
reagents in the first member of the equation and the products 
in the second member. If any solids appear in the reaction 
they are not, of course, to be considered in these volume 


120. In solving problems in stoichiometry, it will be useful 
to keep certain units and numbers in mind; among these may 
be enumerated the following: 

1 cubic foot of hydrogen at 60 F. and 30 inches barometer- 
weighs about 37 grains; at C., 40 grains. 

1 pound of hydrogen under same temperature and pressure 
occupies about 189 cubic feet. 

1 gram = 15.43 grains. 

1 litre =61.02 cu. inches = 1.76 pints. 

1 gram of hydrogen at C. and 760 mm. barometer occu- 
pies 11.16 litres. 

Volumes of gases under the same pressure vary with tem- 
perature, increasing as the temperature increases, or decreasing 
as the temperature decreases; as follows: A volume of gas at 

60 F. will increase or decrease its volume - , of its volume 

for each degree of temperature Fahrenheit above or below 60 F., 

or will increase or decrease its volume at C. 7^7 of that volume 


for each degree centigrade of increase of temperature or decrease 
of temperature above or below C. 

Pressure of Gases. If the volume of a gas remains constant 
and the temperature changes, the pressure of the gas will increase 

or decrease according to these same ratios by r ~ , of the 

pressure at 60 F. or ~=~ of the pressure at C. for each degree 

Fahrenheit or centigrade, respectively. 

The ratio giving the rate of change in terms of volume at 
any other temperature than 60 F. or C. may be obtained 
from the denominators of the fractions given for 60 F. and 
C., by adding the number of degrees of higher temperature 
or subtracting the number of degrees of lower temperature. For 

example, the ratio for volume at F. would be r , rn 
A' and for 20 C ' W0uld be 273 + 20 = 293- 


The coefficient of expansion at any temperature is one 
divided by the corresponding absolute temperature. 


1. To find the relative weights of the constituents in any 
quantity of a compound, as, for instance, H 2 0. It is seen that in 
this formula the constituents of the compound are in the pro- 
portion by weight, of 16 to 2. It makes no difference whether 
we deal with a single molecule or a pound of water, this same 
relation obtains. In the first case the unit is the microcrith, in 
the second, the unit is the pound. If required, therefore, to find 
the number of pounds of hydrogen to make a ton of water, 
we have this proportion: 

2:18::z:2000 pounds. 

2. To find the percentage composition of a substance, given 
the molecular formula. Let us take, for example, cellulose : 

The following form will be found convenient in solving such 
problems : 

Atomic No. of Total p 

weights, atoms. weights. 

C 12 6 72 

1 10 10 jg2 = 6 - 2 

16 5 ^ S=49.4 


3. To find the empirical formula of a substance, given the 
percentage composition and atomic weights. The empirical 
formula is the simplest expression for the numerical relations 
of the atoms as determined by analysis, and this is directly 


connected with the percentage composition. It is found by 
first determining by analysis the composition of a substance 
and then dividing each part by weight by the atomic weight 
of the corresponding element. For example, take cellulose as 
in the last problem: 

Part by Atomic 
weight. weights. 

0=72^12 = 6 
H = 10- 1 = 10 
= 80^16= 5 

4. To find the molecular formula having the empirical 
formula and the molecular weight. By chemical analysis de- 
termine the relative parts by weight. Divide the weight of each 
element thus obtained by the atomic weight of that element 
for the proportional number of atoms in the compound. The 
empirical formula will be the smallest number of whole atoms 
consistent with this proportion. The molecular formula will 
be that combination of atoms whose weight in the aggregate 
is equal to the molecular weight. For example: A compound 
of carbon and hydrogen is analyzed. The total weight of the 
compound is 6| grams. It is known that its molecular weight 
is 78. Analysis gives 6 grams of carbon and ^ gram of hydrogen. 

Taking the lowest number of whole atoms we have for the 
empirical formula CH, the combined weight of the atoms of 
which is 12 + 1 = 13. 

It is evident that the molecular formula will therefore be 
78^13 = 6 times greater than that of the empirical formula. 
Consequently, the molecular formula is C 6 H 6 . 

5. Since the atomic weights of substances represent not 
only the actual weights of atoms, but also the weight of ^quan- 
tities proportional thereto, if we fix on the weight of any one 


element, all the others are fixed by that act. For example, (a) 
take the reaction Cu -f = CuO. Assume 5 grains of copper. 

Then 63.2:16: :5:x .'. a: = 1.26 grains of 0. The atomic 
weights of Cu and being 63.2 and 16 respectively, x gives the 
weight of in grains. 

63.24-16 = 79.2. 

Then 63.2:79.2: :5:x /. x = 6.26 grains of CuO. 

(6) Take the reaction CaC0 3 + heat = CaO + C0 2 . Assume 30 
pounds of CaC0 3 . The weights of the resulting products would 
be found as follows : 

CaO=404-16 = 56 = mol. wt. 

CaC0 3 = 100 = 

100:56: : 30: x, giving 16.8 pounds CaO 
100: 44:: 30:2, " 13.2 " C0 2 . 

6. As each molecule occupies two volumes, we can from 
inspection of a chemical equation readily determine the number 
of molecules, and from these the volumes of the gaseous reagents 
or products. 

Take CH4. It is a combustible gas (marsh-gas) . Both C and 
H unite with in burning. C will burn to C0 2 , and for this we 
must have 2 atoms of 0. H 4 will burn to 2H 2 0, and for this we 
must also have 2 atoms of 0. In order, therefore, to burn CH 4 
we must supply it with 4 atoms of 0. We may therefore write: 

2 vols. 4 vols. 2 vols. 4 vols. 

These volumes may refer to any unit of volume. For example, 
assume 20 cubic feet of CH 4 . The problem would then be, How 
many cubic feet of are required to burn 20 cubic feet of CH 4 ? 
We have, 2:4: :20:o; /. z = 40 cubic feet. 

Again, take the reaction, N + H 3 = NH 3 . Note that the 

1 vol. 3 vols. 2 vols. 

sums of the volumes in the two members of the equation do 


not have to balance; the sums of the weights on both sides of 
the equality sign must, however, always balance. 

7. In order to pass from weights to volumes, we have the 
following relation: 

Wt. of gas 

~77 7T- r = volume. 
Wt. of unit vol. 

(usually 1 cubic foot) 

Therefore weight of gas = volume in cubic feetX weight of 
1 cubic foot of gas. 

8. To find the weight of a cubic foot and the specific gravity 
of a mixture of gases; for example, atmospheric air. 

Assume the weight of 1 cubic foot of H (barometer 30", 
thermometer 32 F.) =40 grains. 

Any given weight or volume of air consists approximately of 

2 + 4N 2 

2 vols. 8 vols. 

10 vols. 
2 = 16X2= 32 


/. Wt. 1 vol. air = T V of 144= 14.4 =specific gravity 
" 1 cubic foot H . =40gr. 
" 1 " " air =40xl4.4 = 576gr. 

9. To find the number of cubic feet of air that will be required 
to burn 100 pounds of wood. Assume wood to have the molec- 
ular formula CeHioOs and the reaction of combustion to be 
as follows: 

C 6 H 10 5 + 6 (0 2 + 4N 2 ) = 6C0 2 + 5H 2 + 48N 
Mol. wts.: 162 +6(32 + 112)= 1026 

It therefore takes 1026 pounds of air to burn 162 pounds 
of wood. 


How much will it take to burn 100 pounds? 

162 : 864:: 100 :z. .-. = 533.33 pounds. 
To reduce to cubic feet: 7000 gr. = 1 pound. 

1 cu. ft. air = 576 gr. 576)3733300 grs. 

6481 cu. ft. 

11. Assume that the following represents the reaction 
involved in the burning of illuminating-gas. If there be in this 
group of mixed ga"ses 2 cubic feet of hydrogen, what are the 
other volumes? 

5SH 2 + 2C 2 H 4 + CH 4 + 2H 2 + 160 2 + O = 13H 2 O + 5CO 2 + 5SO 2 
10 vols. 4 vols. 2 vols. 4 vols. 32 vols. 1 vol. 26 vols. 10 vols. 10 vola. 

5 cu. ft. 2 cu. ft. 1 cu. ft. 2 cu. ft. 16 cu. ft. 0.5 cu. ft. 13 cu. ft. 5 cu. ft. 5 cu. ft. 

Since there are 2 cubic feet of hydrogen and 4 standard vol- 
umes of hydrogen (2H 2 ), one standard volume in this case 

is- r =0.5 cubic foot. Multiply each number of " vols." 

by 0.5 cubic foot and we have the volume of each gas in cubic 
feet, as shown below each molecular formula. 

12. a. Find the percentage of iron in limonite or brown 
haematite, 2Fe 2 3 .3H 2 0. 

2Fe 2 = 56X4 = 224 
20 3 =16X6= 96 
3H 2 = 1X6= 6 
30 =16X3= 48 

Mol. wt. = 374 
From which the per cent of Fe is found to be 59.9. 

b. Same for haematite or specular iron ore, Fe 2 0s. 

Fe 2 = 56x2 = 112 
3 -16X3= 48 

Mol. wt. = 160 
From which the per cent of Fe is found to be 70. 


c. Same for magnetite or magnetic oxide, Fe 3 4 . 

Fe 3 =56x3 = 168 
4 =16x4- 64 

From which the per cent of Fe is found to be 72.4. 

d. Same for spathic ore, clay ironstone, or blackband, FeC0 3 . 

Fe = 56xl = 56 
C =12x1= 12 

= 48 

From which the per cent of Fe is found to be 48.3. 

e. Same for iron pyrites, FeS 2 . 

Fe = 56xl = 56 
S 2 =32x2= 64 

From which the per cent cf Fe is found to be 46.7. 

13. The celebrated Russian chemist Merideleeff has sug- 
gested a method of comparing explosives by finding the num- 
ber of volumes in the explosive reaction corresponding to 1000 
parts by weight; this volume *is indicated by the symbol Viooo- 
The effect of the temperature of the explosion is not considered. 

a, Determine Mendeleeff's relation of Viooo in the following 
reaction for black gunpowder : 


202 + 32 + 36 6 vols. + 2 vols. 

270 8 vols. 

270:1000: :8:y 10 oo; Viuoo = 29.6 volumes. 

1 The numbers under the reagents (first members of the equations) are 
molecular weights, those under the products (second members of the equa- 
tions) are volumes. 


b. Same for brown gunpowder: 


6KN0 3 + 2C 5 H 4 = 3K 2 C0 3 + 7CO .+ 4H 2 4- 3N 2 

606 + 160 14 vols. + 8 vols. + 6vols. 

766 28 vols. 

766 : 1000 : : 28 : V 1000 ; FIOOO = 36.5 volumes. 

c. Same for nitroglycerine : 

4C 3 H 5 03(NO2)3 = 12C0 2 + 10H 2 + 6N 2 + 2 

908 24 vols. + 20 vols + 12 vols. + 2 vols. 

58 vols. 

908:1000: :58: VioooJ Fiooo = 63.9 volumes. 

d. Same for guncotton : 

C 6 H 7 Ofi(N0 2 )3 = 3C0 2 + 9CO + 7H 2 O + 3N 2 

594 6 vols, + 18 vols. + 14 vols. + 6 vols. 

44 vols. 

594:1000: :44:Ficoo; 7x000 = 74.1 volumes. 

e. Same for smokeless powder; nitrocellulose having 12.75 
per cent of nitrogen, N, which is about the percentage in smoke- 
less powder for cannon in the United States : 

2Ci 2 H 15 Oio(N0 2 )5 - C0 2 + 23CO + 15H 2 + 5N 2 

1098 2 vols. + 46 vols. + 30 vols. + 10 vols. 

88 vols, 

1098:1000: :88:Fi 00 ; yiooo = 80.1 volumes. 

/. Same for C burned with sufficient supply of 0: 

12 + 32 2 vols. 

44:1000: :2:Fiooo; Fiooo = 45.5 volumes. 

g. Same for C burned with insufficient supply of oxygen: 

12 + 16 2 vols. 

28:1000: :2: VioooJ 71000 = 71.4 volumes. 
h. A comparison of the values of FIOOO in / and g is impor- 


tant because on this basis depends the whole argument of 
Mendeleeff as to the desirability of so arranging the percentage 
of C, H, 0, and N in nitrocellulose as to have all the C burn to 
CO. When this is done, we get the reaction for Mendeleeff's 
pyrocellulose, which is nitrocellulose containing 12.44% of 
nitrogen : 

= 30CO + 19H 2 + 6N 2 

1350 = 60vols. + 38vols. + 12vols. 


1350:1000: :110:yiooo; 7iooo = 81.5 volumes. 

i. Same for cordite (used in our service in Armstrong guns) ; 
a mixture of nitroglycerine and nitrocellulose: 

3 + 7C 6 H 8 5 (N0 2 ) 2 = 48CO + 33H 2 + 10N 2 

454 + 1764 96vols. + 66 vols. + 20 vols. 

2218 182 vols. 

2218:1000: :182:Fiooo; Fiooo = 82 volumes. 
/. Same for picric acid, used in shell (lyddite, melinite, etc.) : 
4C 6 H 2 (N0 2 ) 3 HO = 6H 2 + 22CO + 5N 2 + 2CN 

916 = 12 vols. + 44 vols. + 10 vols. + 4 vols. 

70 vols. 

916 : 1000 : : 70 : FIOOO; FIOOO = 76.4 volumes. 


The following general properties of important substances 
may be committed to memory with advantage, preparatory to 
laboratory work: 

The nitrates are all soluble in water. 

The dichlorides, except that of lead, are soluble in water. 

The monochlorides, except those of silver and mercury, are sol- 
uble in water. 

The sulphates are soluble in water, except that of calcium, 
which is but slightly soluble, and that of barium, strontium, 
and lead, which are insoluble. 

The sulphates are insoluble in alcohol. 


The carbonates are insoluble in water, except those of the alka- 
lies; they are all soluble in water containing C02 in solution, 

i.e., carbonated water. 
The carbonates, except those of the alkalies, are decomposed by 

heat (CO 2 passing off). 
The carbonates are decomposed by sulphuric, hydrochloric, and 

nitric acid, with evolution of C0 2 and effervescence. 
The chlorates are soluble in water. 
The acetates are soluble in water. 
The oxides are insoluble in water, except those of the alkalies 

and barium, which are soluble; those of the alkaline-earth 

metals, except barium, are slightly soluble. 
The sulphides are insoluble in water, except those of the alkalies 

and alkaline earths. 
The hydroxides are insoluble in water, except those of the alkalies 

and alkaline-earth metals, the latter being but slightly 

The phosphates are insoluble in water, except those of the 




BEFORE treating directly of explosives proper, it will be 
advantageous to consider apart the substances used in their 

Regarded from the point of their composition, explosives 
may be divided into two classes, namely: 

1. Explosive mixtures. 

2. Explosive compounds. 

The former consist of an intimate mixture of distinct sub- 
stances, properly prepared and conglomerated mechanically in 
varying proportions to meet the requirements of different de- 
mands. Each particle of such explosive mixtures must have 
at least a particle of some oxygen-supplier, such as a nitrate or 
chlorate, and some combustible, such as carbon or sulphur. 
The old black and brown powders and the new explosive called 
ammonal are typical examples of such mechanical mixtures. 
The characteristic quality of such explosives is that the nature 
of the explosion may be graded by varying the proportions of 
the ingredients. 

The latter class consist of substances whose molecules 
contain within themselves the oxygen and carbon and hydrogen 
necessary for combustion. Any substance whose molecule 
contains oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen in the proportions 
to give CO, or C02 and H 2 0, may become an explosive. 
One which is so constituted and at the same time has weak 
molecular bonds due to the presence of the radical N02 or 
other weak-binding radical is an explosive compound. The 
characteristic quality of this class of explosives is that the ele- 
ments constituting the explosive are always present in the 
molecule in the same quantities, according to the law of fixed 



proportions, and the nature of the explosion cannot be graded 
by varying the quantities of the constituent elements, as in 
the case of mechanical mixtures. 

The substances used in the manufacture of these two classes 
of explosives may be considered conveniently in the following 
order : 

1. The nitrates and chlorates, used as oxygen-suppliers in ex- 

plosive mixtures. 

2. The combustibles, charcoal and sulphur, used in explosive 


3. The hydrocarbons and other compounds of organic origin 

used in the manufacture of high explosives, and of the 
more recently developed nitro-powders. This includes 
hydrocarbons proper, alcohol, ether, acetone, phenol, glycer- 
ine, cellulose, and certain nitro-derivatives of some of 
these, including the nitrobenzenes, nitronaphthalene, nitro- 
Reference is made in this connection to the part played 

chemically by nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon in explosives, 

as given on pages 349-368, Appendix III. 

Potassium Nitrate, (KNO 3 ). Nitre. Saltpetre. 

This salt is found in nature as an incrustation on the surface of 
certain soils in hot countries. It results in such instances from 
the decomposition of nitrogenous organic matter in the presence 
of moist alkaline earths. The decomposition of both animal and 
vegetable matter produces ammonia; the oxidation of ammonia 
in nature appears to be furthered by the growth of certain low 
forms of vegetable life; this combines with the atmospheric 
oxygen, yielding nitric acid, and this, in turn, acts on other 
potassium salts to produce the nitrate; the solution evaporating 
at the surface leaves the solid as an incrustation. 

It may be produced artificially by the nitre-bed process. 
Vegetable and animal matter are piled together in large heaps, 
with limestone, old mortar, wood ashes, and any alkaline 
material, on an impervious floor protected from the weather. 


One side is made nearly vertical and this side is exposed to the 
prevailing wind; the opposite side is cut into terraces. Urine 
from stables and other sources is poured over the terraces, 
which have a slight pitch toward the body of the heap, with a 
small gutter cut at the inner junction of the step with the body 
of the heap. The temperature is kept at 60 to 70 F. The 
liquid seeps through the mass, and the chemical action described 
above takes place in the body of the heap; the soluble nitrates 
percolating through the heap finally reach the vertical side 
exposed to the wind, and evaporation occurring there leaves on 
this surface an incrustation of nitrate mixed with other salts. 

The nitre coming from these sources is known as crude. An 
analysis of crude saltpetre from India gave the following: 
nitre, 97.40; potassium chloride, 0.84; sodium chloride, 0.20; 
insoluble, 0.21; water, 1.35. The crude nitre from the beds con- 
tains in addition, as a rule, chlorides of calcium, magnesium, 
and ammonium. Crude nitre must be refined before using in 
explosives. The chlorides are separated from the nitre by dis- 
solving the mass in hot water. The nitre crystallizes first in 
cooling and is ekimmed off. The chloride remaining in solu- 
tion is converted into nitre by mixing with a solution of sodium 

It is important that nitre used for explosives should contain 
no chlorides because of their hygroscopic properties. A sample 
should therefore always be subjected to the standard test for 
chloride. The sample solution should be tested also with 
barium chloride or nitrate for any sulphate, and with ammonium 
oxalate for lime. 

Nitre is distinguishable by the form of its crystals (long 
striated or grooved six-sided prisms), and by its deflagration 
when heated on charcoal. It fuses at 635 F. (335 C.) to a 
colorless liquid which solidifies on cooling to a translucent 
crystalline mass. Heated to red heat it effervesces from the 
escape of oxygen and becomes reduced to the nitrite (KN0 2 ). 
If heated beyond this, the nitrite is decomposed, leaving a mix- 
ture of K 2 and K 2 2 . 

Its value in explosives is due to the fact that it acts as a 


supplier of oxygen to the combustible element present. Five- 
sixths of its oxygen is available for combination with any com- 
bustible, the nitrogen coming from its decomposition being 
given off in the free state. The reaction for the decomposition 
of nitre by charcoal may be represented as follows: 

Owing to the concentrated form in which the oxygen is 
presented to the carbon by nitre, carbon burning to C(>2 or 
CO gives a much higher temperature than in ordinary combus- 
tion where the is supplied by the air. 

The specific gravity of nitre is 2.07 compared with water. 
Since one cubic inch of water weighs 252.5 grains, one cubic 
inch of nitre weighs (252.5x2.07 = ) 523 grains. 

Write 2N0 3 K = N20 5 OK2. 

The five atoms of oxygen of the N 2 5 only are available for 
combustion; that is, in 202 grains (weight proportional to the 
weights of two molecules) of nitre there are 80 grains of oxygen 
free to unite with a combustible. Since one cubic inch of nitre 
weighs 523 grains, it will contain (523:202: :z:80) 207 grains of 
oxygen available for combustion, and since 16 grains of oxygen 
gas has a volume of 46.7 cubic inches at 60 F. and 30" barom- 
eter, the 207 grains of oxygen in one cubic inch of solid 
nitre will be equivalent to 607 cubic inches of oxygen gas at 
60 F. and 30" barometer. And since there is but one volume 
of oxygen in five volumes of air (4N + 0), we arrive at the 
result that one cubic inch of nitre contains as much oxygen as 
is found in 3000 cubic inches of air at 60 F. and 30" barometer. 

It is this fact that causes the high temperature of explosions 
of black gunpowder. The nitre presents the oxygen to the 
charcoal and sulphur in concentrated and pure form, and the 
reaction between the minute particles of the mixture takes 
place at each point in a very short time. All of the nitrates 
that are used in explosives are, like nitre, oxygen-carriers. 

Almost all of the nitre now used in the manufacture of gun- 
powder is obtained by the conversion of sodium nitrate into 


potassium nitrate by means of potassium chloride. When 
sodium nitrate and potassium chloride are mixed and the solu- 
tion boiled down, sodium chloride is deposited and potas- 
sium nitrate remains in the boiling liquid, the reaction being 
NaN0 3 + KC1 = KN0 3 + NaCl. 

The potassium chloride required for this conversion is 
obtained from the refuse of the sugar-beet root, and from cer- 
tain salt deposits, notably the salt-mines of Stassfurt, Saxony; 
also from sea-salt, seaweed. The mineral carnallite is a double 
chloride of potassium and magnesium. 

Sodium Nitrate, (NaN0 3 ). Peruvian or Chile Saltpetre. 
Cubical Saltpetre. 

This salt is found in large beds beneath the surface of the 
soil in the provinces of Atacama and Tarrapaca, Chile. It 
occurs at depths of from one to five yards, and in strata from 
two to twelve feet thick. The mined earth contains from fif- 
teen to sixty-five per cent of sodium nitrate and a large quantity 
of other salts, such as sulphates, chromates, chlorates, iodates, 
borates, etc. 

The crude nitrate is extracted from the earth by a process 
of boiling and crystallization. As thus obtained it contains 
about one or one and a half per cent of impurities, chiefly 
sodium chloride and sodium sulphate. 

The sodium-nitrate crystal is different from that of potas- 
sium nitrate; the former being a rhombohedron, the latter a 
six-sided prism. 

Sodium nitrate is more hygroscopic than potassium nitrate, 
and on this account cannot be used with advantage in the 
manufacture of explosives, unless the explosive be kept abso- 
lutely protected from the air. As mentioned under potassium 
nitrate, its chief value in connection with explosives is as a 
source from which potassium nitrate may be obtained by chem- 
ical reaction. It is also used in the manufacture of nitric acid. 1 

1 It is estimated that at the present rate of consumption, the Chilian 
saltpetre beds will be exhausted in about thirty years. This fact has caused 
a revival of the old process of producing nitrates and nitric acid by the oxida- 


Ammonium Nitrate (NH 4 NO 3 ). 

This salt has properties resembling in a general way those of 
the two nitrates just considered. It was formerly looked upon 
with favor as an oxygen-carrier in explosives on account of the 
fact that the basic part, NH 4 , on explosion, gave free gases 
instead of solids. Its excessive hygroscopic properties, how- 
ever, have eliminated it from use, except in a few special explo- 
sives which are so prepared as to be protected against the 
action of the air. It is used in certain blasting-powders and 
dynamites with a view to reducing the temperature of the 
explosion, the weak affinity of the element nitrogen for other 
products of explosion causing a comparatively low temperature 
of explosion; dissociation of the products also favors a lower 

The "fire-damp " gas (marsh-gas, CH 4 ) is explosive when 
mixed with two volumes of oxygen or ten volumes of air. 
This mixture ignites at about 2200 C. The temperature of 
explosion of most explosives is above this; therefore, when used 
in mines, they may serve to ignite the fire-damp. 

tion of the nitrogen of the air. Over one hundred years ago Cavendish 
observed that the electric spark would oxidize the nitrogen of the air, which 
is composed of about 79 parts of nitrogen by volume and 21 parts of oxygen. 
It is only recently, however, and in the face of the prospective disappearance 
of natural sources, that this fact has been considered of use in a commer- 
cial way. A plant has been installed at Notodden, Norway, where nitrate 
of calcium is being manufactured, applying the Cavendish principle. Air 
is forced at a carefully regulated rate through a disk of electric arcs. The 
high temperature of the arcs causes the oxidation, but unless removed speedily 
from this temperature the nitrogen oxide is decomposed by the same heat. 
By forcing the air through the disk its movement is so regulated that at a 
certain velocity the oxide is not reduced, and is conducted on to a tower down 
which milk of lime is made to trickle, and this latter absorbs the nitrogen 
oxide. . The electricity used at Notodden is generated by water-turbines. 
About 75,000 litres of air are passed through the plant per minute. Each 
unit produces about 325 tons of calcium nitrate per year, the chemical equiva- 
lent of 250 tons of nitric acid, 100 per cent, or 337 tons of nitrate of sodium. 
The total capacity of the Notodden plant, three units at present, is equivalent 
to about 1000 tons of Chilian saltpetre per year. 

Another process of fixing the nitrogen of the air by oxidation is known 
as the cyanamid process. (See page 357, Appendix III.) 


Good types of these so-called " safety" explosives are the 
Favier Explosives. P. A. Favier of Paris suggests the following 
safety mixture : 

Favier No. 1 Ammonium nitrate 88 per cent. 

Dinitronaphthalene 12 per cent. 

The nitrate is dried in a steam-heated tube, pounded in a heated 
mortar, and, while still heated, sprinkled with melted dinitro- 
naphthalene, pressed into cylinders, dipped in melted paraffin, 
and wrapped in paraffined paper. 

When exposed to gentle heat, ammonium nitrate melts at 
150 C., boils at 210 C., and disappears in the form of steam 
and nitrous oxide : 

NH 4 N0 3 + heat - N 2 + 2H 2 0. 

It deflagrates if heated suddenly to a high temperature, as 
by throwing it on a red-hot surface. If very carefully heated 
it may be sublimed. 

Interest has lately been revived in this substance by the 
fact that it is an ingredient in the explosive, " ammonal." This 
explosive consists essentially of ammonium nitrate and pul- 
verulent metallic aluminum, the latter being prepared by a 
special process. Some potassium nitrate and charcoal are also 
present in varying proportions in different grades of ammonal. 

The chief claim for ammonal is that the aluminum protects the 
ammonium nitrate from moisture and thus eliminates the objec- 
tion heretofore held against its excessive hygroscopic properties. 

Ammonal has given excellent results as a charge for shell 
and for disruptive purposes. As a mechanical fixture it pos- 
sesses the insensitiveness of this class of explosives. It must, 
however, prove itself to be a thoroughly stable mixture when 
stored for long periods of time under the conditions to be 
found in ordinary service and storage magazines. It is too 
new and untried an explosive, as yet, to merit a place among 
standard military explosives. 

Closely allied to ammonal is ginite, which is one of the explo- 
sives used by the French in their hand grenades. It is composed 


chiefly of nitrate of ammonium, the other component sub- 
stances being trinitrotoluol, (T.N.T.), powdered aluminum, and 
dicyanadiamide. It is claimed for it that it can be exploded by 
a simple fulminate, is unaffected by heat or moisture, is not 
detonated by shock, and has an explosive strength considerably 
greater than that of picric acid. 

Barium Nitrate. 

Of all the metallic nitrates used in explosives, barium 
nitrate is least hygroscopic. It is, on this account, used in some 
cases instead of KN0 3 . It is much heavier than the other 
alkaline and alkaline-earth nitrates. 

It is found in nature as the mineral witherite. Artificially 
it is produced by dissolving the carbonate in dilute nitric acid. 

It is decomposed by heat, leaving the oxide of barium and 
giving off oxygen with some form of nitrogen oxide, depending 
on the degree of temperature used. 

It is an ingredient in some of the modern military and sport- 
ing smokeless powders. 

Its rate of combustion is slower, its temperature of ignition 
higher, and the quantity of free oxygen available is less than 
for potassium nitrate. 

The per cent of oxygen in the several nitrates just consid- 
ered is given in the following table : 

Sodium nitrate 56.47% NaN0 3 . 

Ammonium nitrate 60.00% NH 4 N0 3 . 

Potassium nitrate 27.49% KN0 3 . 

Barium nitrate 36.78% Ba(N0 3 ) 2 . 

Of the 60% of oxygen in ammonium nitrate only 20% is 
available as free oxygen, 80% being required for combination 
with hydrogen to form water, as shown by the molecular formula 
when written thus: N20(H 2 0)2- 

Although barium nitrate gives the lowest percentage of 
by weight, by volume it gives about the same as nitrate of 
sodium on account of its high specific gravity. 


The Chlorates. 

The chlorates are oxygen-carriers like the nitrates. They 
act more readily as oxidizers and at lower temperatures. In- 
deed they part with their oxygen so readily that the heat of 
even ordinary friction will cause the union of their oxygen 
with a combustible. 1 This is favored in the case of potassium 
chlorate by the fact that its molecule gives off heat in breaking 
up. At high temperatures the chlorates act violently on all 
combustible substances. Potassium chlorate is the oxidizing 
ingredient in signal and pyrotechnic compositions, being usually 
mixed with sulphur and some metallic compound to give the 
color desired to the flame. The following combinations may 
be given : 

Red Fire (1) 40 grains strontium nitrate thoroughly dried over 
a lamp are mixed with 10 grains of potassium chlorate and 
reduced to the finest powder. In another mortar 13 grains 
of sulphur are mixed with 4 grains of black sulphide of anti- 
mony. The two powders are then placed upon a sheet of 
paper and very intimately mixed with a bone-knife, avoid- 
ing great pressure. 

(2) Another prescription : Charcoal 1 part, shellac 2 parts, 
sulphur 8 parts, potassium chlorate 12 parts, strontium 
nitrate 40 parts. 

Blue Fire. Potassium chlorate 15 parts, potassium nitrate 10 
parts, oxide of copper 30 parts; mix in mortar; transfer 
mixture to paper and mix with a bone-knife with sulphur 
15 parts. 

Green Fire. Barium chlorate 10 parts, barium nitrate 10 parts; 
mix in mortar; transfer to paper; mix these with sulphur 
12 parts. 

A composition of friction-primers for cannon consists of 
twelve parts of potassium chlorate, twelve parts of sulphide of 

1 A mixture of pulverized potassium chlorate and sulphide of antimony 
explodes if struck with a hammer. A grain or two of potassium chlorate 
rubbed in a mortar with a little sulphur will explode. 


antimony, and one part of sulphur worked into a paste with a 
solution of an ounce of shellac in a pint of grain alcohol. 

The explosive used in fire-crackers is a mixture of potas- 
sium chlorate and lead ferrocyanide. 

All mixtures of chlorates with combustible substances are 
liable to spontaneous combustion. 

Sulphur, S. 

Sulphur is found in the uncombined state in nature in cer- 
tain volcanic districts. It is found in the combined state espe- 
cially in the sulphide ores of many metals, and in some mineral 
waters as hydrogen sulphide. Among the ores may be men- 
tioned iron pyrites (FeS 2 ), copper pyrites (CuFeS 2 ), galena 
(PbS), blende (ZnS), crude antimony (Sb 2 Ss), cinnabar (HgS). 
Also with oxygen and the metals as sulphates, such as gypsum 
(CaS0 4 .2H 2 0), heavy spar (BaS0 4 ) , Epsom salts (MgS0 4 .7H 2 0), 
Glauber's salts (Na 2 S0 4 .10H 2 0). 

Sulphur is obtained from native veins in volcanic districts. 
It is obtained also by reduction from the sulphides (either the 
ores or the tank-waste residue of alkali works). 

The process of getting sulphur from the alkali works is 
known as the Chance-Glaus process. Calcium sulphide was 
formerly a useless by-product in the making of sodium car- 
bonate. 1 Now it is a paying by-product. The calcium sulphide 
waste is mixed with water, stirred into a paste, and run into 
large cast-iron vessels (carbonizers) ; through this mass C0 2 is 
forced. The effect of heat, moisture, and C0 2 is to form CaCOs 
and liberate SH 2 . The SH 2 is passed into a gas-holder, where 
it is mixed with air and burned : 

1 The production of CaS in the alkali works is as follows: 
2NaCl + SO 4 H 2 = SO 4 Na 2 -f 2HC1. 

SO 4 Na 2 + C 4 = Na 2 S + 4CO. 

CO 3 Ca + C = CaO + 2CO. 

Na 2 S + CaO + CO 2 = Na 2 CO 3 + CaS. 


The sulphur obtained by the Chance-Glaus process is of 
great purity and requires no refining. 

Native sulphur obtained from the veins is purified by direct 
distillation and subsequent refining to free it of earthy impuri- 
ties. The same process is followed in obtaining sulphur from 
iron and copper pyrites. 

The refining process is conducted in large retorts connected 
with a subliming chamber and distilling tank; it consists of 
melting down the crude sulphur and distilling it from the 
molten state. 

In refining crude sulphur, whether from native sulphur or 
the pyrites ores, a charge of seven hundred pounds, or over, 
of the crude sulphur is put in a large cast-iron retort. A fire 
is started under the retort. The sulphur will begin to melt at 
239 F. This will be evidenced by the appearance of a light 
yellow vapor above the mass. The vapor of sulphur rises and 
passes into a subliming-chamber, where it is condensed and falls 
as " flowers of sulphur." When the temperature of the mass is 
about 560 F., red fumes will be observed in the retort. Dis- 
tillation then takes place instead of sublimation. The vapor 
of sulphur now passes over into a condensing- tank which 
is cooled by circulating cold water, and it is condensed as 
a thick yellow liquid. The sulphur which first passes over is 
known as sublimed sulphur or flowers of sulphur; it is not used 
for making gunpowder, as it sometimes contains a small per- 
centage of foreign substances; it is returned to the retort for 
reworking. That which is distilled over at the higher tempera- 
ture is known as distilled or roll sulphur; it is this that is used 
in the manufacture of gunpowder. 

As an ingredient of gunpowder, sulphur is valuable on 
account of the low temperature (500 F.) at which it ignites, 
thus facilitating the ignition of the mixture; its combination 
with the oxygen of the nitre gives also a higher temperature 
than would obtain if charcoal alone were used; this higher 
temperature has the effect of increasing the rate of combustion 
and pressure of the gases evolved. 


Heat has an extraordinary effect on the physical condition 
of sulphur. If a quantity of sulphur be placed in a glass flask 
and heated, the following changes will be observed : 

At about 120 C. it is a pale yellow, limpid liquid. As the 
temperature rises from 120 C. the color grows darker and the 
liquid more viscous until, at 180 C., it is nearly black and 
opaque, and so viscous that the flask may be inverted without 
spilling the sulphur. At this point the temperature remains 
constant, although the application of heat continues, showing 
changes taking place within the molecular structure of the sul- 
phur. On continuing the heat, the sulphur becomes liquid again 
at 280 C., though not so mobile as at first. At 444 C. it boils 
and is converted into a brownish-red, very heavy vapor, and an 
explosion often takes place between the red vapor and the air. 

If the flask be now removed from the flame and decanted 
into water, the sulphur will descend through the water in the 
form of a brown, soft, elastic, rubber-like string. If a portion 
be allowed to remain in the flask and to cool therein, it will 
pass successively through the same states as described above 
in the inverse order, becoming black and viscous at 180 C., 
and a pale-yellow thin liquid at 120 C.; if it now again be 
poured into cold water, it will descend through it in small 
button-like drops of ordinary sulphur. As the portion still left 
in the flask cools it will deposit small tufts of crystals, and 
finally solidify into a yellow crystalline mass. 

The brown, rubber-like sulphur after a few hours will become 
yellow and brittle ; the change is accelerated by gentle heat and 
is attended with an evolution of the heat made latent at the 
180 C. stage. 

The roll sulphur, or distilled sulphur, used in the manufac- 
ture of powder is always easily soluble in carbon disulphide; 
the flowers of sulphur only partially so. 

Charcoal. Carbon. C. 

Carbon is the combustible element of most explosive mix- 
tures, and it is present in combination with hydrogen in most 
explosive compounds. Its function in all cases is to combine 


with oxygen, producing either CO or C0 2 , the heat resulting 
from this chemical reaction causing increased volume of the 
gases produced. 

In black gunpowder and other mechanical mixtures the 
carbon is supplied in the form of pulverized charcoal. The 
charcoal used in the manufacture of powder is obtained by the 
destructive distillation of certain woods and woody fibres, such 
as willow, alder, dogwood, 1 and rye straw; the lighter woods 
being used because they give a charcoal more easily combustible 
than the heavier ones. 

The- charring is done in a metallic cylinder placed in a retort 
over a furnace-fire. The effect of the heat is to drive off the 
volatile parts of the wood; these pass off for the most part 
in the form of wood naphtha (CH 4 0), pyroligneous acid (X^EUC^), 
carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and water, leaving a residue 
containing from 70 to 85 per cent of carbon, associated with 
small quantities of hydrogen (5% to 3%), oxygen (23% to 
10%), and ash (about 2%) consisting of the carbonates of 
K, Ca, Mg, calcium phosphate, potassium sulphate and silicate, 
sodium chloride, oxides of Fe and Mg. 

The wood consists of sticks about \ to f of an inch in diam- 
eter, cut into short lengths. It is cut when in full sap, in the 
spring of the year, is stripped of its bark, and dried for a con- 
siderable time either in the open air or in hot-air drying-chamber. 
Charcoal that is charred in cylinders is called cylinder charcoal, 
to distinguish it from the common pit charcoal. 

After charring, the charcoal is kept for about two weeks 
exposed to the air; it is then ready for grinding for powder- 
making. If ground at once after charring, there is danger of 
spontaneous combustion from combination with oxygen of air. 

The charring process takes from 2J to 3J hours; its com- 
pletion is known by the blue flame of CO burning to C0 2 at 
the mouth of the pipe which conducts the volatile products of 
distillation from the retort to the flame of the furnace under 
the retort. The charred wood weighs about 30% of its original 

1 European dogwood. 


If charred at temperatures above 400 C., the product is not 
sufficiently friable. At very high temperatures, 1000 to 1500 
C., the charcoal is very hard, dense, and rings with a metallic 

The temperature of ignition varies directly with the tem- 
perature of charring. Charcoal that has been charred at 260 
to 280 C. will ignite at from 340 to 360 C.; that made at 
290 to 350 C., at from 360 to 370 C.; that at 432 C., at 
about 400 C.; that at 1000 to 1500 C., at 600 to 800 C. 

If mixed with sulphur, it ignites at lower temperatures; 
that made at temperatures under 400 C. mixed with powdered 
sulphur will ignite at 250 C. If the charcoal has been made 
at higher temperatures, the sulphur burns, leaving the charcoal 

The capacity of charcoal to decompose the nitrates varies 
in the same way. Charcoal made at temperatures between 
270 and 400 C. will combine with saltpetre at 400 C.; if 
made at temperatures of 1000 to 1500 C., it combines only 
when heated to redness. 

Freshly made charcoal has remarkable powers to absorb cer- 
tain gases into its pores. One cubic inch of charcoal will absorb 
100 cubic inches of ammonia oxygen gas, 50 cubic inches of sul- 
phuretted-hydrogen gas, 10 cubic inches of oxygen, and 7 cubic 
inches of water- vapor. This is purely a mechanical effect, but 
the intimate association of such gases in the mass of charcoal 
in time develops chemical action and leads to spontaneous com- 
bustion. Freshly prepared charcoal, pulverized and stored in 
that form, will ignite spontaneously if the mass is over two 
feet deep. The ignition begins at the bottom or near the 
bottom. Samples thus treated have ignited in 36 hours. 

The property of freshly made charcoal to absorb gases is 
made use of in deodorizing sewers, cesspools, etc. 

The charcoal formerly used in the manufacture of brown 
powder was made from rye straw. The straw was carefully 
selected, only the large, firm, perfect stalks being taken. The 
charring was done by superheated steam at a relatively low tern- 

6 4 


perature. The charcoal contained about 48 per cent of carbon, 
5.5 per cent of hydrogen, 45 per cent of oxygen, 1.5 per cent of ash. 

Compounds of Organic Origin. 1 

Most of the recently developed explosives, whether used 
for propulsion or disruptive effects, are derived from organic 
substances. Substances of organic origin are also used in their 
manufacture. It therefore becomes necessary to present some 
of the more simple relations existing among these substances 
and to define certain general terms. 

The organic substances enumerated below may be regarded 
as the most important ones in connection with explosives. 

1. The Hydrocarbons. Compounds of C and H only, in 
various modes of grouping, starting with the saturated hydro- 
carbon, C n H 2n +2, the isologous series down to C n H 2n _ 6 , with their 
derivatives constitute the fatty group, because many of them 
exist in fats; the C n H 2n _ 6 group and its derivatives constitute 
the aromatic group, because many are obtained from balsams, 
essential oils, gum resins, etc. The physical state of a hydro- 
carbon may generally be known from the number of C atoms 
present in its molecular formula. If there be 4 or less, the 
substance is gaseous; if more than 4 and less than 12, it is 
liquid; if more than 12, solid. Most hydrocarbons are obtained 
by the fractional distillation of organic substances and are vola- 
tile; they have characteristic odors, are insoluble in water, 
soluble in alcohol, ether, and carbon disulphide. 

1 The following organic radicals should be noted: 

(HO)' occurring in alcohols and phenols, called hydroxyl. 

(CO)" ' ' ketones, carbonyl. 

(CO.HO)' ' ' acids, carboxyl. 

(CH 3 )' ' ' wood-alcohol derivatives, methyl. 

(C 2 H 5 )' ' < grain " " ethyl 

(C 6 H 6 )' ' ' benzene derivatives, phenyl. 

(CH 3 CO)' " ' acetic " acetyl. 

(NO 2 / " " nitro-compounds, nitryl 

The ending "yl" indicates an unsaturated radical; the unsatisfied valency 
units are indicated by the marks to the right and above the parentheses 
inclosing the radicals. 


The most important of the hydrocarbon series in explosives 

(a) The Paraffins. General formula C n H 2n+ 2, in which n 
represents any whole number. They are derived 
from the fractional distillation of mineral oil. 

(b) The Olefins. General formula C n H 2n , in which n repre- 

sents any whole number not less than 2. They are 
found in the products of distillation of coal, wood, etc. 

(c) The Acetylenes. General formula C n H 2n _ 2, in which n 

represents any whole number not less than 2. The 
first member of this series, acetylene, C 2 H 2 , is formed 
by the direct union of carbon and hydrogen under 
the influence of high temperature. The molecule 
is endo thermic, 61,100 units of heat being absorbed 
in its formation. It is the only hydrocarbon that 
has been formed by direct union of its elements. 
The acetylenes are found in the products of distilla- 
tion of all substances rich in carbon and hydrogen. 

(d) The Benzenes. General formula C n H 2n _ 6 , in which n 
represents any whole number not less than 6. The 
hydrocarbons of this series are extracted from the 
coal-tar obtained by the distillation of coal in manu- 
facturing illuminating-gas. 

2. The Alcohols. From their chemical behavior they may 
be considered as hydroxides of the paraffin hydrocarbons, and 
represented by the general formula C n H 2n+2 _, r (HO)x, in which 
n represents any whole number, and x any whole number not 
greater than n. Example : 

H H 

I I 
C 2 H 5 .HO, H C C (HO), ethyl alcohol. 

3. The Ethers. They may be regarded as derived from the 
alcohols by the replacement of one or more atoms of hydrogen 


of the hydroxyl radicals of alcohols by a univalent paraffin 
hydrocarbon radical. Example: 

H H H H 

C 2 H 5 .O.C 2 H5, H C C C C H, ethyl ether. 


H H H H 

They may also be regarded as the oxides of the paraffin hydro- 
carbons. Under this conception, the molecular formula for 
ethyl ether would be written (C2H 5 ) 2 0. 

4. The Ketones. They may be regarded as combinations of 
hydrocarbon radicals of the paraffin series with carbonyl (CO). 
Example : 

H H 

I I 

(CH 3 ) 2 CO, H C (CO) C H, acetone. 

5. The Phenyls. They are derived from benzene (CeHe) by 
substituting hydroxyl (HO) for one or more atoms of hydrogen. 

Example : 


H C H 

C C 

C 6 H 5 .HO, | || , phenol. 
C C 

H C H 


6. The Quinones. They may be considered derived from 
benzene by substituting two oxygen atoms for two hydrogen 
atoms. Example: 



H A 


c c-o 

C 6 H 4 2 , | | , quinone. 

C C 

H C 


7. The Carbohydrates. These are combinations of six atoms 
of carbon, or some multiple of six, with some multiple of the 
water group (H 2 0). Example: C 6 (H 2 0) 5 , cellulose. 

The Benzene Series. 

Benzene itself (C 6 H 6 ) is not used as an explosive, but lately 
certain of its derivatives have come into prominence as dis- 
ruptive explosives, particularly as charges for shell. 

The chief source of benzene is coal-tar. In the distillation 
of coal-tar, that portion of the distillate which passes over 
between 79 and 82 C. consists chiefly of benzene; it is puri- 
fied by cooling below C., at which temperature it solidifies 
and the lighter hydrocarbons then may be squeezed out by 
pressure. It boils at 80 C. It is insoluble in water, soluble 
in ether, acetone, chloroform, and alcohol. It is a solvent 
for fats and india-rubber, resin, sulphur and essential oils. It is 
inflammable, burning with a smoky flame. It is very volatile 
and its vapor is heavier than air. This vapor mixed with a 
certain proportion of air is explosive. These facts make it 
necessary to be careful about exposing benzene to evaporation 
in laboratory or elsewhere. The lower stratum of air in a room 
may be heavily charged with benzene vapor and the odor of 
it not be detected by a person standing. It has a strong char- 
acteristic odor. 


Nitric acid acts upon it, converting it into nitrobenzene. 
The structural formula of benzene may be written as follows: 


H C H 

C C 


C C 


H C H 


or by way of abbreviation, it is frequently indicated by the 
lines of a hexagon, thus: 

The action of nitric acid is to substitute one or more nitryl 
groups (NC>2) for one or more atoms of hydrogen, giving rise 
to the following molecular relations: 

C 6 H 5 .N0 2 , C 6 H 4 .(N0 2 ) 2 , C 6 H 3 .(N0 2 ) 3 ; or, structurally, 

(N0 2 ) (IS 

F0 2 ) (N0 2 ) 


H C H H ( 

3 (N0 2 ) II C 

(N0 2 ) 

\ X \ / \ X 

\/ \^ ^ 

\ / 

C C C 

C C 


1 II 1 

II 1 


C C C 

C C 


/v\ /v\ H/V 

x \ 

(N0 2 ) 

H H H 

Mononitrobenzene. Nitrobenzene. Mirbane Oil, C 6 

This substance is produced by adding one part of benzene 
to three parts of a mixture of nitric acid (sp. gr. 1.40) and 


sulphuric acid (sp. gr. 1.84), this mixture being made up of 
40 parts of the former to 60 parts of the latter. 

The benzene is added gradually, avoiding too violent chem- 
ical action. The heat due to this action must not be allowed 
to rise too high, the reaction being conducted in running water. 

Mononitrobenzene may be made also by dropping benzene 
into the strongest nitric acid, or into a mixture of equal volumes 
of ordinary nitric acid and sulphuric acid. A violent chemical 
action results, giving rise to red fumes and the liquid becomes 
red. On pouring the liquid into several times its volume of 
water, a heavy oily liquid separates, which is mononitrobenzene. 
The reaction is 

C 6 H 6 4-N0 2 .HO = C 6 H 5 .N0 2 +H 2 0. 

The red fumes result from a secondary reaction not repre- 

The sulphuric acid, if used, is present merely to maintain 
the nitric acid at efficient strength by combining with the 
water formed; it undergoes no resultant chemical change. 

When the chemical action ceases the mixture is allowed 
to cool. The nitrobenzene will be found floating on the top 
of the waste acids. The latter are separated from the former 
by a siphon. The liquid remaining is "purified" of free acid 
by washing with water containing a small quantity of sodium 
carbonate. In order to avoid the formation of dinitrobenzene, 
an excess of benzene must be used in the process. A certain 
quantity of unnitrated benzene, therefore, remains mixed with 
the nitrated product. These are separated from each other 
by a process of vaporization, benzene volatilizing at 80 C., and 
mononitrobenzene not until 205 C. 

Mononitrobenzene has the characteristic odor of bitter al- 
monds. It is sold commercially as mirbane oil, which consists 
of the substance dissolved in alcohol. In this form it is used 
in perfumery and as a flavoring in confectionery. It is poison- 
ous in large doses both as a vapor and a liquid. It is only slightly 
soluble in water. It dissolves readily in alcohol, benzene, and 
concentrated nitric acid. 


Cold mononitrobenzene dissolves nitrocellulose, reducing it 
to a pasty or jelly-like mass. Indurite, a smokeless powder 
invented by Professor C. E. Munroe, consists of guncotton 
freed of the lower nitrocellulose by treatment with methyl 
alcohol and mixed with mononitrobenzene (9 to 18 parts of 
nitrobenzene to 10 of guncotton). Suitable oxidizing salts 
may be added. The mixture is then treated with hot water 
or steam, which has the effect of hardening it to the consistency 
of bone or ivory, hence its name. 

Mononitrobenzene is not explosive alone, but, under the 
application of heat, decomposes with evolution of nitrous 

If heated to a high temperature in the presence of oxygen, 
as when a small amount is placed on a red-hot iron plate, it 
will detonate. 

Ignited in the open air, it burns with a reddish smoky flame, 
owing to the fact that the oxygen of the air does not, under 
these conditions, combine with the freed carbon. If mixed 
with explosive substances, such as guncotton, nitroglycerine, 
etc., the mixture may be detonated by a suitable fulminate 
of mercury primer. 

Mixed with nitroglycerine it serves to lower the freezing- 
point of that explosive. 

Mixed with potassium chlorate it forms the explosive known 
as rackarock. 

Dinitrobenzene, C 6 H 4 (NP 2 )2. 

There are three dinitrobenzene isomers having the same 
molecular formula but having different physical character- 
istics, viz.: meta- melts at 89 C., ortho- at 118 C., para- at 
172 C. 

The dinitrobenzene molecule may be represented as follows^ 
illustrating the principle of isomerides, having the same num- 
ber of atoms in a molecule and the same elements, but possess- 
ing different physical properties, due to the different structural 
arrangement of the atoms within the molecule. 


(N0 a ) (N0 2 ) (N0 a ) 

H C (N0 2 ) H C H H C H 

vv vv vv 

H H (N0 2 ) 

Ortho- Meta- Para- 

The theory is, that when adjacent atoms are displaced one 
substance is produced; when alternate, another; and when 
opposite atoms, still another. That is, the benzene ring of six 
carbon atoms may give rise to the three isomerides. 

Dinitrobenzene is made as explained for mononitrobenzene. 
except that the acid mixture is maintained at boiling tem- 
perature. On cooling, a yellowish crystalline solid separates 
from the liquid in long brilliant prisms. This solid is a mixture 
of the three dinitroisomerides with the meta- predominating. 

It is soluble in warm water and alcohol, and like the mono- 
compound is poisonous. 

Heated in open air it melts, and if the temperature be raised 
it ignites and burns with a smoky flame. 

When mixed with oxidizing substances it forms an explo- 
sive. In this way it is an ingredient of many modern explosives 
(see CundnTs Dictionary of Explosives). 


This explosive is prepared by treating meta-dinitrobenzene 
with concentrated nitric acid and fuming Nordhausen sulphuric 

While the substance possesses possibilities of use as an 
ingredient of explosives, little use has been made of it up to 
the present time. 


Naphthalene, Ci H. 

This substance is a transparent crystalline solid having the 
characteristic odor of coal-gas. 

Its chief source is coal-tar. In the fractional distillation of coal- 
tar it passes over when the temperature rises just above 200 C. 

When coal-tar is distilled the benzene hydrocarbons first 
pass over, constituting what is known as light oil. As the tem- 
perature rises, a heavier yellow oil, heavier than water, passes 
over. This is known as dead oil; it is much more in quantity 
than the light oil, amounting to about one-fourth of the bulk of 
the tar; it contains those constituents which have a high specific 
gravity and high boiling-point. As the temperature of the dis- 
tillation gets above 200 C., a solid is formed in the distillate 
as it cools; this is crystalline naphthalene. It is separated from 
the liquid by pressure. It is freed from the heavier products 
by sublimation. If heated gently at about 200 C., it sublimes 
over and may be collected in the form of small transparent 
white crystals. 

It is inflammable, burning in air with a smoky flame. 

It is insoluble in water; soluble in alcohol, ether, and benzene. 

In its chemical relations it is closely allied to benzene. 

The substitution products derived from naphthalene have 
many isomerides, depending on which atoms of hj^drogen are 

Its relation to benzene is illustrated by its structural for- 
mula, which is written as follows : 

II-;" H 



C C C 


C C C 


H C C H 


Its nitro-substitution products are more numerous, as a 
matter of course, than those of benzene, since there are a greater 
number of hydrogen atoms available for replacement by the 
nitryl radical (N0 2 ) . 

While this substance is not explosive alone, some of its 
derivatives are susceptible of forming explosives, and the many 
possibilities presented by a study of its derivatives marks it as 
one of the most promising organic substances in connection 
with further developments of explosives. 

Mononitronaphthalene, Cio 

Pulverized naphthalene is added to a mixture of four parts 
of nitric acid (sp. gr. 1.40) and five parts of sulphuric acid 
(sp. gr. 1.84). The naphthalene is added' little by little and 
constantly stirred. The temperature of the mixture is kept so 
that it does not fall below 71 C., in order that the nitro- 
naphthalene formed will not solidify. When the nitration is 
completed the charge is run off into lead-lined tanks, wherein 
the mononitronaphthalene crystallizes out. It is separated by 
pressure from the waste acids, washed in hot water, then granu- 
alted in cold water and washed until all trace of free acid is 

It melts at 61 C. ; and crystallizes from the fused state in 
needle-like yellow crystals. It is only slightly volatile when 
warmed or heated by steam. 

It is insoluble in water; soluble in alcohol, t^ner, benzene, 
carbon disulphide. 

If heated above 300 C., it decomposes. 

It is not explosive alone, but in connection with oxygen- 
carriers may become explosive, as, for example, in the Favier 
explosives of France, in which it is associated with ammonium 


Dinitronaphthalene, Ci H 6 (N0 2 )2. 

This is made from the mononitronaphthalene by heating 
it with cold concentrated nitric acid, or from the unnitrated 
naphthalene by nitrating at boiling-heat until entirely dissolved, 
using the strongest acid, or a mixture of a weaker nitric acid 
(1 part) with sulphuric acid (2 parts) . 

It is a bright-yellow crystalline solid, the crystals forming 
in long slender needles. 

It melts at 185 C. It is insoluble in water, slightly soluble 
in ether and in alcohol, less so in carbon disulphide and cold 
nitric acid. It is readily soluble in hot xylene, benzene, acetic 
acid, and turpentine. 

If crystallized from its solution in acetic acid, it appears to 
take the form of an isomeride having a melting-point of 216 C. 

It is chiefly used in the " safety " explosives in association 
with ammonium nitrate. 

Trinitro- and tetranitro-naphthalene may be formed by 
repeated nitration of dinitronaphthalene at higher temper- 
atures. While possibly available as ingredients of explosives, 
associated with oxygen-carriers, little use has as yet been 
made of them. 

Phenol, Cells (HO). Carbolic Acid. 

Also called phenic acid, hydroxybenzene, benzene hydroxide 
and monohydrate of benzene. 

It results from the oxidation of benzene. 

Its chief source is coal-tar. It passes over in the fractional 
distillation of coal-tar between 150 and 200 C. It forms a 
part of the "heavy oil" in this process. After the distillation 
of heavy oil is allowed to cool and the naphthalene has crystal- 
lized out and been separated, the remaining liquid is treated 
with caustic soda and stirred. On standing, two layers of 
liquids are observed. The upper layer consists of the higher 


hydrocarbons of the benzene series, the lower of a solution of 
sodium phenylate. This is acted upon by sulphuric acid and 
purified by further fractional distillation. The phenol distils 
over at between 180 and 190 C.; from the distillate it crys- 
tallizes out on cooling in needle-like crystals. 

It fuses at 42 C.; boils at 182 C.; is soluble in 15 parts 
of cold water; readily soluble in ether and alcohol. 198 parts 
by weight combine with 18 parts by weight of water, when heated 
together, forming the aquate (C 6 H 5 HO) 2 Aq, which forms on 
cooling six-sided prisms; the aquate fuses at 16 C. and is readily 
soluble in water. The commercial phenol is usually the aquate 
and soon becomes liquid when the bottle is placed in warm 
water. Once fused it has a tendency to remain in that state, 
but solidifies suddenly if the cork is removed. 

It blisters the skin and is very poisonous. 

It is used as an antiseptic and to arrest fermentation and 


H C H 


Its structural formula is: 1 

C C 


H C H 


Phenols combine more readily with alkalies than alcohols 
do, and this property gave rise originally to the designation 
"acid" used with it. It may be deoxidized by passing its 
vapor over heated zinc-dust, C&H^HO) + Zn = C6H 6 + ZnO. 

Certain compounds of phenol are used as color tests for 
acids and alkalies. 

1 Benzene forms other hydroxides, including dihydroxides C 6 H 4 (HO) 2 and 
the trihydroxide C 6 H 3 (HO) 3 , pyrogallol. 


The aqueous solution of phenol gives the following color 
indications : 

With ferric chloride: purple-blue. 

With ammonium hydroxide and calcium chloride: blue. 

With mercury dissolved in nitric acid: yellow precipitate. 
The yellow precipitate dissolves with dark-red color in nitric 

The most important of its color-test compounds is Phe- 
nolphthalein. This is used in the manufacture of all nitro-ex- 
plosives to test for the presence of the salts of sodium or potas- 
sium, the presence of the carbonates or hydroxides of these 
metals being indicated by a red color. If a carbonate is tested, 
it should be in boiling solution, driving off free C0 2 , as free C0 2 
will neutralize the test, phenolphthalein giving no color in excess 
of C0 2 . 

Picric Acid, (C 6 H 2 .HO(N0 2 )3). Trinitrophenol. 


(N0 2 ) C (N0 2 ) 


C C 

Its structural formula is: II I 

H C H 

(N0 2 ) 

When phenol is treated with nitric acid it may form three 
nitrates, namely: mononitrophenol (C6H 4 .HO.N0 2 ), the dinitro- 
phenol (C 6 H 3 .HO(N0 2 )2), and the trinitrophenol. The last only 
has, as yet, found application in explosives. It recently has 
found use not only as an explosive itself, but more particu- 
larly as an ingredient of special explosive mixtures. It and 
its salts (the picrates) find application in detonating or dis- 
ruptive explosives only. Most of the new so-called " shell-filler " 


explosives are either picric acid, mixtures with it or deriv- 
atives thereof. Among these may be mentioned Ecrasite, 
Austrian '^Lyddite, English; Melinite, French; Shimose, Japan- 
ese; Abel's picric powder and Brugere's powder (nitre and 
picrate of ammonium); one form of Rackarock (nitroben- 
zene and picric acid). 


Equal quantities by weight of concentrated H2S04 and 
phenol are mixed in an iron vessel, stirred and heated by steam 
to from 212 to 250 F. From time to time tests are made 
to see if the phenol -sulphonic acid formed is soluble in cold 
water. When this is so the mixture is allowed to cool and 
twice the quantity of water is added. 

The nitration then takes place in earthen vessels standing 
in running water which can be heated by steam-pipes. 
Three parts by weight of nitric acid is placed in these receivers 
and one part of the sulphonic solution is added. The latter 
is allowed to run in gradually, as at first the reaction is violent. 
Afterwards it becomes sluggish and then steam is turned on 
and the temperature of the solution raised to restore the chemi- 
cal action. 

The picric acid formed separates at first as a sirupy liquid 
and becomes crystalline on cooling. It is separated from the 
mother-liquor in a centrifugal machine, and is washed in the 
same machine with pure warm water. The crystals are fur- 
ther purified by redissolving in warm water, recrystallizing, 
and finally drying at 95 F. 1 

1 It is reported that Professor Arthur G. Green, of the Department of 
Technical Chemistry of the University of Leeds, has invented a method of 
manufacturing picric acid directly from benzene instead of by the indirect 
method of first producing carbolic acid from benzene, and then picric 
acid from carbolic acid. The yield by the direct process is said to be 
much greater. 


The reactions of the process are: 

C 6 H 5 HO + H 2 S0 4 = C 6 H 4 (S0 3 H)HO + H 2 ; 

Phenol-sulphonic acid 

C 6 H 4 (S0 3 H)HO + 3HN0 3 = C 6 H 2 (N0 2 ) 3 OH + H 2 S0 4 + 2H 2 0. 

Picric acid has an extraordinarily bitter taste. 
It always gives an acid reaction. 

It is sparingly soluble in cold water; it dissolves in hoc 
water, giving a bright-yellow color to a Iarg3 volume of 

It dissolves readily in alcohol. Its solution stains the 
skin and other organic matter yellow and is used in dyeing for 
this purpose. It is one of the few acids which form sparingly 
soluble potassium salts. A cold aqueous solution of picric 
acid is an excellent test for any soluble potassium salt, giving, 
when added, a yellow, adherent, crystalline precipitate of 
potassium picrate. This salt in the solid state and dry is 
very sensitive, exploding with violence if heated or struck. 

Considerable diversity of opinion has existed as to whether 
picric acid is explosive if subjected to simple heating. There 
is no doubt that it is less explosive than nitroglycerine and gun- 
cotton. If a small mass is heated in a capsule or flask, it melts 
and gives off vapors which ignite and burn without causing 
an explosion. A very small quantity may be sublimed if care- 
fully heated in a glass tube. It is a mistake, however, to think 
that picric acid is incapable of explosion by simple heating. 
If it is heated to a high temperature, it decomposes with disen- 
gagement of heat, developing a process of oxidation. When a 
decomposition liberates heat, its rapidity increases with the 
pressure or confinement for a given temperature, or with the 
temperature for a given pressure; in the latter case, the decom- 
position increases very rapidly. This principle suggests that 
picric acid would explode if either the temperature or pressure 
of its environment should increase, and still more rapidly if 


both temperature and pressure increased together: this is the 
condition existing when it is heated in a closed space. 

Picric acid may, in accordance with these principles, be 
made to detonate if heated very suddenly to a high temperature 
in an open vessel at the ordinary pressure, especially if the 
vessel be heated itself beforehand, so that there is little loss of 
heat by conduction. 

If a glass tube 25 to 30 mm. long be heated to redness 
and one or two small particles of picric acid be thrown into it, 
they will explode before they can vaporize. If the mass be 
consideraby increased, the walls of the tube may be sufficiently 
cooled by the mass of the picric acid to modify or destroy 
entirely the explosive effect. 

Similar experiments may be conducted with mononitro- 
benzene, dinitrobenzene, mono-, di-, and tri-nitronaphthalene. 

The nature of the decomposition, whether explosive or non- 
explosive, and the degree thereof depend on the temperature 
of the enclosure, the temperature and mass of the explosive 

If, however, a large mass of an explosive, like any of those just 
named, were to ignite in a closed space, its decomposition would 
generate more and more heat, the temperature would rise higher 
and higher, and the phenomenon might cause a detonation at 
some particular point, and the explosive wave there started 
might be transmitted throughout a very large mass. 

In 1887 a disastrous explosion of picric acid took place in 
the chemical works of Messrs. Roberts, Dale & Company, at 
Manchester, England. An investigation at that time, and 
experiments since made, have revealed the fact that if picric 
acid is in contact with some metals or the oxides or nitrates 
of some metals, such as lead, iron, strontium, potassium, 
it is quite likely that very sensitive explosive salts may 
be formed. Litharge, the oxide of lead, particularly, has a 
tendency to form very sensitive compounds if in contact 
with picric acid, and may cause the detonation of a large 
mass of it. 


Many accidents have resulted in handling shells charged 
with lyddite which are presumed to have been due to the for- 
mation of such sensitive compounds. 

For these reasons red or white lead should not be used to 
seal the screw-threads of shell-plugs when the shells are filled 
with picric acid or derivatives thereof. 

Picrates, C 6 H 2 (N0 2 )3.MO. (In which M represents some 
metal radical.) 


(NO 2 ) C (N0 2 ) 


C C 

Structural formula: 

C C 


H C H 

(N0 2 ) 

For many years attempts have been made to use the 
picrates of certain metals as ingredients of explosives. In 
1869 a class of powders were introduced in France, known as 
Designolle's Powders, consisting of picrate of potassium, niter, 
and charcoal. Potassium picrate is, however, too sensitive 
to give a serviceable explosive. About the same time, Brugere 
in France and Abel in England suggested the use of ammo- 
nium picrate instead of potassium picrate. These powders 
gave excellent results. 

Brugere's powder contained: 

Picrate of ammonium 54 parts 

Niter 46 " 

It was stable, safe to manufacture, burned with slower rate 
than black powder, was less hygroscopic, had little smoke 


small residue, did not attack metals. In the small-arm rifle it 
gave about 2J times the effect of black powder. 

Abel's powder was practically the same, the proportion 
being 60 parts of ammonium picrate to 40 of nitre. 

Ammonium picrate appears to be the only picrate which 
has given satisfactory results. While the metallic picrates are 
very sensitive to shock, ammonium picrate is quite insensitive. 
It is also very stable, showing no tendency to form ammonium 
nitrate in the above mixtures. 

It is easily made by saturating a hot solution of picric acid 
with a concentrated solution of ammonium hydroxide, or by 
passing ammonia-gas through a hot solution of picric acid. As 
soon as the solution is completely saturated with the new salt 
it is allowed to cool, when ammonium picrate separates in the 
form of long yellow prisms. 1 

If ignited, it burns without any tendency to explosion. 

It is insensitive to shock of any kind, and can be detonated 
only by a very powerful primer. 

Trinitrotoluol, C 6 H 2 (N02)3-CH 3 , also known as trotol; tri- 
tone; trinitrotoluene; trinitromethylbenzene; tolite; trilite; 
trinol; trotyl. 

Its structural formula may be written as follows: 

(CH 3 ) 

(N0 2 ) C C (N0 2 ) 

H C C-H 


(N0 2 ) 

Its relation to the benzene series is clearly evidenced by 
its structural formula, which is similar to that of picric acid 
and the picrates, except that the organic radical, CH 3 (methyl), 


replaces the hydroxyl radical of picric acid and the metallic rad- 
ical of the picrates. From this chemical similarity it might well 
be assumed that it would occupy a field in explosives analo- 
gous to that of picric acid and the picrates, and this is the 
fact. It has, however, some advantages of an important 
nature which suggest that it may eventually replace both 
picric acid and the picrates as a shell-filler, the most important 
of which is that it does not form sensitive compounds by com- 
bination with the metals. Its explosive force also is slightly 
less than either picric acid or the picrates. 1 

Manufacture. The material is neither difficult nor dangerous 
to make. Commercial mononitrotoluene is made by acting on 
1 part toluene 2 with 3 parts, by weight, of mixed nitric and 
sulphuric acids (40HN0 3 , sp. gr. 1.495, to COH 2 S0 4 , sp. gr. 
1.84); the result is a mixture of isomeric bodies. This mixture 
may be converted into dinitrotoluene by nitrating with 2 parts 
of the acid mixture to 1 part of the mononitro product; the 
dinitro products thus produced may be converted into trinitro- 
toluol by nitrating again with stronger nitric acid, but there is 
a considerable loss of acid and the yield is not high. 

" According to Haussermann, it is more advantageous to 
start with the orthoparadinitrotoluene, which is prepared by 
allowing a mixture of 75 parts of 91 to 92 per cent nitric acid 
(sp. gr. 1.495) and 150 parts of 95 to 96 per cent sulphuric 
acid (sp. gr. 1.840) to run in a thin stream into 100 parts of 
paranitrotoluene, while the latter is kept at a temperature 
between 60 C. and 65 C., and continually stirred. When the 
acid has all been run in, this mixture is heated for half an 
hour to 80 C., and allowed to stand until cold. The excess 
of nitric acid is then removed. The residue after this treatment 
is a homogeneous crystalline mass of orthoparadinitrotoluene, 

1 Experiments at Picatinny Arsenal indicate that the theoretical force of 
picric acid is 135,800 pounds per square inch, that of Explosive D 124,600 
pounds per square inch, and that of trinitrotoluol is 119,000 pounds per 
square inch. 

2 Toluene is a by-product in the manufacture of illuminating coal-gas. 


of which the solidifying point is 69.5 C. To convert this 
mass into the trinitro derivative, it is dissolved by gently 
heating it with four times its weight of sulphuric acid (95 to 
96 per cent, sp. gr. 1.540), and it is then mixed with one and 
one-half times its weight of nitric acid 90 to 92 per cent, sp. gr. 
1.495), the mixture being kept cool. Afterwards it is digested 
at 90 C. to 95 C., with occasional stirring, until the evolution 
of gas ceases. This takes place in about four or five hours. 
The operation is now stopped, the product allowed to cool, 
and the excess of nitric acid separated from it. The residue is 
then washed with hot water and very dilute soda solution, and 
allowed to solidify without purification. The solidifying point 
is 79 C., and the mass is then white, with a radiating crystal- 
line structure. Bright sparkling crystals may be obtained by 
recrystallization from hot alcohol. This product melts at 
81.5 C." i 

A recent modification of the manufacture permits a melting- 
point as low as 75.5 C., which allows second crystallization 
to be omitted. 

It is most usual to nitrate in three stages, using a mixture 
of nitric and sulphuric acids (as single-stage nitration requires 
stronger acids, which give lower yield and have other disad- 
vantages). In the three-stage operation, the spent acids from 
the last process are used in the second, etc., weaker solutions 
being required in the earlier nitrations and stronger for the 
tri-nitration. Nitration is done in vessels arranged for control 
of temperatures, which are about 135 F., 185 F., and 220 F. 
in the three stages respectively. 

When nitration is complete, the stirrers are stopped and the 
acid settles to bottom, the nitrated material coming to the top, 
and the acid is drawn off. 

Purification following nitration consists of boiling in water 
with agitation by compressed air and addition of soda to neu- 
tralize acid, followed by several neutral boilings until acid-free. 

1 J. C. Sanford, " Nitro Explosives." 


The molten material is then run out through a jet into cold water, 
to prevent formation of large lumps. The material is next 
melted in a pot (with some water to help separation of impur- 
ities) and then cooled in pots to a finely crystallized condition. 
These processes eliminate impurities, but do not remove the 
mono- and di-nitro products. 

Crystallization after a further melting with some solvent, 
which will remove the products of lower nitration, must follow 
if a higher melting-point than about 75.5 C. is required. The 
solvents used by manufacturers are trade secrets. 

After complete purification and crystallization the product 
is dried, screened and boxed. 

Properties. Trinitrotoluol when pure has no odor and is 
a slightly yellow fine crystalline powder; it assumes a brownish 
appearance as the impurities increase. It melts at from 
79 C. to 81.5 C., depending upon the presence of isomers. 
If melted and allowed to cool it crystallizes and forms a very 
vesiculated mass which is difficult to explode. It should be 
melted in a water-bath, though it is not likely to be exploded 
under any application of heat for melting. The sharpness of 
the crystallizing point is a good indication of purity. It is 
insoluble in water, and traces only pass into solution at a tem- 
perature of 40 C. 

Its specific gravity when in the form of non-compressed 
crystals is from 0.8 to 1.0. It dissolves in alcohol, ether, benzene, 
and toluol. 

Commercial trotol undergoes some change when exposed to 
metals, in the presence of salt water, but does not lose its ex- 
plosive properties; no sensitive compounds are formed by the 

It behaves in a very stable manner when exposed to the 
air under varying conditions of temperature. It is unaffected 
by contact with metals even in the presence of moisture, and 
forms no sensitive compound due to such contact. 

It is a very powerful explosive when detonated, but cannot 
be exploded by flame or strong percussion; a rifle bullet may be 


fired through it without effect. Its ignition point is 180 C. 
When flame is applied to a mass of the explosive it melts, takes 
fire, and burns quietly with a heavy black smoke. 

It may be detonated in its crystalline form by a mercury 
fulminate exploder. Heavy black smoke comes off when it is 
detonated in air and a characteristic black cloud is seen at the 
surface when it is detonated under water. A package of it in 
ordinary paper with a mercury fulminate exploder embedded 
in the powder may be detonated under water. A mound of it 
may be prepared, a depression made in the center and filled 
with water, a fulminate exploder placed in the water, and the 
whole mass detonated by the firing of the exploder. 

Its explosive force at points some distance from the charge, 
when in a loose crystalline form, is about the same as that of 
Explosive "D," and from 50 to 75 per cent greater than that 
of guncotton wet with 25 per cent of moisture, but is not 
greater at points in close proximity to the charge. Its specific 
explosive force is less than that of guncotton. 

As a bursting charge for projectiles it is less efficient than 
Explosive " D," on account of the fact that a greater weight of 
the latter can be inserted into a given volume. Except in the 
cast form, in which condition it is extremely difficult to de- 
tonate, it is more sensitive to shock than is Explosive " D," 
and as a bursting charge for projectiles will not withstand im- 
pact on hard-faced armor without exploding. 

Chemical Specifications for Military Trinitrotoluol. 

(1) The material must be chemically pure, and in the form 
of a slightly yellow, fine and uniform crystalline powder passing 
through a 12-mesh screen. No odor of any by-product or crystal- 
lizing agent must be present. 

(2) Melting-point must be from 80.5 to 81.5 C., and must 
be sharp and distinct. 


(3) Ash must not be greater than 0.10 per cent. 

(4) Insoluble matter from a solution of 10 grams in 150 c.c. 
alcohol must not be greater than 0.15 per cent. 

(5) Moisture must not be greater than 0.10 per cent. 

(6) There must be no acidity. 

(7) No uncoverted toluol, or dinitrotoluol or any other by- 
product must be present. 

(8) Nitrogen must not be less than 18.30 per cent deter- 
mined by Dumas' combustion method. Pure trinitrotoluol con- 
tains 18.5 per cent nitrogen. 

(9) The material must stand a heat- test at 65.5 C. with 
K. I. starch paper of at least 30 minutes. 


(1) Solidifying Point. Take a porcelain basin 15 cm. 
diameter and a capacity of about 500 c.c., dry the basin thor- 
oughly, and then take about 200 to 250 grams of trinitrotoluol; 
melt the trinitrotoluol but do not let the temperature get 
above 90 C. ; then, when all the trinitrotoluol is melted, remove 
the source of heat and stir with a thermometer that has been 
standardized; the temperature falls gradually until the tri- 
nitrotoluol begins to solidify, when it rises; keep on stirring 
until the highest point is reached, then note the degree of 
temperature as the solidifying point. 

(2) Softening Point, Melting-point Begins, Melting-point 
Ends. Take a small quantity of trinitrotoluol, grind it up as 
fine as possible, and place in a capillary tube sealed at one 
end (the tube having about 2J mm. bore); attach to a 
standardized thermometer by means of a rubber ring, then 
place in a glass beaker nearly full of water and heat up slowly; 
note that temperature (a) at which it softens, (6) begins to 
melt, (c) ends melting, (a) should not be less than 79 C., 
(6) should not be less than 80.5 C. and (c) should not be 
greater than 82 C. 


(3) Specific Gravity. Take a quantity of trinitrotoluol and 
melt up in a dry basin; fill up a test-tube with the melted tri- 
nitrotoluol; suspend it in a water-bath filled with water that is 
kept at the boiling-point. Place a hydrometer in the test-tube, 
leave it for a few minutes, and then note the reading of the 
hydrometer when the temperature of the whole is at 100 C. 
The specific gravity in powdered form closely packed is 1.55; 
in melted form, 1.65. 

(4) Softening Test. Take 5 grams of trinitrotoluol and 
grind up fine; place in a crucible 40 mm. depth and 50 mm. 
diameter at the top; then place in an oven and keep the 
temperature at 70 C. for one hour. The sample should not 

(5) Staining Test. Grind a small quantity of trinitrotoluol 
finely and place on a sheet of clean white paper, keep for 24 
hours; the paper should show no stain. 

(6) Ash. Weigh a small crucible and put in about 8 grams 
of trinitrotoluol; heat the trinitrotoluol gently until it has 
all burned away; then heat strongly for about 15 minutes, 
cool, weigh, and again heat till the weight is constant. 

(7) Heat-test. Weigh 2 grams of trinitrotoluol and grind 
up fine; place in a clean dry test-tube and apply the potassium- 
iodide heat test. No color should appear for 30 minutes. 

(8) Acidity. Boil in a porcelain basin some distilled water; 
weigh 25 grams of trinitrotoluol; place it in the basin and 
allow to boil for a few minutes, stirring up well. Then allow 
to cool and keep stirring till the trinitrotoluol is solid; then 


add a little phenolphthalein, and titrate with ^ caustic soda 


till just neutral. From the data obtained, the sulphuric acid 
in 100 grams of the explosive may be calculated. 


Alcohols, Ethers,, Ketones. 

Alcohols and alcohol derivatives are used either in the 
manufacture or as ingredients of modern explosives. 

The alcohols may be regarded as formed from the hydro- 
carbons of the paraffin series by substituting the radical HO 
for one or more of the hydrogen atoms. They are, therefore, 
as already indicated, properly organic hydroxides of the paraffin 
series. Some authorities consider all hydroxides of the hydro- 
carbons as alcohols, there being a series of alcohols correspond- 
ing to each series of hydrocarbons. 

Alcohols containing (HO) are monohydric; 
(HO) 2 " dihydric; 
(HO) 3 " trihydric; 
" " etc. " etc. 

There are but two alcohols proper which need be described 
in connection with substances used in explosives, namely, 
monohydric ethyl alcohol, C2H 5 .HO, and trihydric propenyl 
alcohol (glycerine), C3H 5 (HO)3. 

The structural formula of ethyl alcohol is 

H H 

-O-H C 2 H 5 .HO; 

I I 
H H 

H C-C 

of glycerine: 


H C-0 H 

H C H C 3 H 5 .(HO) 3 . 
H C O H 


Two other substances may be referred to here as allied in 
structure to the alcohols, in order to emphasize both the rela- 
tion existing and the differences in structure. 

1. Ethyl ether, which, as before explained, is the oxide of 
the paraffin hydrocarbon radical, C 2 H 5 . Its molecular formula 
is (C 2 H 5 ) 2 and its structural formula is 
H H H H 

H C C 0-C C H 


H H H H 

2. Cellulose. This has a more complex structure. It does 
not fall strictly under the alcohols or ethers, but its chemical 
behavior leads to its classification as a hexhydric alcohol. 
Under this conception its structural formula, using a double 
grouping, may be written as follows: 

H C H HC0 i 

H C H HC0 

H 0-C-H H C 0-H 


C H H C H 

H C 

1 C H H C H 

l I 

Another hydrocarbon derivative closely allied to the fore- 
going is acetone or dimethyl ketone (CH 3 .CO.CH 3 ). The rela- 
tion is as follows: 

Acetic acid results from the oxidation of alcohol: 

C 2 H 5 .HO + 2 = CH 3 .HO.CO +H 2 0. 

1 Quinone arrangement suggested by Dr. John W. Mallet, University of 
Virginia. See Walke's Lectures on Explosives, p. 205. 


Acetone may be considered as derived from acetic acid by 
displacing the HO group by a paraffin hydrocarbon radical, thus: 

acetic acid: CH 3 .CO.HO; acetone: CH 3 .CO.CH 3 . 

Acetone is the standard solvent for highly nitrated 
celluloses used in smokeless powders containing nitroglycerine, 
and ordinary guncotton for demolitions, etc. 

A mixture of ethyl alcohol, (C 2 H 5 )HO, and ethyl ether, 
(C 2 H 5 ) 2 0, in the proportion by volume of 1 to 2 is used in dis- 
solving nitrocellulose of medium nitration in the manufacture 
of smokeless powders that are made of pure nitrocellulose 
without an admixture of nitroglycerine. 

Ethyl Alcohol. Vinic Alcohol. Alcohol. C 2 H 5 .HO. 

When mixed with water known as spirits of wine. 

As stated above this substance is one of the ingredients of 
the solvent used in colloiding nitrocellulose in making smoke- 
less powder. 

It is a colorless liquid having a characteristic odor and 
burning taste. 

Pure or " absolute" alcohol has a specific gravity of 0.794 
at 15 C. It freezes at - 130.5 C. Its boiling-point is 78.3 C. 
It burns with a blue smokeless flame, the reaction of com- 
bustion being as follows: 

C 2 H 5 .HO + 6 = 2C0 2 + SHaO. 

It evaporates rapidly in the open air without combining 
with oxygen. Exposed to the air it absorbs water. Bottles 
containing it should therefore be tightly corked. It mixes 
with water in all proportions, evolving little heat and giving 
a mixture rather smaller in volume than the sum of the volumes 
of the constituents. 

Next to water it is the most universal solvent. It is 
especially useful as a solvent of certain resins and alkaloids 
which are insoluble in water. 


To test for alcohol in a liquid, add HC1 and enough potassium 
dichromate to give an orange-yellow color. Divide between 
two test-tubes for comparison. Heat one until the liquid 
boils. If alcohol is present, the color will change to green 
and give off odor of aldehyd. 

The strength of alcohol is usually determined by its specific 
gravity. This may be determined by using a hydrometer for 
liquids lighter than water, or by weighing a few cubic centi- 
metres carefully measured, the weight in grams per cubic 
centimetre will be its specific gravity (1 cubic centimetre H 2 
at standard density = 1 gram) . 

In the commercial grades, rectified spirit has a specific 
gravity of 0.833 and contains 84% of alcohol; proof spirit has 
a specific gravity of 0.92 and contains only 49% of alcohol. 
This is the weakest spirit that will answer the old rough proof 
of firing gunpowder which has been moistened with it. 

Ethyl Ether, (C 2 H 5 ) 2 0. 

May be considered as derived from the corresponding alcohol 
by process of dehydration. Ethyl ether is sometimes called 
sulphuric ether, from the fact that it is prepared by distilling a 
mixture of ethyl alcohol with sulphuric acid in the proportion 
by volume of 2 to 1. The sulphuric acid is left unchanged by 
the process, the reaction being apparently as follows : 

1. Production of hydro-ethyl sulphate (H.C 2 H 5 .S04) : 

C 2 H 5 .HO + H 2 S0 4 =C 2 H 5 JLS0 4 + H 2 0. 

2. Production of ethyl ether heating with more alcohol at 
140 C. : 

C 2 H 5 .H.S0 4 * C 2 H 5 .HO = (C 2 H 5 ) 2 + H 2 S0 4 . 

The ethers as a class are insoluble in water and lighter 
and more volatile than the corresponding alcohols. They are 
not as easily acted upon chemically by other bodies as 
alcohols are. 


Ethyl ether is a very mobile, colorless liquid with a charac- 
teristic odor; has specific gravity of 0.70 at 15 C.; it boils at 
34.9 C.; evaporates rapidly in air at ordinary temperatures, 
producing great cold and yielding a heavy vapor (specific 
gravity 2.59) which is very inflammable and in unskilled hands 
is dangerous. It is very sparingly soluble in water, requiring 
10 volumes of H 2 to dissolve 1 volume of ether. 34 volumes of 
ether are required to dissolve 1 volume of H 2 0. But commer- 
cial ether contains alcohol, and this latter takes up considerable 
water. Ether and alcohol may be mixed in any proportion, 
but the addition of excess of water displaces the ether. Ether 
dissolves the nitre-substitution compounds and is the great 
solvent for fats. 

Acetone, CH 3 .CO.CH 3 . Dimethyl-ketone. 

Acetone is the solvent for cellulose that has been nitrated so 
as to contain a high percentage of nitrogen, say 12.9% or above. 
At ordinary temperature and pressure cellulose so nitrated is 
not soluble in the ether-alcohol mixture, but is soluble in acetone. 
Acetone is found among the products resulting from the dis- 
tillation of wood. When wood is distilled, the condensed prod- 
ucts separate into two layers : the lower is wood-tar, and the 
upper is a mixture of water, methyl alcohol, acetic acid, and 

Acetone is a colorless liquid with characteristic, pleasant 
odor; specific gravity 0.81; boils at 56.3 C. 

It burns with a bright flame; it evaporates readily, and its 
vapor is dangerous if mixed with air. It mixes with water, 
alcohol, and ether in all proportions. Adding KHO to its 
aqueous solution displaces it and it rises to the surface. It 
is a good solvent for resins, camphors, fats, guncotton and nitro- 
glycerine, and freely dissolves the nitro-substitution compounds. 


Glycerine. Glyceryl Hydroxide. Propenyl Alcohol. 
C 3 H 5 (HO) 3 . 

Glycerine is a trihydric alcohol, having the structural 


H 0-C H 
H C H 
H C H 

It may be obtained from all fats and is the sweet principle 
of them. Fats are sometimes called glycerides. 

Glycerine is also formed as a by-product in the alcoholic 
fermentation of grape-sugar, and is present in small quantities 
in beer and wine. It is a by-product also in the manufacture 
of soaps and candles, being separated in the mother-liquor when 
fats are saponified by lime or superheated steam. The cruae 
glycerine resulting from these processes is purified by distillation. 
A quantity of crude glycerine is placed in a copper still, ana 
steam at 280 C. is forced through it. The pure glycerine is 
volatilized, passes over, and is condensed. 

Glycerine is a colorless sirupy liquid, its viscosity increas- 
ing as the temperature is lowered. Although it is a viscous 
liquid, it has the property of working its way by capillary actipn 
through the smallest openings or fissures. Its specific gravity 
is 1.269 at 12 C.; it boils at 290 C., but then undergoes partial 
decomposition; it is slightly volatile at 100 C., but not at 
ordinary temperatures. Glycerine crystals may be obtained 
from an aqueous solution kept for some time at C. Pure 
glycerine solidifies at 40 C., forming a gummy mass. It 
ignites at 150 C. in air, burning with a faint blue flame resem- 
bling that of alcohol. It absorbs water readily from the air 


It mixes with water and alcohol in all proportions. It is in- 
soluble in ether, but is soluble in ether-alcohol mixtures. It 
is soluble in carbon disulphide, petroleum, benzene, chloroform. 
Glycerine is one of the most important solvents, dissolving 
most substances which are soluble in water, and some others, 
such as some metallic oxides, which are not. 

The best test of identifying glycerine is to mix it with KHS0 4 
and heat it strongly, when the unpleasant odor of acrolein 
(odor of smouldering candles) is noticed. 

Its importance in explosives results from the fact that it 
forms nitroglycerine when acted upon by nitric acid. 

Cellulose, C 6 H 10 5 or n(C 6 H 10 5 ). 

Cellulose is by far the most important substance used in 
the manufacture of the new explosives. It is the source from 
which guncotton and most of the smokeless powders are 

As already stated, the most recent practice classifies cellu- 
lose as a hexhydric alcohol, although its molecule has not the 
simple structure of the alcohol series. 

Captain Willoughby Walke, Artillery Corps, on page 205 of 
his Lectures on Explosives, gives the suggestion of Dr. John 
W. Mallet, the celebrated chemist of -the University of Virginia, 
that only three atoms of hydrogen are grouped in the hydroxyl 
radical, the fourth hydrogen atom being united directly to the 
carbon atom, while the corresponding oxygen atom and the 
remaining free oxygen atom are linked together with the same 
carbon atoms after the manner of grouping of oxygen atoms 
in quinone, thus : 



If tnis be adopted, the cellulose molecule may be written 
as follows for the double molecule : 

I I 

H C H H-C 

: c o 

H C H H- 

H C H H C-O-H 

H 0-C-H H C H 

I I 

C H H C H 

I I I 

C H H C H. 

I I 

The formula for the single molecule C 6 Hi 5 may be 
arranged after the plan of the quinone group, thus: 


(HO) C H H C 

I I I 

(HO) C H H C O 



A cellulose ring may be written composed of any number of 
groups of this type of arrangement. It should be understood, 
however, that this arrangement of the cellulose molecule is 
theoretical and of value only in so far as it agrees with 
observed chemical facts. 



The group 5(C 6 H 10 5 ) would be written structurally as 

Cellulose is the constituent of the cell- walls of all plants. 
When the soluble ingredients of all forms of vegetable life 
and mineral substances are removed, cellulose remains as 
a white, opaque, organized structure. White filter-paper, 
cotton wool, and pure linen fibre are familiar examples of 

It is infusible; insoluble in all ordinary solvents. It is dis- 
solved by "Schweitzer's Reagent " (a solution of cupric hydrox- 
ide in ammonia) ; it is precipitated from this solution by adding 
an acid. 

Cellulose subjected to heat alone, as in destructive distilla- 
tion, breaks up into organic volatile compounds, especially into 
certain organic acids, such as : 


Formic: H C H 


Acetic: H C C H 


H H 

Propionic: H C C C H 

H H 

H H H 
Butyric : H C C C C H 

I I ! 

H H H 

Strong sulphuric acid acts on dry cellulose, converting it 
into a gummy mass which dissolves in the cold in an excess of 
the acid with very little color. 

Unsized paper immersed in a cold mixture of strong sul- 
phuric acid with one-half its volume of water converts the 
cellulose into a tenacious translucent substance called amyloid. 
A strong solution of zinc chloride affects cellulose in the same 
way. This property is made use of in manufacturing vegetable 
parchment, shipping-tags, cartridge paper, etc.; it increases the 
strength of paper about five times and makes it water proof. 

Cellulose left in a bath of sulphuric acid (specific gravity 
1.453) or in hydrochloric acid (specific gravity 1.16) for 12 
hours is converted into a brittle mass of hydrocellulose 
(Ci 2 H 2 oOio.H 2 0) which is more easily oxidized than cellulose 
and is soluble in a hot solution of potassium hydroxide. This is 
made use of in separating cotton from old fabrics (rags) of 
cotton and wool mixed; the wool remaining is called shoddy. 


Dry-rot in wood is supposed to be due to a similar 

The action of nitric acid on cellulose will be described later, 
in connection with the manufacture of guncotton and smokeless 

Liquefied chlorine or bromine, or a mixture of these two 
elements, have been used as charges for steel shells and hand 
grenades in the European war. The shells on striking are 
exploded by percussion, and the liberated liquefied gases vapor- 
ize as soon as released from pressure, causing great pain to all 
exposed membranous surfaces such as the eyes and the breathing 
organs. (See page 370, Appendix III). 



As a matter of practical military interest, explosives may 
be divided into three classes, namely: 

1. Progressive or propelling explosives. (Low explosives.) 

2. Detonating or disruptive explosives. (High explosives.) 

3. Detonators or exploders. (Fulminates.) 

The first includes all classes of gunpowders used in fire- 
arms of all kinds; the second, explosives used in shell, 
torpedoes, and for demolitions of all kinds; the third, those 
explosives used to originate explosive reactions 1 in the first 
two classes. 

Each of these classes is distinguished by the character 
of the explosive phenomenon it produces, and it may be 
said that, corresponding to these respective characteristics, 
explosive phenomena may be divided into three classes, 
namely : 

1. Explosions proper: explosions of low order; progressive 
explosions; combustion. 

2- Detonations: explosions of high order. 

3- Fulminations : the characteristic type of explosion pro- 
duced by the fulminates, possessing exceptional brusqueness. 

1 An explosive reaction is a chemical reaction usually involving the change 
of state of a substance from a solid or liquid to a gas, attended with great 
increase of volume, or the combination chemically of two or more gases with 
sudden increase of volume. 

9 1 


Explosion Proper. (Explosion of Low Order. Progressive 

As the heading implies, this class of explosion is marked by 
more or less progression; the time element is involved as a 
controlling factor, the time required to complete the explo- 
sive reaction being large compared with that in the other 
forms of explosion. In this class of explosion the time con- 
sumed in the reaction is to some extent under control by vary- 
ing the physical characteristics 'of the explosive. The explo- 
sion, indeed, is of the nature of an ordinary combustion. The 
mass is ignited at one point and the reaction proceeds pro- 
gressively over the exterior surfaces and then perpendicularly 
to these surfaces until the entire mass is consumed. 

The explosion of a charge of black, brown, or smokeless 
powder is not different in principle from the burning of a piece 
of coal, wood, or other combustible ; there is a progressive changa 
of state from particle to particle, from the solid state to the 
gaseous state, accompanied by the heat due to the chemical 

The word " combustion " as used above has a definite meaning. 
It is the combination of the carbon and hydrogen of a combustible 
with oxygen. The calorific value of a combustible is the num- 
ber of units of heat involved in its combustion. 1 This is inde- 
pendent of the time involved; it is the same whether the 
change takes place in a fraction of a second or is prolonged 
through years; a pound of wood will give the same number 
of units of heat whether it be burned as fine shavings or 
pass into the gaseous state through slow oxidation in the air. 
Calorific intensity is the maximum possible temperature of 
the products of combustion. 2 Its numerical value is determined 

1 Unit of heat is the amount of heat required to raise a pound of water 
from C. to 1 C., or from 32 F. to 33 F. 

2 It may be defined as the temperature to which the heat generated by 
the burning of each portion of the fuel can raise its own products of com- 
bustion when burned in its own volume without loss of heat due to conduc- 
tion or radiation. 


by dividing the total number of units of heat produced by the 
number of units of heat required to raise the products 1 C. at 
the temperature of these products. 

It may be represented in the form of an equation as- 
follows : 

Let H = total number of units of heat produced; 

W, } 


' \ = weights of products of combustion; 

' I 
etc., J 

S } 
' -heat required to raise 1 unit of weight 1 C. at the 

' } temperature and pressure of the products = 

specific heats of products; 
etc., j 

T = calorific intensity. 


T = 

WS + W'S' + W"S" + etc. 

The heat of combustion is due chiefly 

1. To H burning to H 2 0. 

2. To C burning to CO, in limited supply of oxygen. 

3. To C burning to C0 2 , in unlimited supply of oxygen. 
The calorific value of most substances may be estimated 

approximately from the molecular composition, by determining 
the number of atoms of C and H that are free to combine with 0. 
In some combustibles, as in the carbohydrates, part of the is 
present in association with H in the molecule in the proportion 
found in the water molecule (H 2 0) and no heat results from 
these atoms; indeed, on the contrary, heat is absorbed in the 
physical change of state of this water to vapor. Water held 
mechanically in the pores or intermolecular spaces of substances 
must be treated in the same way. It requires 537 units of heat 


to convert one pound of water at 100 C. into one pound of steam 
at 100 C. This is the latent heat of evaporation or condensa- 
tion. To evaporate 9 pounds of water (containing 1 pound of 
H) at 100 C. requires 537x9 = 4833 units of heat. Eight 
pounds of combine with 1 pound of H to produce 9 pounds 
of water-vapor at 100 C., and, in doing so, produce 29,629 
units of heat. This is the calorific value of hydrogen when the 
products are in the state of vapor. If this water-vapor be con- 
densed to liquid water at 100 C., the latent heat of condensa- 
tion must be added to this, and the calorific value of hydrogen 
when the product is in the form of liquid water at 100 C. is 
29,629+4833 = 34,462 units of heat. In the same manner H 
pounds of combining with 1 pound of C produces 2481 units of 
heat in burning to CO ; f f pounds of combining with 1 pound 
of C produces 8080 units of heat in burning to C02. 

If the weights and specific heats of the products of com- 
bustion are' known, it is possible to compute the maximum 
possible temperature developed in an explosive reaction. 

The specific heats of gases which constitute the chief 
products of combustion in explosions vary with the tempera- 
ture and pressure, and their values at high temperatures and 
pressures are not known accurately. 

Temperature and pressure are both dependent on the space 
in which the reaction takes place. In a restricted space, 
like the chamber of a gun, both the temperature and pressure 
rise very high, and as a result of the high temperature the 
phenomenon of dissociation may occur; that is, the elements 
may separate by a physical process due to the weakening of the 
molecular bonds by the action of the high heat. 1 The effect 
of this "dissociation" is to reduce temperature. The motion 
of the projectile in the gun, enlarging the volume, will reduce 
pressure and temperature. The result is, at a certain stage 
of the lowering of both temperature and pressure, chemical 
combination again takes place and the heat due to this tends 

1 Oxygen and hydrogen at atmospheric pressure separate at 2800 C. 


to increase the pressure. The phenomenon of dissociation 
occurs in the first instants of explosions; the phenomenon of 
recombination in the later instants. 

Heat thus may be the cause of directly resolving a sub- 
stance into its component parts; if the body is reformed upon 
the lowering of the temperature, the phenomenon is dissociation; 
if not reformed, it is decomposition. 

When a body is disintegrated by heat in a confined space, 
some of the products being gaseous, the disintegration proceeds 
until the gas or vapor liberated has attained a certain pressure, 
greater or less according to the temperature. No further dis- 
integration then takes place, nor will the separated elements 
combine so long as that particular temperature and pressure are 
maintained. If the temperature be raised, disintegration will 
be resumed until some higher limiting pressure is produced; 
if the temperature be lowered, combination will take place 
until a certain lower pressure is attained; if the temperature 
remain constant and the pressure be increased, combination 
will take place; if lowered, disintegration. The amount of 
dissociation is definite in all cases for the same substance and 
the same condition of temperature and pressure. 

This action is not limited to compound substances, but is 
believed to take place with the molecules of the elements; 
that is, the molecules of multi-atom molecules may be disso- 
ciated by heat into their separate atoms. 

Detonation. (Explosion of High Order.) 

The second class of explosion is of a different nature. The 
explosive reaction is not confined to the surfaces exposed, but 
appears to progress in all directions throughout the mass, 
radially, from the point of initial explosion; it appears to pass 
from the molecules at the initial point to those adjacent, and 
from these to the next adjacent, and so on, throughout the 
body, at a very rapid rate. Apparently the atomic bonds of 


the initial molecules are disrupted by the molecular energy 
or blow at the initial point; this breaking up of the initial 
molecules is transmitted by a wave-like action known as the 
explosive wave, extending throughout the body, the initial dis- 
ruptive energy being transmitted from molecule to molecule, 
and these, in succession, giving way, the nascent atoms thereof 
combining according to the newly existing affinities which yield 
mostly gaseous substances. 

The effect is to transform the explosive in an almost inap- 
preciably brief time from the solid or liquid state to the gaseous 
state, the gases being greatly increased in volume and pressure 
by the heat of combination attending the reaction. It has 
been determined experimentally that the velocity of propaga- 
tion of the explosive wave throughout a mass of guncotton is 
from 17,000 to 21,000 feet per second. 

The calorific value and calorific intensity of disruptive 
explosives may be determined as explained for progressive 
explosives, the combination between oxygen and carbon and 
hydrogen having the same heat value regardless of the form 
of explosion. 

The phenomena of dissociation and combination may take 
place in the products of this type of explosion, also, giving rise 
to a more prolonged explosive blow than in the case of the explo- 
sion of fulminates. 


This class of explosion is still more brusque than the last. 
It is like the last in that the initial molecule is broken up by 
the crushing effect of the blow due to the exciting cause, and 
the molecular energy thus applied is transmitted by the disrup- 
tion of the first molecules to those adjacent, and these to the 
next, and so on throughout the mass. 

The characteristic feature of this form of explosion is the 
absence of dissociation. The gases are evolved in such a simple 
form that there is little or no dissociation and the new affinities 


do not invite chemical combination. The explosive blow is 
thus not prolonged by these phenomena, and is therefore rela- 
tively much sharper than in the last class. 

The heat of the first phase of the explosion is also very 
great, tending in itself to increase the sharpness and energy of 
the blow on the initial molecules. 

A brusque explosive blow such as described is thought to 
have the effect of breaking up the molecular bonds of explo- 
sive molecules, and thereby initiating an explosive wave through- 
out the mass of the explosive. With progressive powders, it 
would be effective in initiating the explosion, but there would not, 
in ordinary cases, be an explosive wave. It is this property of 
initiating detonation and explosion which gives rise to the use of 
the detonators or exploders. They are used in caps and primers 
of all kinds; the abruptness of their explosion, and the con- 
sequent sharpness of the blow and the concentration of heat 
on the point of ignition, constituting their efficiency as origi- 
nators of explosions of the first two classes. 

In all cases, explosions are attended by a sudden and large 
increase of volume of the substances which constitute the ex- 
plosive. Generally there is also evolution of heat; always so 
when due to chemical reaction in the first phase of the explosion, 
and recombination after dissociation in the later phase. 

An explosion due to physical causes alone, as when com- 
pressed air is released, causes cold; the firing of the pneumatic 
gun produces so much cold as to cause the condensation of the 
water- vapor in the air of the charge as it leaves the muzzle of 
the gun. 


Progressive explosives may be considered under the two 
headings : 

1. Charcoal powders. 

2. Nitrocellulose powders. 


These may be divided into: 

1. Black charcoal powder, or black powder. 

2. Brown charcoal powder, or brown powder. 
Brown charcoal powder is now obsolete. Black charcoal 

powder is used chiefly for saluting purposes and as an 
igniter for nitrocellulose powders, also in fuses and as mealed 
powder in primers. 

Black Powder. 

In the manufacture of black powder, fully charred black 
charcoal is used. The wood is charred at about 350 C. 

Charcoal charred at this temperature contains about 76 
parts by weight of pure carbon, 4 parts of hydrogen, 19 parts 
of oxygen, and 1 part of ash. 

The ingredients of black powder are, besides pulverized 
charcoal, pulverized sulphur and pulverized nitre. The pro- 
portion in which these ingredients are mixed is about as follows : 

75 parts by weight of nitre; 
15 " " ". " charcoal; 
10 " '" " " sulphur. 

Variations from these proportions occur in different coun- 
tries, but the differences are insignificant. 

9 8 


The ingredients are purified as a preliminary step. They 
each are then pulverized by grinding. 

The charcoal is ground in a machine resembling a large coffee- 
mill. It consists essentially of a vertical metal cone, having teeth 
placed spirally on its surface. This revolves within a vertical 
cylinder, having teeth projecting inwardly and arranged spirally, 
inclining in the opposite direction to that of the teeth on the cone. 
These teeth are susceptible of adjustment, so that the clearance 
between the two sets may be increased or decreased. By this 
means the degree of fineness of the ground charcoal is regulated. 

The sulphur and nitre are ground in a machine resembling 
a mortar-mill. It consists of a pair of circular edge-rollers, 
travelling around a strong, circular cast-iron bed, revolving at 
the same time on their axes. The rollers are about 4 feet in 
diameter and weigh about 3000 pounds. They are placed 
at different distances from the centre of motion, so that each 
passes over the cast-iron bed on a separate path, one being just 
inside of the other. The two rollers have a common horizontal 
shaft about which they turn. At a point on this horizontal 
shaft, nearer one roller than the other, is a vertical spindle, 
which is geared below to the driving-train of machinery, so as 
to give a motion to both rollers about this spindle. The nitre 
or sulphur is spread evenly over the bed, about 1 to 2 inches 
thick, and motion given to the rollers. They move over the 
material, and in a few minutes it is reduced to a fine powder. 
A scraper follows behind each roller, and is so formed as to 
throw the material under the next following roller. 

After grinding the charcoal, nitre, and sulphur, each is 
passed through a separate sijting^reel. This sifting-reel consists 
of a frame cylinder covered with wire cloth, 32 meshes to the 
inch. The ground materials pass through the interior of this 
reel, which revolves slowly. The fine particles suitable for 
powders pass through the meshes and fall into a bin. The 
coarser particles pass through the reel, are received in a barrel 
at the lower end, and are taken back to the grinding-mill for 
regrinding. / 


The sifted materials are weighed out very carefully in 50- 
pound lots, in the relative proportions given above (75 parts of 
nitre, 15 parts of charcoal, and 10 parts of sulphur), and placed 
in bags. The contents of three bags constitute a charge for the 

The mixing-machine consists of a copper drum mounted on 
a horizontal shaft. The drum has a capacity of about 150 Ibs. 
of the mixed materials. It revolves at about 35 revolutions per 
minute. The shaft of the drum is hollow, and through this 
passes a second shaft, which carries a series of arms or " flyers " 
on the interior of the drum. These arms are flat, with forked 
ends, and just clear the interior surface of the drum. They 
revolve in the opposite direction to the drum at about 70 
revolutions per minute. 

Three bags of the ingredients are emptied into the drum, 
the machine set in motion, and the mixing is completed in five 

The mixed ingredients are allowed to fall through a chute 
into a tub, carefully examined to see that the mixing is regular, 
placed in bags, and tied very compactly. These bags are laid 
on their sides to prevent, in so far as possible, the tendency of 
the ingredients to separate in layers according to their specific 
gravities; when necessary to handle the bags, it should be done 
carefully and without jarring or shaking, for the same reason. 

The mixed ingredients are next taken to the incorporating 
mill, to be put through the process of incorporation. This is the 
most important process in the manufacture of charcoal powder. 
Its object is to bring the ingredients into the closest possible 
contact, so that each particle of the resulting cake shall be 
composed of the three ingredients in proper proportion. 

The incorporating mill is of the edge-roller type, like the 
sulphur and nitre grinding-mills, except more massive; the 
rollers are about 6.5 feet in diameter, 15 inches wide, and weigh 
about 4 tons each. 

The mixed ingredients from the mixing-machine are spread 
evenly over the bed of the incorporating mill; it should not be 


thicker than 0.5 inch nor less than 0.25 inch: if thicker than 
0.5 inch, the incorporation is defective; if less than 0.25 inch 
thick, there is clanger of explosion. 

After the charge has been spread over the bed, it is mois- 
tened with from 4 to 8 pints of distilled water, depending on 
the state of the atmosphere. Greatest care must be exercised 
by the attendant in regulating the water, as the nature of the 
product depends very much on uniformity in the amount of 
moisture present. 

It requires from 3 to 4 hours to incorporate a charge. The 
incorporated mass is called mill-cake. It should have a uniform 
blackish-gray color, without any white or yellow specks. A 
small amount of it flashed on a plate should burn smoothly, at 
the proper rate, and give little residue. 

The incorporated powder, in the form of soft mill-cake, is 
put into open tubs and placed in small magazines, where it is 
exposed to the action of the air, so that all workings may either 
absorb or give off water-vapor and come to about the same 
percentage of hygroscopic water present; 2 to 3 per cent of 
water in the mass is necessary to give good results in the sub- 
sequent pressing. 

In so far as the chemical requirements for combustion are 
concerned, the powder is now completed. The subsequent opera- 
tions have for their object the production of certain physical 
effects, depending upon the use to which the powder is to be 
put. In order that its rate of burning may be regulated, the 
size and density and form of the grains must be fixed. 

Before being pressed, the mill-cake is broken into lumps 
of uniform size, in a machine called the breaking-down machine. 
This machine consists essentially of two pairs of grooved cylin- 
ders arranged one pair above the other. These cylinders are so 
placed on shafts, and are so geared, that they have motions 
downward between each pair. The clearance between the 
cylinders, and the dimensions of the grooves, are adjusted to 
the nature of the cake, and, for safety purposes, the clearance 
may be automatically increased by the action of a sliding-bearing 


of one of each set of cylinders, which allows this cylinder to 
move back in case the cake is fed to the rollers too rapidly, 
or a hard lump happens to pass through. The hopper of the 
breaking-down machine takes about 700 Ibs. of mill-cake. It 
is open below, resting on a continuous canvas belt with cleats, 
which, as it moves, feeds the mill-cake to the top set of cylinders. 
After passing through these, the cake falls between the second 
set of cylinders and then into suitable box-cars or trucks. It 
requires about a half-hour to break down a charge of 700 pounds. 
The product of the breaking-down machine is called powder- 
meal. It is stored again for several days, so as to equalize the 
moisture, and is then ready for pressing. 

In order that the powder may be granulated, it is first 
pressed into solid compact cakes, called the press-cakes. These 
are formed by hydraulic pressure, applied to powder-meal 
placed between gun-metal plates, in a large, strong, gun-metal 
box. The press-box is laid on its side, and the upper side 
removed; the metal separating-plates are inserted; the meal 
is filled in between the plates, the space between plates being 
about f of an inch : the box is then placed under the head of an 
hydraulic ram and pressure applied. The plates are free to 
move under the applied pressure and compress the powder-meal 
to a hard, compact cake. 

The press-cake is broken up into grains by passing through 
the granulating-machine. This consists of a series of pairs of 
gun-metal cylinders, with teeth of suitable size and suitably 
placed on the surfaces of the cylinders. The press-cake passes 
between these rollers, and is broken into grains of various sizes. 
There is a screen under each pair of rollers, to catch the broken 
press-cake and to conduct it to the next set of rollers. The 
sizes of the breaking-down teeth, and of the screen-meshes, are 
altered to suit the special requirements of any particular granu- 
lation that may be desired. 

The sharp corners of grains are worn off and the dust sepa- 
rated from any grade of grained powder by the dusting-machine. 
This consists of horizontal cylindrical frames, covered with 


canvas, having 24 meshes to the inch. Several barrels of foul 
grain are put in the cylinders, and the latter set to revolving at 
about 40 revolutions per minute. In about half an hour the 
process is completed, the powder dust havmg passed through 
the meshes of the canvas. 

At the end of the process, the powder is collected in barrels. 
Sometimes it is necessary to repeat the dusting once or twice 
before the powder is sufficiently free of dust. 

Some powders are glazed. The grains are put into a hori- 
zontal, barrel-like receptacle, and revolved for 5 to 6 hours 
with a small quantity of pulverized graphite The object of 
this is, to make the powder less liable to form dust in storage 
and transportation, and to protect the grains to some extent 
from the effects of moisture in the air. 

The final operation is to remove excess of moisture from the 
powder by drying. The powder is spread out over shallow 
canvas-bottom frames, arranged in tiers, over a steam radiator, 
and is subjected to a temperature of 130 F. for 16 to 18 hours. 
After standing for 2 to 3 hours to allow it to cool, it is run 
through a dusting-reel and then packed. 

Usually black powder is packed in 100-pound packages. The 
receptacles are, as a rule, either wooden barrels or metal canis- 
ters. If wooden barrels are used, the wood is oak and the 
hoops are made of some wood, like cedar, not liable to become 
worm-eaten. Zinc-lined boxes have also been used. These 
boxes are often arranged to be hermetically sealed, or are pro- 
vided with gasket covers, to protect the powder in storage 
from the moisture of the air. 

Black gunpowder should be of even granulation, of good 
hardness and density, free from dust. A small quantity poured 
on the back of the hand should leave little or no trace of dust; 
when flashed in 10-grain samples on a copper plate, there should 
be no bead or excessive residue. It should absorb little water 
from the air. 


Brown Powder. 

The foregoing description applies in its essential features 
to the manufacture of all mixtures of nitre, charcoal, and sul- 
phur. In brown powder, the charcoal is made from rye-straw 
and is under-charred. The proportions of the ingredients vary 
some from those given for black powder, the proportions for 
brown powder being, 1 approximately : 

Nitre 80 parts 

Charcoal 16 " 

Sulphur 3 " 

Moisture 1 part 


This mixture is slower burning than black powder. It has 
been discontinued as a service powder by the United States. 

Granulation of Powder. 

The introduction of large-grained, perforated, slow- burning 
brown prismatic powder marked the last phase of a long line 
of investigation, begun in the early sixties in the United States 
by the late General T. J. Rodman, Ordnance Department, 
U. S. Army. Some reference may well be made here to those 
series of experiments which, initiated by Rodman, were taken 
up and extended by many others, both in the United States 
and in Europe, especially as the principles established thereby 
still survive and apply to the new powders. 

Rodman sought to increase the powers and endurance of 
large guns by controlling the combustion of powders used in 
them. He conceived the idea that there were certain definite 
relations among the elements, size, form, and density, that 
would give a best powder for a given gun, that is, a powder 
which would give the highest velocity for a given pressure; or, 
stated in other words, a special powder could be determined for 

1 Captain Robinson reports the following analyses at the School of Sub- 
marine Defense, Fort Totten, N. Y. : 

English. German. 

Nitre 79paits 77 parts 

Charcoal 18 " 20 " 

Sulphur _ 

100 100 


each piece of ordnance, and the idea came to be known as the 
principle of special powders. In carrying out this idea, he experi- 
mented with powder having much larger grains than had been 
used prior to his time, and with powders of varying density and 
forms, including those subsequently known as " mammoth/ 7 
"pebble," lenticular, perforated prismatic, and perforated cylin- 
drical cake-powders. 

The Civil War put a stop to Rodman's experiments, and, 
after the war, although he desired to continue them, he was, 
for some reason difficult to appreciate, ordered to a post of 
duty where it was impossible to give any attention to the matter. 

Knowledge of his work had, however, become known abroad, 
and the line of investigation was taken up there, resulting, 
after a time, in the adoption of the perforated prism as the 
standard form of grain for large guns. 

The fundamental idea involved in this development may be 
said to be, to so control the combustion of a charge of powder 
in a given gun that there shall be a certain uniformly progres- 
sive evolution of gas, so that the projectile will be started from 
rest under a minimum pressure, with the quantity of gas evolved 
in consecutive instants of time, gradually increasing until the 
projectile reaches a certain point in the bore of the gun. 
The pressure in the gun increases to a maximum soon after 
the projectile is started, and then falls regularly: the velocity 
increases to a maximum at a point just beyond the muzzle. 

The first step was to gain slow combustion through increas- 
ing the density and enlarging the size of the grain; the result 
of this was evidenced in the old " mammoth " powder that was 
used in the 15-inch smooth-bore Rodman guns. 

The next was, while holding to the above principles, to 
control the rate of evolution of gas in burning a grain of 
powder by perforating it, and to have thereby a certain por- 
tion (from the interior outward) of the grain burn on increasing 
surfaces, giving for this portion increasing quantities of gas in 
succeeding intervals of time. 

This same effect was later obtained in another way by the 
so-called Fossano Powder, made in Italy. The powder-grain 
was in itself a conglomerate of smaller grains bound together 


by a suitable powder matrix, the whole being compacted into 
large grains by pressure. As the large grain burned, it was 
broken up, exposing the surfaces of the smaller grains, and in 
this way offering successively increasing surfaces for ignition 
and burning, and, consequently, increasing quantities of gas. 

The next was, to establish uniformity in time of burning of 
each grain by moulding the grains, as in the hexagonal and 
sphero-hexagonal powders, and, in connection with the pressure 
applied in forming these moulded powders, to produce a higher 
density of grain on the surface than in the interior of each 
grain, illustrating the principle of varying density of grain. 

The perforated prism gave, however, the best results, and 
the right hexagonal prism came in time to be the standard 
form of grain for large guns the world over. Variation existed 
in the number of perforations, some prisms having but one 
perforation, others seven, one opposite each angle and one in the 
centre. The last-named is thought to be the arrangement gen- 
erally adopted. That portion of a prismatic grain between the 
perforations is called the web of the grain; its thickness is the 
determining factor in the time of combustion. 

In determining the " special powder" required for a given 
gun, the density and granulation (number of grains to the 
pound) of hexagonal and sphero-hexagonal are the data to be 
fixed by computation .or experiment; if prismatic powder is 
to be used, the dimension of the prism and the number and 
size of the perforations must be determined. 

As the ability of the powder-manufacturers to make slow- 
burning powders developed, the maximum pressures in the 
rear portion of the bores of guns fell, but the pressures in front 
of the trunnions was increased. At the same time, the gun- 
rnakers were able to increase the strength of the built-up gun, 
so as to make it possible for the gun to bear slightly higher 
pressure: The improvement in gun-making also made it pos- 
sible to increase the lengths of bores; this, in turn, made it pos- 
sible to burn more powder in the guns and thereby increase 
velocity. To receive these larger charges, and also to further 
control the powder-pressure over the charge, enlarged powder 


chambers were introduced. By properly adjusting the relations 
the volume of the powder chamber, the weight of charge and of 
the length of the bore, the pressure corresponding to a given ve- 
locity could be kept within the limit of the gun's elastic strength. 


Nitrocellulose may be considered as the base of all forms of 
smokeless powders. 

The nitrocellulose molecule contains within itself the ele- 
ments carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, so that, when conditions 
favorable to a disruption of existing molecular bonds and to a 
recombination of these elements are produced, the reactions of 
combustion take place, producing the gaseous oxides of carbon 
and water- vapor. In the case of charcoal powders, these elements 
were brought by mechanical process into such intimate relations 
that each particle of black or brown powder should contain the 
elements necessary for combustion. The two classes of explo- 
sives have, therefore, a fundamental difference in this respect. 
In nitrocellulose, the elements to produce combination are 
present in the molecule in accordance with the law of fixed 
proportions, in great purity and in closer relations than is pos- 
sible with a mechanical mixture, like charcoal powder. 

It will be remembered that the structural formula of cellulose 
was written (p. 82) to show its analogy to the alcohols, thus: 

H C H H C 

H C H H-C 

H C H H-C H 

H-O-C-H H-C-O-H 

I I 

O C H H C H 

I I I 

O C H H C H 

I | 


It will be recalled, also, that ethers may be considered to 
be formed from the alcohols by substituting a suitable hydro- 
carbon radical for the hydrogen of the hydroxyl radical of 
alcohol (p. 81). 

Thus, ethyl ether is derived from ethyl alcohol by substitut- 
ing the ethyl radical for the hydrogen of the hydroxyl of the 
alcohol : 

H H 

H-C H H C H 

I I , 

H C H (C 2 H 5 ) C H 

I I 


Ethyl alcohol [C 2 H 6 (HO)] Ethyl ether [(C 2 H 3 ) 2 O] 

In the same way nitric ether may be produced from alcohol 
by the action of nitric acid on alcohol, the radical nitryl, N02> 
displacing the hydroxyl hydrogen atom and giving: 


H C H 
(N0 2 ) 0-C H 


Nitric ether (C 2 H 5 .O.NO 2 ) 

In like manner the hydrogen of the hydroxyl radicals of the 
cellulose molecule may be displaced by N0 2 by the action of 
nitric acid, giving substances which in molecular structure 
resemble nitric ethers. There are three hydroxyl groups in 
the cellulose molecule that are susceptible of this substitution; 
there may, therefore, be three separate displacements, as follows, 
using the double grouping: 



H C H H C-0 

I I I 

(N0 2 ) C-H H C O 


H C H H C H 


C H H C (N0 2 ) 
C H H C H 

H C H H C 

! I I 

(N0 2 ) 0~C H H C 

I I 

(N0 2 )-0-C-H H-C-0 H Dinitrocellulose 

H C H H C (N0 2 ) 

C H H C (N0 2 ) 

I I I 

C H H C H 

H_C H H-C 

I I I 

(N0 2 ) C H H C 

I I 

(N0 2 ) 0-C H H-C-0-(N0 2 ) Trinitrocellulose 

I I 

(N0 2 ) 0-C H H C (N0 2 ) 

I I 

C H H C (N0 2 ) 

I I I 

0-C H H-C H 


On account of this and other chemical analogies nitrocellu- 
lose is generally classed as a compound nitric ether of the tri- 
hydric alcohol, cellulose. 

The nitryl radicals which are transferred when cellulose 
is acted on by nitric acid introduce weak molecular bonds, 
which give way under the action of heat and permit 
the elements to combine with great energy, according to 
their relative affinities for each other, and it is this feature 
particularly, which constitutes nitrocellulose an explosive. 
The result o'f the breaking-up of the trinitrocellulose mole- 
cule in explosion may be represented by the following 
reaction : 

[C 6 H 7 .0 2 .0 3 (N0 2 ) 3 ] 2 exploded = 7H 2 + 9CO + 3C0 2 + 3N 2 . 

The Nitration of Cellulose. 

For military explosives, the cellulose used for nitration is, 
as a rule, the waste from cotton-spinning factories, cotton-cloth 
factories, or other forms of pure cotton fibre. 

Within the past few years much attention has been given 
to the subject of nitration of cellulose by several eminent inves- 
tigators and scientists, including Vieille, Bruley, Lunge, Will, 
and others. 1 

In 1878 Dr. J. M. Eder arrived at the conclusion, as a result 
of a series of experiments, that there were as many as six degrees 
of nitration of cellulose, three of which he was able to produce 
and isolate, namely, the hexa-, penta-, and di-; two, the tetra- 
and tri-, he obtained in admixture with others; the mono- he 
was unable to prepare. 

Eder assumed the double type of molecule, corresponding 
to Ci 2 , and wrote the formulas as follows: 

1 " Nitration of Cotton," by M. Bruley. " Researches upon the Nitration 
of Cotton," by M. Vieille. " Investigations as to the Stability of Nitrocellu- 
lose," by Dr. W. Will. G, Lunge's experiments in nitrating cellulose. 


Mono-nitrocellulose Ci 2 H 19 9 (N0 3 ) 

Di- " C 12 H 18 8 (N0 3 ) 2 

Tri- " C 12 H 17 7 (N0 3 ) 3 

Tetra- " C 12 H 16 6 (N0 3 ) 4 

Penta- " C 12 H 15 5 (N0 3 ) 5 , 

Hexa- ll C 12 H 14 4 (N0 3 ) 6 

Vieille, as a result of extended research made in 1883, arrived 
at the conclusion that, in order to account for the amount of 
N0 2 given by the products of his experiments, the formula 
CeHioOs must be quadrupled, and the molecular formula of 
cellulose written C 24 H 40 20 ; giving rise to eight varieties of 
nitrocellulose, as follows : 

Cellulose tetra-nitrate. C2 4 H 36 2 o(N0 2 ) 4 

penta- " C 24 H 35 2 o(N0 2 ) 5 

" hexa- " C 24 H 34 2 o(N0 2 ) 6 

hepta- " C 24 H 33 20 (N0 2 ) 7 

octo- ll C 24 H 32 20 (N0 2 ) 8 

" ennea- ' ' C 24 H 3 i0 20 (N0 2 ) 9 

deca- " C 24 H 30 2 o(N0 2 ) 10 , 

" endeca- " C 24 H 29 2 o(N0 2 )n 

Of these the deca- and endeca- varieties were found to be 
insoluble in ether-alcohol; the ennea- and octo- were soluble 
and capable of being colloided; the lower nitrations gave friable 
products insoluble in ether-alcohol. 

In Vieille 's researches the present military smokeless powder 
may be said to have had its origin. Soon after his deductions 
were announced, the manufacture of smokeless powder in 
France was begun. The French powder was kept a secret for 
some time. The success of the French inaugurated activity 
throughout Europe, and, before long, the nitrocellulose base 
came to be the essential ingredient of all smokeless powders. 

In Russia the development of a smokeless powder was 
intrusted to the celebrated chemist, Professor D. Mendeleef. 
His investigations resulted in the claim that he had been able 


to produce a definite nitrocellulose having the formula 
C3oH 38 2 5(N02)i2, which he called "pyrocollodion," which 
colloided perfectly in ether-alcohol, and in combustion gave the 
maximum volume of gas possible from the elements represented 
in the molecule, since the content of oxygen, as given in the for- 
mula, is just sufficient to burn all of the C to CO, after burning 
the H to H20; the explosive reaction being as follows: 

CsoHssCWNOs) 12 exploded = 30CO + 19H 2 + 6N 2 . 

Mendeleef s claim that his pyrocollodion is a definite com- 
pound is disputed. It is claimed by others that the substance 
is, rather, a mixture of nitrates of different degrees of nitra- 
tion, such, for example, as the following : 

2[C 6 H 7 5 (N0 2 )3]^C 12 H 14 10 (N0 2 ) 6 

C3oH 3 80 25 (N0 2 ) 12 

Pyrocollodion, according to Mendeleef, results from the 
following reaction : 

Perhaps the most complete series of experiments made in 
connection with the nitration of cellulose are those made by 
the French Government chemist, M. Bruley, published in the 
Memorial des Poudres et Salpetres, vol. viii, 1895-96, in a paper 
entitled "Sur la Fabrication des Cotons Nitres/' an English 
translation of which is to be found in Bernadou's "Smokeless 
Powder, Nitrocellulose, and Theory of the Cellulose Molecule.'' 

M. Bruley points out that of recent years the various grades 
of nitrocellulose have given rise to many varied uses, such as 
photographic films, celluloid, mercerized cotton, in the mechani- 
cal arts; and guncotton and smokeless powder in military 
explosives. Each of these requires a special variety of nitro- 
cellulose, and it becomes important, if possible, to fix the con- 
ditions which regulate the nature of the product. 


For many years military guncotton had been manufactured 
from the standard mixture of acids, three parts of sulphuric 
acid by weight (65.5 Baume) and one part by weight of nitric 
acid (48 Baume). But, as a result, chiefly of Vieille's investi- 
gations, his classification of the nitrocelluloses and the manu- 
facture of smokeless powders based on his deductions, it became 
desirable to determine some practical rules and guides for the 
manufacture of the new nitrocelluloses of lower nitration. 

In the ordinary manufacture of nitrocellulose, the product 
is apt to contain a mixture of the three classes of nitrocellu- 
loses, guncottons (endeca- and deca-nitrates) , collodions (ennea-, 
octo-, and hepta-nitrates), and friable cottons (penta- and 
tetra-nitrates) . The first of these is insoluble in ether-alcohol, 
the second is soluble in that mixture, the third not soluble. 

The experiments of M. Bruley had for their object, there- 
fore, the determination of some practical method of obtaining 
a certain desired product in the nitration of cellulose. 

His experiments may be well explained by reference to the 
accompanying figure. 

For the purpose of graphically representing the conditions of 
the experiments let represent the origin of a set of axes, OX and 
OF. Let OX represent the axis of the 
proportion by weight of water used in 
the mixture, and OY the axis of the 
proportion by weight of nitric acid 
used. Let OX' = OY' represent the 
fixed quantity of sulphuric acid used. 
Let OX" represent a certain quantity 
of water used in a particular experi- 
ment, and OY" represent a certain 

quantity of nitric acid used in the same experiment. Express OX" 
as a percentage of OX' and OY" as a percentage of OY 1 '; that is 
if OX' and OY f = 100% weight (the fixed weight of the sulphuric 


acid), 7jvT> carried out to hundredths in decimal form, will rep- 
resent the percentage quantity by weight of water used in terms 




of the fixed quantity of sulphuric acid used, and, similarly, j-~- 

will represent the percentage quantity by weight of nitric acid used 
in terms of the fixed quantity of sulphuric acid. The line X"Y'" 
represents the locus of all products, corresponding to the ratio 


between water and sulphuric acid. 

The line Y"X'" similarly represents the locus of all nitric- 

acid mixtures, corresponding to the ratio ^y^ between nitric 

acid and sulphuric acid. The point P corresponds to a definite 
.mixture of OX" parts of water, 07" parts of nitric acid, and 
OZ' = 07' parts of sulphuric acid. The area OY'QX' includes 
within it all possible combinations of mixtures of water and 
nitric acid with sulphuric acid, when the quantities of water 
and nitric acid do not, either of them, exceed the quantity of 
sulphuric acid used. 

M. Bruley assumed twenty-five points uniformly distributed 
throughout this area, prepared the mixtures to correspond 
thereto, immersed the cellulose in these mixtures, and steeped 
them for 6, 12, and 24 hours, thus producing three series of 
nitrations. He subsequently determined, by chemical analysis 
and physical experiment, the following data: 

1. The nitrogen content, expressed in c.c. of N0 2 . 

2. The solubility in ether-alcohol. 

3. The viscosity in ether-alcohol. 

The temperature of the immersions was 12 to 13 C. 

The water normally present in both nitric and sulphuric 
acid was determined carefully, and considered as a part of the 
water ingredient of the acid mixtures. These determinations 
were 5 to 6 per cent in the sulphuric acid, and 10 to 15 per cent 
in the nitric acid. 

The fixed weight of sulphuric acid taken was 1.2 kilos. 

A separate mixture was made for each of the twenty-five 
points, corresponding to a range of nitric acid of 10 to 60 
per cent; and of water, 10 to 45 per cent. The inferior 


limit for nitric acid being fixed by the time required for 
nitration, and the superior limit by that cost of the acid 
beyond which it would not pay to go in manufacturing nitro- 
cellulose for the trade; the lower limit of water was fixed by 
the quantity of water always present in the strongest acid, the 
higher limit by the limit of colloidable nitrocellulose. 

When the quantity of nitric acid fell below 15 per cent, the 
time required to nitrate completely was so prolonged that it would 
not be practicable, commercially, to use so low a percentage. 

The samples consisted of 4 grams of bleached spun-cotton 
waste, and were immersed in 400 grams of mixed acids. 

The table on page 118 gives the results of the experiments. 

Bruley divided the products into: (1) guncotton, (2) col- 
loids, and (3) friable cottons. 

In general terms it may be said that the guncottons resulted 
from mixtures within the following ranges of percentages, by 
weight of nitric acid and water, the weight of sulphuric acid 
being 100 per cent: 

For nitric acid, 55 per cent; water, 12 to 24 per cent. 

( ( i i ll -tr l ( (I it o 1 1 -\r> ( i ii 

In the same way the limits of mixtures for the most perfect 
colloids having, say, a solubility above 90 per cent, were : 

For nitric acid, 55 per cent; water, 27 to 35 per cent. 
11 " " 15 " " ll 18 " 25 " " 

A fairly high degree of solubility extended beyond these 
wat^r percentages to about 40 per cent of water for 55 per cent 
of nitric acid, and about 27 per cent of water for 15 per cent of 
nitric acid. 

Beyond these latter water limits the products were friable 

The guncottons correspond to nitrocellulose, having a nitro- 
gen content above about 12.9 per cent; the higher colloids, a 
nitrogen content less than about 12.9 per cent and more than 



*o o co o r-< I-H T-H 10 



'-i I1 ^T-(Ot^O5T-HT-HCOC>T-H 


os<M ^ oo - 0100 coi> to ^ CM i> oo to os co o oo os 

oo'co w T-H os cooo (M occi oo o co o-* toco TJ< t^ 10-^ o 


%g ^noq-e l 

uosu'Braoo p as-eq 
- T ) pasn ^ 



about 12 per cent; the inferior colloids, a nitrogen content of 
from just below 12 per cent to just above 10 per cent. 

Content of N in percent 






3 1 

i i 

2 1 

3 1 

\ 1 






.75 Sol. 











5 Sol. 95 





L.72 Sol. 





12.9 Sol 

?nl. S 



For a fixed per cent of nitric acid in a series of mixtures 
in which the per cent of water only varies, the nitrogen content 
changes slowly in passing beyond the guncotton zone as the 
water percentage increases, while, at the same time, the solu- 
bility changes very rapidly. A nitrogen content of about 12.5 
per cent is soon reached, having a solubility of about 95 per 


cent, and after this has been attained considerable variation may 
be made in the quantity of water with little change in either 
the nitrogen content or in the solubility. When the increase 
of water for this same quantity of nitric acid causes the nitrogen 
content to fall to about 10.5 per cent, the solubility drops 
below 90. Beyond this an increase of water causes a gradual 
decrease in both nitrogen content and solubility to take place 
until the lowest recorded limit is reached; that is to say, a 
limit of nitrogen content of about 7.75 per cent and a solubility 
of about 1.5. 

While the relative proportion of the ingredients of the acid 
mixture is the chief factor influencing the result of nitration 
other causes have an effect, such as (1) duration of steeping, 
(2) temperature of dipping and steeping, (3) subsequent steps 
in purification. 

Cotton-wadding nitrates more readily than spun-cotton waste. 
Generally speaking, the more perfectly the fibres are separated 
and the waste freed from tangles and knots the quicker and 
better the nitration. 

In order to obtain the same degree of nitration, the steeping 
should be prolonged in proportion as HNOs is reduced in the 
acid mixture. The influence of duration on the N0 2 content 
and solubility appears in the following table : 


Inferior Colloid. 

Superior Colloid. 





NO 2 

per cent. 

N0 2 


N0 2 


1 hr. 

4 ' 
6 ' 
8 ' 
12 ' 
24 ' 











From which it is observed that with the colloids from 2 to 
6 hours are required, and with guncotton, 8 to 10 hours. If 


the reaction be continued beyond 6 to 8 hours, the solubility 
for the same nitrogen content is materially increased. 

Increase of temperature, during dipping and steeping, up 
to 26 C., increases both the solubility and N02 content of 
colloids, and has a tendency to the same for guncottons. 

When, therefore, it is desired to produce a definite nitro- 
cellulose it is first necessary to fix the composition of the acid 
mixture, following the principles set forth above, and testing 
the nitrogen content by the usual nitrometer, method. 

While the degree of nitration may be regulated by the fore- 
going principles, the stability of the product depends chiefly 
on the process of purification. It is found that any nitro- 
cellulose after nitration contains certain nitro-by-products 
which are more or less unstable, and these are liable to spon- 
taneous decomposition in storage; some of these nitro-products 
may disintegrate under comparatively low heat and often 
cause the condemnation of nitrocellulose which, except for their 
presence, is thoroughly trustworthy. Dr. W. Will, of the 
German Central Station for Scientific-Technical Investigation, 
New Babelsberg, near Berlin, has investigated this phase of the 
problem, and arrived at the conclusion that these nitro-by- 
products are produced in the nitration of cellulose, besides the 
nitrocellulose proper, and the nature of these by-products is such 
that they are not wholly soluble in cold water, and, when cold 
water alone is used in the purification, they are not carried off. 
Boiling and subsequent washing in cold water removes them, 
due, perhaps, to the fnct that the boiling modifies the chemical 
nature of some of these products, rendering them soluble in cold 
water and, when the latter is applied after boiling, the ob- 
jectionable products are removed. 

Dr. Will claims that when boiling and cold washing are 
properly conducted, practically all of such unstable by-products 
are removed, and the resulting nitrocellulose proper, whatever 
its degree of nitration, is a safe compound and may be stored 
for years under normal temperatures, without change. Nitro- 
cellulose so prepared is said by him to be in its "limit state/' 


and such nitrocellulose, if subjected to a higher heat, say 135 
C., as in the German heat-test, will evolve equal volumes of N 
in equal times; this Time-Nitrogen relation, when plotted, 
approximates closely to a right line for the limit state. 

Nomenclature of Nitrocelluloses. 

There are various products resulting from the nitration 
of cellulose to different degrees and under different conditions. 
These may be enumerated as follows, following the nomenclature 
given by Bernadou : 

Nitrocellulose. A general term applied to products resulting from the 
action of nitric acid on cellulose, in which the organic cellular struc- 
ture of the original cotton fibre has not been destroyed. 

Nitrocellulose of high nitration. 1 Those in which the content of nitrogen 
is large, say 12.9% or greater. 

Nitrocellulose of mean nitration. 1 Those in which the content of nitrogen 
is mean, say less than 12.9% and greater than about 11%. 

Nitrocellulose of low nitration. 1 Those in which the content of nitrogen 
is less than about 11%. 

Insoluble nitrocelluloses. Those insoluble in ether-alcohol mixture 2 at 
ordinary temperature and pressure. 

Soluble nitrocelluloses. Those soluble in ether-alcohol mixture at ordi- 
nary temperature and pressure. 

Hydrocellulose. The product obtained by acting on cellulose with the 
fumes of HC1, or by immersing cellulose in HC1, H 2 SO 4 , or very 
dilute HNO 3 . It is a white, pulverulent mass which, examined 
under the microscope, shows that the cellular tissue of the original 
cotton fibre has been modified. 

Nitrohydrocellulose. The product resulting by acting on hydrocellulose 
with HN0 3 (strong), the product still retaining the modified cellular 
form of the hydrocellulose. 

Nitrohydrocellulose of high nitration. Contains relatively a high per 
cent of N. 

Nitrohydrocellulose of mean nitration. Contains relatively a mean per 
cent of N. 

Nitrohydrocellulose of low nitration. Contains relatively a low per cent of N. 

Insoluble nitrohydrocellulose. Those insoluble in ether-alcohol at ordi- 
nary temperature and pressure. 

1 See Vieille's Classification of Nitrocelluloses (table), p. 121. 

2 In the proportion of 2 parts by volume of ether to 1 part by volume of 



Soluble nitrohydrocellulose. Those soluble in ether-alcohol at ordinary 
temperature and pressure. 

Guncotton. Those nitrocelluloses of high nitration used for disruptive 
purposes in war. They consist, as a rule, of a mixture of insoluble 
nitrocellulose with a small quantity of soluble nitrocellulose and a 
very small quantity of unnitrated cellulose. 

Pyrocellulose. A soluble nitrocellulose of so called definite percentage of 
N(12.4), corresponding to the molecular formula, C^H^NO^,,/}^ 
claimed to have been produced by Mendeleef; it possesses just 
sufficient content of O to burn all of the C to CO, the H to H 2 O. 

Colloid, or collodion nitrocellulose. Nitrocellulose that may be colloided 
in ether-alcohol. 




c.c. of NO 2 . 

c.c. of NO 2 . 

per cent of 


C 24 H :i8 20 (N0 2 ) 4 






C H O (NO ^ 






C H O (NO ) 






Only slightly at- 1 
tacked by acet- 5 
ic ether and ' 

ether-alcohol. S 

C 24 H3a0 20 (N0 2 ) 7 






v,v,w.*x W 6 v,*,l.- ^ 

inous in acetic o" 

ether and 

ether-alcohol. J 

C 24 H 32 20 (N0 2 ) 8 





Soluble in ] Inferior 

cohol" a " J colloid ' 

C 24 H 3) 20 (N0 2 ) 9 
C 24 H 30 20 (N0 2 ) 10 




11.96 f 

Highly sol-] 
uble in ! Superior 
ether-al- { colloid. 



C 24 H 29 O 20 (NO 2 ) 11 






Insoluble in"] 

ether - alco- 1 Gun- 

hoi. Soluble j cotton. 

in acetone. J 

According to Guttmann Vieille's formulas are not beyond question. 
Guttman himself claims to have made guncotton on a large scale, containing 
13.65 per cent of nitrogen, which, according to Vieille, would be impossible. 



After cellulose has been dipped in nitric acid (" nitrated ") 
and " purified " of the free acid and nitro-by-products by boil- 
ing and washing in water, it possesses a property it did not 
have before, namely, it is soluble in certain liquids in which it 
was not soluble as cellulose. The two most important of these 
liquids are acetone and a mixture of ether and alcohol, in the 
proportion by volume of 2 to 1. 

If an excess of the liquid be used a true solution is formed, 
and if the liquid be evaporated off, the nitrocellulose will remain 
as a horn-like compact mass, called "colloid," in which all 
evidences of cellular structure have disappeared. If the quantity 
of solvent be reduced sufficiently, the solid nitrocellulose will 
soften and take the form of a paste-like mass, one of the states 
passed through from the true solution to the compact, horn-like 
solid in evaporating the solvent. 

This process of dissolving nitrocellulose and producing the 
colloid form of it is called colloidization. 

In connection with nitro-explosives there are two important 
series of colloids: one, the acetone series; the other, the ether- 
alcohol series. 

Acetone dissolves the nitrocelluloses of highest nitration^ 
and gives colloids which are characterized by brittleness. Under 
pressure or shock they break up. This fact renders such col- 
loids dangerous when used alone for powder; the shocks due 
to handling and the pressure in the bore of a gun would cause 
grains to be disintegrated, the rate of combustion to be enor- 
mously increased, and excessive pressures. 

The ether-alcohol colloids, on the other hand, are tough and 
elastic. It is from this class of colloids that most smokeless 
powders now in use are made. 

The several physical states of the two series of colloids, as a re- 
sult of evaporation from the solution, may be described as follows : 
Acetone series: Liquid, slime, plastic mass, brittle colloid. 
Ether-alcohol series: Liquid, jelly, elastic mass, tough colloid. 


Manufacture of Smokeless Powder. 

While there are minor differences in the manufacture of 
smokeless powder as conducted at the different factories, the 
essential steps are the same, and are performed in practically 
the same manner. The following description of the commercial 
method of manufacture gives these steps in sufficient detail. 


(a) Washing-house. The base, 1 in the form of cotton-waste or cotton 

rags, is brought to the washing-house in large bales. 
These are broken open and the waste put into the 

(b) The Washer. washer. This consists of a large iron cylinder 

mounted on a horizontal axis, with pipes running 
through the centre, which carry steam for heating the 
charge. The cylinder is filled with a solution of 
caustic soda and the cotton-waste is added to this. 
The washer revolves very slowly. Its motion keeps 

(c) First Washing, the mass constantly agitated, and accomplishes the 

removal of oil and grease. A temperature of 120 
to 130 F. is maintained during the washing, which 
lasts about 4 hours. 

(d) Centrifugal From the washing-house the cotton is taken 

Wringer. to a centrifugal wringer, and wrung as dry as pos- 


(e) Second Washing. It is then returned to the washer and washed a 

second time in clear, pure water. 

(/) Second Wringing. It is then wrung out a second time in the centrif- 
ugal wringer. 

(#) The Picker. After the second wringing it is taken to the picker. 

The cleaned cotton-waste, or rags, is placed on the 

1 The Germans have found that wood pulp gives a higher nitrification 
and forms a better base for smokeless powder than cotton. The pulp is 
prepared in a way similar to that of the manufacture of paper, and paper 
scraps, after suitable mechanical and chemical treatment, are also available. 
Judging by the results obtained by the Germans, it is thought to be probable 
that in the course of time wood pulp will displace cotton fibre generally in the 
manufacture of nitrocellulose powder. 


apron of the machine, which conducts it between two 
horizontal toothed cylinders which revolve in op- 
posite directions, pulling in between them the cotton, 
tearing apart the knots and tangled lumps of waste, 
or the cotton rags, into shredded strips, about 1 inch 
to 1 inches long, and about inch wide. After 
passing through the picker it is collected in boxes 
and taken to the drying-house. 


Drying-house. This house has large wooden bins with perforated 

bottoms. Hot air circulates under the bottoms, and 
is forced up through the bins and through the 
cleaned, dried, and picked cotton placed therein. 
The temperature of the air is from 90 to 105 F. 
The cotton is turned over by hand from time to time. 
It is kept in the bins about 8 hours. It then con- 
tains about 0.5% of water. As soon as the cotton 
is thus dried it is placed in air-tight cans. This is 
necessary, as it absorbs from \\% to 2% of water by 
mere exposure to the air. It is then taken to the 


(a) Nitrating-house. The cotton, as now prepared, is nitrated in earthen 
pots containing the acid mixture, or by placing it in 
a centrifugal machine, so arranged as to allow the 
acid mixture to be admitted and the spent acids to 
be withdrawn through suitable pipes with stop-cocks. 
In case the nitration takes place in a centrifugal 
machine it is conducted as follows: One can of dried 
cotton, containing about 16 pounds, is placed at one 
time in the machine with about 900 pounds of mixed 

(6) The Acids. acids, consisting of 3 parts sulphuric acid and 1 part 

nitric acid, both very strong, 93% and 95% respec- 
tively. The mixed acids are drawn from a large 
tank, called the mixed-acid tank. The spent acids, 
after "revivifying" by additions of "fortifying" 
acids of concentrated strength, are let into the 
mixed-acid tank. 


(c) Nitration. The charge is kept in the centrifugal machine 

about 30 minutes. In becoming nitrated the cotton 
increases in weight about one-half; the 16 pounds of 
cellulose giving about 24 pounds of nitrocellulose. 
The degree of nitration is about 12.6% of N. During 
the 30 minutes the charge is turned over and over 
by iron hooks. 

(d) Drawing off After 30 minutes the drain-cocks of the machine 
Spent Acid. are opened, the machine is started, and the spent 

acids are forced out by centrifugal action. 


The remainder of the process has for its object 
getting rid of the free acids remaining in the nitrated 
cotton and of the nitro-by-products. 

The nitrated cotton is taken at once from the 
nitrating machine, and immersed or drowned in a 
large quantity of pure cold water. It is kept im- 
mersed in this water for 8 hours, two changes of 
water being made. 

From the drowning-tanks the cotton is taken to 
another centrifugal machine. The machine is started 
as soon as the charge is in it, and while it is revolv- 
ing cold water is played on it from a hose. After 
about ten minutes the washing is discontinued, and 
the machine then revolved at its highest capacity 
and the cotton wrung as dry as possible. 

About 1000 pounds are allowed to accumulate 
from the foregoing operations, and this constitutes 
a factory "lot." l This lot receives a definite number 
which attaches to it throughout its existence. In 
connection with this number all subsequent purifi- 
cation operations, stability- and ballistic-tests are 

(c) Purifying-tanks. These are large wooden tanks, having steam- 
pipes arranged over the bottom. Steam circulates 
through these pipes and keeps the cotton and water 
at the desired temperature. Pure water is put in 

(a) Drowning. 

(6) First Washing. 

1 The size of the " lot " of different factories varies. 


(d) First Purifica- the tanks and one lot added. The lot is kept in 

tion. the purifying-tank for two days, the temperature 

being maintained at 80 C., except that the water 
is renewed three times during this period, and at 
each renewal the temperature is raised to 100 C. 
for two hours. The mass is kept agitated by revolv- 
ing arms set at different angles. 

In some factories the purification consists of 
alternate two-hour washings at 80 and 100 C., 
with renewal of water each time to include five 

(e) Second Washing. From the purifying-tanks the nitrated cotton is 

taken to a centrifugal machine, where it is washed 
with pure cold water from a hose for a few minutes. 
It then goes to the pulper. 

(/) Pulper. This is the ordinary pulping-machine used in 

paper-mills. It consists of an oval-shaped vat 
or tank, with a horizontal shaft across its nar- 
rowest dimension. On one end of this shaft is a 
drum, which has on its outer surface a series of 
parallel knife-edges. Directly below the drum is a 
concentric surface, with a second series of knife- 
edges. The clearance between these edges can be 
regulated. Pure water circulates slowly through the 
vat, running in at one point and overflowing at 
another. About 1000 pounds of cotton from the 
purifying-tank is placed at one time in the pulper. 
The contents of the vat are submitted to an acid 
color-test from time to time, and sufficient sodium 
carbonate is added to neutralize any free acid that 
may be liberated as the pulping proceeds. The 
drum revolving pulls the cotton down and forces 
it between the two series of knife-edges, cutting it 
finer and finer until the whole mass is a smooth, 
even, fine pulp, about the consistency of corn meal; 
this requires about six hours. From the pulper the 
cotton goes to the poacher. 

(gr) Poacher. This is a vat similar to the pulper in form, but 

it has no knife-edges. The horizontal shaft across 
its narrow part carries only wooden paddles. The 
object of the machine is simply to continue the 
washing, with a view to removing all free acid or 


alkali. The contents are tested for both acid and 
alkali as the poaching proceeds. The operation is 
continued until the lot is shown to be free from acid 
and alkali. A chemical stability-test is now made. 
Further treatment depends on its result. Another 
form of poacher consists of large, deep, cylindrical 
vats, with a propeller-shaped wheel on a vertical 
axis near its bottom. Steam-pipes may be placed 
over the bottom, and the mass subjected to the 

(h) Second Purifica- action of boiling water and rewashing with cold 

lion. water, as in the purifying-vats. The propeller keeps 

the mass circulating. The process should continue 

for three days, having twelve changes of water and 

two hours' boiling with each change. 

(i) Third and Final From the poacher, as just described, the cotton 
Washing. is dumped into a large volume of pure cold water, 

which is contained in a large trough. Through the 
trough circulates an endless belt of coarse cotton 
cloth, which passes between two rollers at some 
distance outside of the trough. As the belt moves 
through the mass of suspended cotton a certain 
quantity adheres to it, and the belt carries this up 
through the rollers, which squeeze out the surplus 
water, and a scraper detaches the squeezed cotton 
from the belt and it falls into receptacles placed to 
receive it on the other side of the rollers. It is 

(/) now in the form of small thin flakes. It contains 

about 4% of water. This is submitted to careful 
laboratory tests. 


(a) Dehydrating. This product is taken to the dehydrating-press. 

The water is extracted by means of alcohol; the 
latter displacing the water. The alcohol thus mixed 
with the cotton is sufficient to accomplish its col- 
loidization when mixed with ether in the next 
operation. In extracting the water, 15 pounds of 
nitrocotton is placed in the cylinder of the dehy- 
drating-press, and submitted to a pressure of 3000 
pounds per square inch, which forms it into a 
cylindrical "cheese." A large quantity of water 
is pressed out by this pressure, but some still 



remains. A quantity of alcohol is let into the 
press cylinder. Air is admitted over the alcohol, 
and a pressure of 100 pounds per square inch put 
on. This forces the alcohol through the mass of 
the cheese, and the liquid flows out through a 
pipe below; first water comes, then a mixture of 
water and alcohol, and, finally, alcohol of full 
strength. A pressure of 3000 Ibs. per square inch is 
again put on the cheese, and this forces out surplus 
alcohol. Enough remains for colloiding. The 
cheese now weighs about 17 Ibs., 15 Ibs. of cotton 
and 2 Ibs. of alcohol. 

(6) Colloiding. From the dehydrating-presses the product is 

taken to the colloiding-machine. This consists of an 
ordinary bread-dough kneading-machine, as used in 
large bakeries. Three cheeses from the dehydrating- 
press are broken up and put into the kneader with 
about one-half the weight of ether. The kneader 
is started, and the mixing continues until all of 
the ether is absorbed, which, as a rule, requires 
about two hours. When the colloiding is finished, 
the charge from the mixing-machine is pressed 
into a cake by hydraulic pressure. This cake is 
a cylinder about 9" X 14". The product should now 
be a smooth, compact colloid, with a clear amber 
or light brown color. Some few white spots seen 
in the colloid cake are air-bubbles. To get rid of 
these air-bubbles and to blend better the colloid, the 
cake is put through the macaroni press. 


(a) Macaroni This is an hydraulic press, having small holes 

Press. in the bottom of its cylinder. The colloid is forced 

by the pressure through these small holes, and falls 
in a receptacle below in macaroni-like strings. These 
are collected and put into the final press, and 
pressed into the final powder-cake. 

(6) Die-press. The powder-cake is put through the die-press, 

from which it emerges in the form of a continuous 
cord- or rope-like cylinder, of the diameter of the 
powder-grain being made, and with the requisite 
perforations. This result is accomplished by having 



the end of the press a cone, and fitted into the 
apex of the cone is a die, with needles of proper 
size for the perforations. The press is horizontal. 
The head forces the colloid to fill the cone and sur- 
round the needles. Continued pressure forces the 
colloid out through the die ; it is received on rollers, 
carried thereon to the end of a long table, at which 
point a revolving disk-cutter cuts the rope into 
grains of proper lengths. The die can be changed 
so that one press may turn out many sizes of grain. 


(a) Solvent The grains from the powder-press are collected 

Recovery. in suitable cases and taken to the solvent-recovery 
house. At this house the grains are placed in certain 
receptacles, and hot air forced up through them. 
This hot air carries off the greater part of the solvent, 
the grains shrinking and shrivelling in the process. 
The air, laden with the vapors of alcohol and ether, 
passes to an elaborate refrigerating-apparatus, in 
which the two vapors are separately condensed and 
collected. The process takes about 8 hours. About 
60% of the solvent should be recovered, but this 
degree of efficiency is rarely attained. 

(6) Dry-house. The powder is then taken to the dry-house, where 

it is kept from two to four months in a drying tem- 
perature of 100 to 105 F.i 

1 The methods heretofore employed for drying smokeless powders, that 
is, the removal of moisture and of excess solvent, have required long periods, 
from one to four months, after the powder is grained and before it can be 
issued or used. Various methods of shortening this period have been inves- 
tigated. Abnormally elevated temperature air-drying has a tendency to 
injure the grains and may destroy them. 

Of the other methods proposed, " water-drying " has been the one giving 
best promise, and since the outbreak of the European war, this process has 
been largely used by many manufacturers, because of the urgent need for 
prompt deliveries. 

This process consists of immersing the powder, either with or without 
prior solvent-recovery, in water, where it remains for a period varying from 
a few days to two weeks, depending upon the degree of urgency of require- 
ments, etc. The water is generally cold at first and raised more or less gradu- 
ally to a maximum of 55 to 60 C. Naturally, the shorter the period, the 


All powder is doubly blended before being formed in accept- 
ance lots. 

The delivery of a lot of powder dates from the completion 
of the blending and boxing it, at which time the powder inspector 
of the Government selects samples for chemical analysis and 
for ballistic test. Its acceptance depends on the passage of 
these tests. 

Powder is shipped in zinc-lined boxes containing, approxi- 
mately, 100 pounds. Each box is marked with the number of 
the lot, maker's initials, year, gun intended for, muzzle-velocity, 
pressure, and granulation. 

General Remarks on Smokeless Powders. 

Powder, such as that just described, is a pure cellulose or 
colloid powder. Sometimes nitroglycerine or certain metallic 
nitrates are added to the colloid in the mixing, with a view to 
giving a better ballistic effect. These substances when added 
are to be considered as distributed throughout the mass of 

more heating is required for powder with an equal amount of solvent. Too 
severe heating of water injures the grains, especially large ones. The action 
of the hot water is to dilute the solvent, which by this action and subsequent 
wringing in a centrifugal, is mostly removed from the powder. Thereafter, 
a period of air-drying is needed to remove the moisture, and this period, while 
preferably about two weeks with moderate temperature, is sometimes made 
quite short by using higher temperature. 

By what may be called a conservative water-drying process, therefore, 
cannon powders may be completely dried in about one month, while some 
private manufacturers are now drying small-grain powders in a few days. 
Powders dried in water have a whitish or milky appearance, but do not differ 
markedly in other physical aspects from air-dried powders. Tests applied 
are of the same nature and for powders conservatively dried in water, give 
about the same results as for air-dried powders. 

Some samples of considerable age are still stable, but not sufficiently long 
observation of such powders has been had to demonstrate fully their keeping 

This process is therefore still regarded as one to be used for quantity 
manufacture only in time of need, and when the powder may be expected to 
be consumed within a reasonable period, for which conditions its value 
is proven. 


the colloid: the nitroglycerine like water in a sponge, the 
metallic nitrates like particles of sand, or earth, in ice made 
from muddy water. They are not essentials; they are added to 
modify the character of the explosion in the bore of a gun. 

The ballistic efficiency of a powder may be represented by 
the ratio: 

Velocity given to projectile in f. s. 

Pressure in tons per sq. in. in bore 

It is desirable that this ratio should have a maximum value. 

The strength of guns now in use limits the denominator to 
about 16 to 18. 

With this limitation muzzle-velocity for a given projectile 
is dependent on the rate of burning of the powder, its quantity, 
and the length of bore. 

Under existing conditions, including kind of powder and 
capacity of powder chambers, a muzzle-velocity of about 
2300 f. s. is had in guns having bores about 35 calibers long, 
about 2600 f. s. in guns having bores about 40 calibers long, 
and 2800 to 3000 f. s. in guns having bores about 50 calibers 

It has been universally thought desirable, heretofore, to so 
design a nitro-powder that the carbon would all burn to carbon 
dioxide. Lately this has been questioned by Mendeleef, who 
advances the claim that the best results with progressive ex- 
plosives are to be had when the carbon is burned to CO instead 
of C0 2 , for the reason that a given weight of carbon will give 
double volume of CO compared with C0 2 at same pressure and 
temperature, and this will be more efficient in a gun than the in- 
crease of volume due to the increased temperature in burning to 
C02- Furthermore, the higher temperature of the products of 
explosion when C is burned to C0 2 is so destructive to the 
metal of the bore of guns by erosion as to make such explosives 
less desirable. 

For example, military guncotton has insufficient oxygen to 
burn all of its C to C0 2 , and nitroglycerine has an excess of 


oxygen. By mixing these two substances in proper proportions 
the excess of oxygen in the explosion of the latter supplies the 
deficiency of oxygen in the explosion of the former, and the 
products of explosion of the mixture are C0 2 , H 2 0, and N. 

The English smokeless powder, cordite, is an illustration of 
such a combination; it is composed of 

Guncotton (acetone colloided) 37 parts 

Nitroglycerine 58 il 

Vaselin 5 " 


It gives high muzzle-velocities with low pressures, but the 
temperature of its explosion is very high comparatively, and 
has caused thereby such rapid erosion of the bores of English 
guns as to cause it to be discarded in favor of a powder with 
less nitroglycerine, about 38 per cent. 

The celebrated French BN powder had barium and potas- 
sium nitrate. 

The explosion of such powders containing an oxygen carrier 
disseminated throughout the mass of the colloided nitrocellu- 
lose, appears to be more prolonged and increasing in its effect 
than that of the pure colloid powders. 

Based on the foregoing considerations nitrocellulose powders 
may be classified as follows : 


(a) Acetone colloids. Composed of nitrocellulose of high nitra- 
tion colloided in acetone. Such colloids are brittle, and 
apt to disintegrate under pressure in the bores of gun, 
giving excessive pressures. They are dangerous. 

(6) Ether-alcohol colloids. Composed of nitrocellulose of mean 
nitration colloided in ether-alcohol. Such colloids are 
tough and elastic, and do not break up under pressure 
in the bores of guns. 




(a) Acetone colloid for matrix with nitroglycerine. 
(6) Acetone colloid for matrix with metallic nitrate. 

(c) Ether-alcohol colloid for matrix with nitroglycerine. 

(d) Ether-alcohol colloid for matrix with metallic nitrate. 

(e) Acetone colloid for matrix with organic nitrate. 

(/) Ether-alcohol colloid for matrix with organic nitrate. 

Some examples of these types of powders are given in the 
following table: 




Maxim-Schupphaus. Mendeleef. 

Guncotton 80 . Pyrocellulose, C 30 H 38 (NO 2 ) 12 O 26 , con- 

Nitrocellulose (sol.) 19.5 tains 12.4 per cent of nitrogen. 

Urea 0.5 

Powder for U. 8. Army and Navy 

100.0 (Cannon). 

Poudre B (Vieille's Powder}. Nitrocellulose containing not less 

Guncotton 68.21 than 12.60 per cent of nitrogen 

Nitrocellulose (sol.) 29.79 0.1 per cent. 

Paraffin 2.00 

U. 8. Army and Navy (Small Arms). 

100.00 Pyrocellulose. 


Guncotton 75. 

Nitrocellulose (sol.) 22 . 48 

Nitrobenzene 2 . 52 



Guncotton 40. 

Nitrobenzene 60. 


Swiss Normal Powder. 

Guncotton 96 . 21 

Nitrocellulose (sol.) 1 . 80 

Resin 1.99 









Nitrocellulose (N = 12.33%) 67 . 18 

Barium nitrate 9 . 76 

Di-nitro-toluene. . 22.06 

Poudre BN. 



Barium nitrate 

Potassium nitrate. . 
Sodium carbonate. . 
Solvents, etc 



Nitrocellulose. . . . 


Barium nitrate. . . 
Potassium nitrate. 


Solvents, etc 

E. C. Powder. 




Potassium and barium ni- 

Resins, etc 






















Nitroglycerine. . 



Nitroglycerine. . 
Vaselin. . 



Nitrocellulose. . . . 
Nitroglycerine. . . . 
Urea. . 












(a) Guncotton. 

As already explained guncotton is nitrocellulose of high 
nitration, containing above 12.9 per cent of nitrogen. Its 
manufacture has been described in connection with the manufac- 
ture of smokeless powder. The degree of nitration is regulated 
by the relative quantities of water, sulphuric acid, and nitric acid 
used in the nitrating bath, the time and temperature of the 
steeping. The purification of guncotton for disruptive military 
uses is accomplished in the same manner as described for 
nitrocellulose used in the manufacture of smokeless powder. 

In manufacturing guncotton for military purposes, purified 
pulp, produced as explained under the head of manufacture 
of smokeless powder is taken from the poacher to a stuff-chest 
by suction. This consists of a large vat with air-tight top. 
Through the centre of the vat passes a vertical shaft, on which 
are mounted a number of feathered paddles. After the purified 
pulp has been sucked up into the stuff-chest it is kept agitated 
by these paddles, so that the pulp will be kept evenly dis- 
tributed in suspension throughout the liquid. 

From the stuff-chest the pulp is drawn into the moulding- 
press. This is an hydraulic press made of bronze and containing 
moulds. The pulp is run into these moulds, and the pres- 
sure applied for about four minutes. The mould-press blocks 
are taken to the final press, placed in the moulds of the final 



press, and the pressure applied, increasing from a minimum 
of 6000 to a maximum of 7000 pounds per square inch, through 
an interval of about three minutes; the highest pressure is 
maintained for one minute. 

The blocks as they come from the final press contain about 
15 per cent of water. While in the press they are stamped with 
the name of the factory, the lot and year. Before being issued 
for storage or service they should be soaked in pure water until 
they contain about 35 per cent of water. 

In order to get dry guncotton for primers a block of wet 
guncotton is split up into one-half inch sections; these are 
strung on a copper or brass wire or tube separating the sections 
from each other, and exposed to a drying atmosphere out of 
direct rays of the sun. The sections should be weighed from 
time to time, and the drying should continue until the weights 
are constant. 

While, theoretically, 183.3 pounds of guncotton (trinitro- 
cellulose) or 176 pounds of endeca-nitrocellulose (Vieille's) 
should be obtained from 100 pounds of cellulose, in practice the 
yield is about 105 pounds of guncotton to 100 pounds of unni- 
trated cotton; this makes about 230 blocks. 

After nitrating and before pulping, guncotton retains the 
complete cotton structure ; even under the microscope no differ- 
ence is to be detected between nitrated and unnitrated cotton. 
The only outward evidences of the change is the rough feeling 
it has, the crackling sound when rubbed between the fingers, and 
its electrical properties, sticking to the fingers if rubbed between 
them. Rubbed in the dark, dry guncotton is to some extent 

It may easily be distinguished from unnitrated cotton by 
treating with solution of iodine in potassium iodide, and sub- 
sequently moistening with dilute sulphuric acid. Unnitrated 
cotton, when so treated, gives a blue color; nitrated cotton, a 

Dry guncotton varies in color from white to light yellow. 
The yellow is often an indication of sodium carbonate. Some- 


times, there is a brownish or reddish shade ; this is due, as a rule, 
to iron, from the washing-water. 

When pure, it is without color, odor, or taste, and free from 
either alkaline or acid reaction. 

The density of unpulped dry cotton is about 0.1; after 
pulping, about 0.8; and in the block form after compression, 
about 1.2. The absolute specific gravity of guncotton is 1.5. 

It is insoluble in both hot and cold water and in alcohol, 
ether, and ether-alcohol, at ordinary temperatures. 

It is soluble in acetone, acetic ether, and in a number of 
the nitro-derivatives of the aromatic hydrocarbons. 

It is insoluble in nitroglycerine; but both guncotton and 
nitroglycerine dissolve in acetone, and a combined colloid may 
be obtained by dissolving them in this solvent and then evap- 
orating the common solvent. Soluble nitrocellulose is partly 
soluble in nitroglycerine, and explosive gelatine is based on this 

Guncotton is completely decomposed by boiling in a solution 
of any alkaline sulphide, while unnitrated cotton is not; this 
principle is used in analyzing guncotton. 

Caustic potash solution, with alcohol added, decomposes gun- 
cotton almost instantly. 

For disruptive purposes, guncotton is used to fill the cavities 
of shell, to charge torpedoes, and for demolitions of all kinds. 
For these purposes, it is pressed by hydraulic pressure while in 
the wet state, in the form of purified pulp, into suitable disks, 
blocks, or special forms. It is not colloided. 

Its value as a disruptive agent rests upon its great force, 
and its safety in handling, storage, and manufacture. 

While many disastrous explosions have occurred with it in 
the past, none have of late years; and the fact that it is kept 
in storage in the wet state in which it is non-explosive, except 
with a powerful detonator or a small piece of dry guncotton, 
makes it less likely to accidental or spontaneous explosion than 
any other explosive now used. 

If properly purified, guncotton may be kept for years, 


even in the dry state, without the slightest deterioration. If 
not purified completely, some of the nitro-by-products may 
decompose, and these initiate a progressive decomposition of a 
mass of guncotton. If, however, the gases generated in such 
decomposition are free to pass off, the mass will quietly disin- 
tegrate. The first evidences of decomposition are acid fumes. 
These may be recognized by their pungent odor, or, if a piece of 
moist, blue litmus paper be confined with a mass of guncotton 
thought to be in the state of incipient decomposition, it will 
soon be reddened. As its decomposition progresses, the fumes 
become more copious and may be seen as the reddish-brown 
gas, N0 2 (nitric peroxide). At the same time, the mass begins 
to show soft, pasty, yellow spots, which extend and coalesce 
until the whole mass is soft and pasty; and, in connection with 
the escape of gas, the mass shrinks in volume. As the process 
proceeds, other gases than N0 2 pass off. The residue is an 
amorphous, porous, sugar-like substance, almost entirely soluble 
in water. As long as the gases escape and the heat developed 
by the reactions is carried off with them, there is no danger 
of explosion; but if the gases cannot escape, the pressure in- 
creases, the heat is retained, the reaction is accelerated, the 
temperature rises, and ultimately an explosion may result from 
these causes. 

In the case of a mass of decomposing guncotton, it should 
be spread out, exposed to the air, out of the sun, and wetted 
with water. 

While nitrocellulose is one of the safest explosives known 
and, when carefully purified, is not liable to decomposition, 
still it should be kept in mind that it is an explosive, and due 
care in handling and storing it should be observed. 

Some authorities claim that strong light will act slowly 
to originate the decomposition of nitrocellulose; but Abel, 
who made searching investigation of this matter, says 
that " guncotton produced from properly purified cotton may 
be exposed to diffused daylight, either .in the open air or in 
closed vessels, for very long periods, without undergoing any 


change. The preservation under these conditions has been per- 
fect after three and one-half years." But long-continued expo- 
sure of dry guncotton to the direct rays of strong sunlight pro- 
duces a very gradual change. If moist guncotton be exposed 
to sunlight, it is affected to some greater extent than dry 
guncotton, but the change is very small even after several 
months' exposure to sunjight in a glass bottle. 

It has been found that guncotton, exposed to the sunlight 
without confinement, has had its stability, as determined by 
the heat-test, improved. This would seem to suggest that the 
action of sunlight decomposes the unstable nitro-by-products, 
and the escape of these into the air slowly leaves the nitro- 
cellulose proper in a purer and more stable state. Indeed, 
the evolution of acid fumes from a nitrocellulose exposed to 
strong, diffused light would be evidence of incomplete purifi- 

Instructions for blending or drying smokeless powders re- 
quire that the operation be performed out of the direct rays 
of the sun. 

Heat of sufficient degree, of course, disintegrates the nitro- 
cellulose molecule; but nitrocellulose of either high or low 
nitration, that has been properly purified, will stand a tem- 
perature approaching 130 F. without change. 1 

Water or a damp atmosphere serves to protect nitrocellulose 
from the disintegrating effect of heat (not .light). A guncotton 
stored in water or in damp magazines is able to withstand, 

1 " In general, it may be said that no nitre-corn pound will stand heating 
to temperatures above 160 F. for any prolonged period. At 194 F., even 
the best and purest product is sure to decompose within a few hours, and 
even pure guncotton cannot be exposed to a temperature above 122 F., 
without impairing its capability of subsequently standing the heat-test. It 
is true, decomposition may not take place at this temperature, and that the 
product may be kept indefinitely without decomposition under favorable 
conditions; but whenever it is again subjected to the heat-test at 160 F., 
it will at once give a distinct reaction. In general, it would appear that 
only the most perfect products will stand a temperature of 113 to 122 F. 
for some months without impairing their capability of standing the heat- 
test . ' ' GUTTM ANN. 


without change, temperatures as high as 200 F. for long periods. 
This property renders guncotton a desirable explosive in hot, 
damp climates. Water not only protects the nitrocellulose 
proper from the disintegrating action of heat, but also the nitro- 
by-products present in incompletely purified nitrocellulose. 

To be non-explosive, it is only necessary that the guncotton 
be damp; nitrocellulose, with only the water left in it after 
coming from the centrifugal wringer, is not to be exploded by 
fire or ordinary shock. 

Guncotton made for disruptive purposes contains, as a rule, 
a small amount of carbonate of sodium; this, disseminated 
through the mass of the cotton, tends to neutralize any 
free acid that may be formed in storage. It would not be 
desirable to have it in finished smokeless powder, as it 
would increase the solid residue in guns and cause some 

Guttmann is opposed to the use of sodium carbonate in 
guncotton even to neutralize free acid due to incomplete 
purification or incipient decomposition. If the guncotton is 
properly purified, there is no reason why there should be free 
acid, or why decomposition should take place; and if decom- 
position should begin, the action of the carbonate would only 
neutralize the first gases given off, it would not arrest the pro- 
cess: indeed, alkalies have a tendency to decompose nitro- 
cellulose at temperatures above 86 F. It is not desirable to 
check incipient decomposition by sodium carbonate; on the 
contrary, if incipient decomposition takes place, it is desirable 
that the gases given off should pass off and serve themselves 
to give evidence of the condition existing. "At ordinary tem- 
peratures that is, those occurring under normal circumstances 
of storage and carriage decomposition of guncotton, so far as 
present experience goes, is out of question." 

Cold has no effect on dry guncotton. The compressed cakes 
and disks are caused to flake off on the surfaces if wet and exposed 
to freezing and thawing, and the freezing also causes the mass 
of the cake or disk to open out and be less compact. 


Variations of temperature between 105 F. and 32 F. have 
no effect on either the physical or chemical conditions of gun- 

Guncotton, even when dry, is not liable to explode by blow 
or friction, unless very closely confined and compressed. For 
example, in order to explode by a blow a piece of guncotton, 
it is necessary to take a small piece, wrap it tightly in tin- 
foil, place on an anvil, tap it two or three times lightly to 
compress it, then strike it a heavy blow. Shells filled with 
disks of dry compressed guncotton have been fired from 
guns into masonry at fifty yards from the gun without ex- 

Flame, or metal heated to red or white heat, will ignite 
guncotton. Its rate of burning is affected by the degree of con- 
finement and physical state of the mass: if woven into wicks 
or compact cloth, the rate is much reduced; if compressed 
while in the pulped state into compact blocks, its rate is also 
reduced. Burning guncotton may be extinguished by water; 
but if a mass of considerable size be burning, it may be quenched 
on the exterior and continue to burn in the interior. Wet gun- 
cotton in any form cannot be ignited by flame. A wet disk of 
guncotton thrown into a fire will first dry out on the outer sur- 
face and burn there, and continue this progressively until the 
whole disk is consumed. As much as a ton of wet guncotton 
has been consumed in this way without the slightest evidence 
of explosion. 

The igniting-point for nitrocellulose is about 186 C. 

The specific heat of the gases composing the products of 
explosion may be taken approximately at 0.28. 

The experiments of Roux 1 and Sarrou indicate 1056.3 centi- 
grade units of heat given off by the explosion of guncotton. 
This indicates a temperature of 3700 C. Nobel and Abel fixed 
the temperature, as a result of their experiments, at 4400 C. 
Sarrou and Vieille found that water was dissociated at the tem- 
perature of the explosion, all of the carbon burning to C0 2 . 
Berthelot estimates that guncotton of density 1.1, exploded in 


its own volume, will give a pressure of 160 tons per square inch. 
The rate of propagation of the explosive wave of guncotton 
in rigid tubes has been found to be 5000 to 6000 metres per 

Experiments of Professor C. E. Munroe, at the naval gun- 
cotton factory at Newport, R. I., have shown that thoroughly 
dry guncotton can be detonated by three grains of mercury ful- 
minate; air-dry guncotton, by five grains, if the fulminate be 
confined in copper tubes and the tubes are in close contact 
with the cotton. The Navy primers, however, have 35 grains 
of mercury fulminate in order to have a liberal certainty 

A disk of guncotton detonated on an iron plate reproduces 
on the surface of the plate the reliefs and depressions on the 
surface of the disk; a depression on the surface of the disk will 
be reproduced as a depression on the surface of the plate. The 
explanation of this is to be found in the erosive effect of the 
rushing gas at those points where there is no contact; it is the 
same effect as is to be noted near the bands of projectiles in the 
bores of guns : the enormous velocities of the gaseous molecules 
impinging on the metal at these points, in connection with the 
weakening of bonds of cohesion and affinity by the high heat, 
is thought to be sufficient to account for the phenomenon. 

The violence of explosion is greater in proportion as the con- 
finement is greater; the maximum being when confined rigidly 
in its own volume, and, in accordance with this principle, tamp- 
ing increases the violence of an explosion. Even the amount of 
air-pressure will have its effect on the character of an explosion; 
the same explosive and detonator would give a more mild 
explosion on a mountain- top than at the seashore. 

Wet guncotton gives a more brusque explosion than dry 
guncotton; and Professor Munroe explains this by supposing 
that the water in its pores, being nearly incompressible and 
highly elastic, increases the rate of propagation of the explosive 
wave or disturbance and diminishes thus the time of explosion. 

The energy of the explosive wave may be sufficient to initiate 


explosion in a mass placed at a certain distance from an explod- 
ing mass. This is called explosion by influence. Two theories 
are advanced to account for the phenomenon: One, that the 
explosion is due to certain synchronous relations of the motions 
of the molecules of gas and the molecules of guncotton, that a 
wave of certain amplitude and length passing over the guncotton 
causes " sympathetic " motion to be taken up by the latter, 
and this in turn accomplishes the disruption of the guncotton 
molecule; just as a string of a musical instrument may be set 
to vibrating by sounding near it the note which gives the wave 
of sound that correspond to the string, or as certain glass beads 
under strain may be shattered by musical notes of certain pitch. 
The other considers that in all cases the explosion is initiated 
by the energy of the impact of the molecules in motion, that there 
is a definite product of molecular mass into molecular velocity, 
which, if it be delivered against a molecule of guncotton, will 
disrupt the molecule, and the disruption of one molecule will 
disrupt all adjacent molecules, and so on. As temperature 
varies directly with molecular velocities, an explosive molecule, 
for a given pressure, requires a given temperature to disrupt it. 

While both theories have advocates, the latter is thought to 
be more generally accepted at the present time. Some author- 
ities claim that in all cases heat initiates explosions. 

Explosion by influence may be illustrated by placing gun- 
cotton disks side by side at varying distances apart (J", J", 
}", 1") and noting the effect. 

Berthelot fixes the heat of combustion of guncotton at 12 
calories for each nitryl radical, and, accepting the products of 
explosion as determined by Sarrou and Vieille, gives the total heat 
of combustion at 633 calories per molecular weight proportion. 

Sarrou and Vieille conducted a series of experiments in 
which guncotton was exploded in a closed vessel. They found 
the volume of gases reduced to C. and 760 mm. pressure, 
to vary with the density of the charge, both as to proportion 
of each kind and total volume. Some of their results are given 
in the following table : 



Density of charge 




Volume of gases (reduced) 
material ... 


658 5 

670 8 

682 4 

f CO .. 

49 3 

43 3 

37 6 

Composition of gases per 100 

I C0 2 
\ H.. 


17 2 

18 4 

volumes : 

ICH 4 





From this it appears that the proportion of CO and N de- 
crease, and C0 2 and H t increase, as the density of charging 
increases; also, that for the higher charging a little CH 4 appears. 1 

From these results Berthelot writes out the following reac- 
tion for 'the explosion of guncotton exploded in closed vessels, 
under the ordinary conditions of charging for disruptive pur- 
poses, as in torpedoes : 

Ga4Hi 8 O0(HN0 3 )ii exploded 

- 24CO + 24C0 2 -1- 17H 2 + 12H 2 + 11N 2 . 

When guncotton is burned in the open air there is some 
nitric oxide in the products of combustion, amounting to about 
24 per cent of the total volumes of the product. 

(b) Nitroglycerine. 

Nitroglycerine is a nitric ether of propenyl alcohol (com- 
monly termed glycerine). 

Propenyl alcohol is trihydric and may be written structurally : 


H-0 C-H 

H C H 

H C H 


or, in ordinary symbols, C3H 5 (HO)3. 

1 This CH 4 may, perhaps, account for the flare-backs from cannon in using 
smokeless powder. 


The nitric ether is formed by replacing the H of the HO 
radicals by N0 2 , and theoretically there may be three ethers, 
corresponding to one, two or three replacements of H, forming: 
Mononi trogly cerine, C 3 H 5 (HO) 2 ON0 2 , 
Dinitroglycerine, 1 C 3 H 5 (HO)0 2 (N0 2 ) 2 , 
Trinitroglycerine, Cs^OaCNOa^. 
Only the last is of interest. 

The process of manufacture of nitroglycerine follows in a 
general way the operations performed in the manufacture of 
guncotton, and consist essentially of: 

1. Nitrating the glycerine; and, 

2. Purifying the product of free acid and other nitro-com- 

In nitrating, it is not possible to place a large amount of 
glycerine in the acid, for the reason that the action would be 
too energetic and the temperature would rise too high. There- 
fore the process is so modified as to bring small amounts of 
pure glycerine (free from lime, iron, aluminum, chlorides, fatty 
acids, glucose, or other adulterants and having a specific gravity 
of 1.26) in succession into the presence of the mixed acids. 

Sulphuric acid is used in the acid bath for the same reason 
as in making nitrocellulose. 

The acids must be of the highest possible concentration, in 
the proportion of 1 part by weight of nitric acid (93% to 95%) 
to 2 parts by weight of sulphuric acid (96%). 

According to the chemical formula, 227 parts of nitroglycerine 
should be obtained from 92 parts of glycerine and 189 parts of 
nitric acid; in practice it is necessary to take a much higher 
proportion of acid. As a rule, 1 part of glycerine is taken to 8 
parts of nitric acid and about 14 parts of sulphuric acid. 

In order to keep down the heat developed by the reaction, 
the glycerine must be kept between 68 and 77 F. This is regu- 
lated by the amount of glycerine injected into the mixed acids. 
The heat is caused by the water combining with the sulphuric 

1 It is understood that dinitroglycerine has been used with very promising 


acid. A rise in temperature may explode the nitroglycerine or 
cause a loss of product, converting it into oxalic acid and 
other products; these are difficult to remove, and make the 
nitroglycerine unstable if not removed. This excessive heat- 
ing and accompanying N02 fumes is. called " firing." If the 
temperature rises above 86 F. and cannot be controlled by 
stopping admission of glycerine, compressed air is forced 
through pipes into the mixture, and the acid bath cooled by 
the expansion of this air and the agitation it causes. If the 
temperature still continues to rise, the whole charge is run 
out into safety-tanks. These safety- tanks are large leaden 
chambers or vats, situated at some distance from the nitrating 
apparatus, into which, in case of ^firing, decomposing mix- 
tures may be run directly at any stage of the manufacture 
and " drowned " in a large mass of cold water, which is kept 
agitated and cooled by compressed air escaping through the 
mixed liquids. 

It requires about one hour to charge, nitrate, and discharge 
the contents. During the nitration copious fumes of N02 are 
given off from the surface of the acid mixture. The condition 
of the charge and the degree of reaction are judged by inspection. 

When the nitration is completed the contents are permitted 
to run out into the separating apparatus, which consists of a 
large leaden tank. The nitroglycerine, having less specific grav- 
ity than the waste acids and mixed by-products, collects on 
top. It is drawn off through a stop-cock into a second tank 
containing water. While the nitroglycerine is being run into 
this latter tank, compressed air is forced from below through 
the water, keeping it agitated. The effect of this is to "wash " 
the nitroglycerine and to keep the temperature between 60 
and 86 F. ; which is of first importance. Its specific gravity 
being greater than water (1.6), it settles to the bottom of the 
tank as soon as the compressed air is shut off, and is drawn off 
from it for further purification. A small amount of nitroglycer- 
ine will be left in the wash- water; this is partially recovered 
by mixing with other washings and subsequent separations. 

There remain also some slight traces of free acid; these 


are removed by adding a small quantity of sodium carbonate 
in solution. The washing process is then repeated in a washing- 
tank of similar construction, agitating the liquid in a warm 
dilute solution of sodium carbonate by compressed air, repeat- 
ing the washings and renewing the solution until the desired 
degree of purity is attained. 

After it is thoroughly washed, it is filtered through flannel 
or felt, stretched on suitable frames, two frames being used, 
to remove all slimy and foreign particles which may have gotten 
into the liquid during the manufacture. A layer of dried salt 
is placed on the filters, to remove small quantities of water still 
in the liquid and to favor the rate of filtering. 

The nitroglycerine is allowed to stand in a warm room for 
several days, and still a small quantity of water will rise to the 
top, and may be removed by skimming or absorption. 

The waste acids and wash-waters are subjected to special 
treatment to recover the small quantities of nitroglycerine 
carried off in them, and to place the acids in such condition 
that, after properly "fortifying " them, they may be used 

Physical Properties. Nitroglycerine, made from chemically 
pure ingredients and at a temperature between 60 and 80 F., 
is a water-white oily liquid, without odor at ordinary tempera- 
ture. Commercial nitroglycerine has a yellow color, more or 
less deep. When free from water it is transparent; the pres- 
ence of water makes it milky and translucent. 

It has a slightly sweet taste, and gives a burning sensation. 
It is very poisonous, and a very small quantity absorbed 
through the mouth, nostrils, or skin gives characteristic symp- 
toms of giddiness, faintness, and severe headache; if the quan- 
tity be increased, these symptoms become more aggravated, 
producing rigor and unconsciousness. Robust and highly ner- 
vous persons appear to be specially susceptible to the effects 
described. Sometimes one never becomes immune to these 
effects, but, as a rule, the human system little by little adjusts 
itself so that workmen experience no unpleasant effects. The 


headache effect is most often experienced by those not accus- 
tomed to handling nitroglycerine. 

Nitroglycerine contracts about .08 of its volume in freez- 
ing, which it does at 3 to 8 C. (37 to 46 F.); 1 it does 
not melt from the frozen state until at about 11 C. ; or 
about 51 F. 

Nitroglycerine is soluble in alcohol of above 90 per cent 
strength, ether, chloroform, benzene, concentrated sulphuric 
acid, glacial acetic acid, warm turpentine, methyl and amyl 
alcohols, carbolic acid, nitrobenzene, toluene, acetic ether, 
acetone, olive-oil, stearine oil, hot nitric acid. 

It is insoluble in cold water, 50 per cent alcohol, carbon 
disulphide, cold turpentine, kerosene, caustic-soda solution, 
borax solution. 

It is decomposed by cold hydrochloric acid, specific gravity, 
1.2, slowly; hot ammonium sulphydrate, hot iron chloride, 1.4 
grams of FeCl 2 to 10 c.c. 

The presence of nitroglycerine may be detected by acting 
on the suspected liquid with a solution 2 of aniline in concen- 
trated sulphuric acid. This gives a purple color, which turns 
green on the addition of water. 

Another simple test is to absorb the suspected drop or 
quantity with blotting-paper. If it is nitroglycerine, it will not 
dry, and, when struck on an anvil with a hammer, it will ex- 
plode. Lighted, it burns with a yellowish flame; placed on a 
hot metal plate, it explodes. 

In the frozen state, nitroglycerine is less sensitive to shock 
than in the liquid state; but the process of thawing frozen 
nitroglycerine is a very dangerous one, and many accidents 
have resulted therefrom. It should never be attempted over 

1 According to Walke, at 3 to 4 C. (37 to 40 F.); according to 
Bloxam, at about 4 C. (40 F.); according to Munroe, at 39 to 40 F.; 
according to Guttmann, freezes at 8 C. and melts from the frozen state 
at 11 C. 

A small per cent (0.5 to 3.) of nitre-benzene reduces the freezing-point 
very much, but diminishes the explosive effect also. 

2 1 volume aniline to 40 volumes H 2 SO 4 , specific gravity 1.84. 


a naked flame, or by direct contact with a solid in contact with 
a flame. The only safe way is to thaw over steam-pipes heated 
not higher than 50 C. (122 F.), or immersed in a water-tight 
vessel itself immersed in a vessel of water heated not higher 
than 50 C. (122 F.). 

Nitroglycerine can be completely evaporated at a tempera- 
ture of about 70 C. (158 F.). It evaporates slowly at lower 
temperatures; at 40 C. (104 F.) 10 per cent has evapo- 
rated in a few days. Washing for two hours with water at 
50 C. (122 F.), with agitation by compressed air, 0.15 per cent 
of nitroglycerine is lost. 

Although frozen nitroglycerine is very liable to explosion 
if brought over a naked flame or hot metal, liquid nitroglycerine 
is insensitive to flame. A lighted match plunged into liquid 
nitroglycerine will be extinguished without causing explosion; 
an incandescent platinum wire will be cooled down, the nitro- 
glycerine only volatilizing. 

If the liquid is ignited in the open air, it will burn quietly 
provided the mass is small; if it is large and the tempera- 
ture is increased by a failure of the heat of the burning 
surface to be conducted off, explosion will take place when 
the temperature of the surrounding medium rises to 180 C. 
(356 F.). 

Formerly, nitroglycerine was thought to be liable to undergo 
spontaneous decomposition, but, as now manufactured, such 
danger is very remote. If properly purified, there should be no 
tendency to decompose. When decomposition starts, it pro- 
ceeds slowly and quietly, giving off N0 2 and C0 2 and forming 
crystals of oxalic acid; the escaping gases, some of which are 
held in the liquid, color it green. As the decomposition pro- 
ceeds, the entire mass, after some months, is converted into a" 
greenish, gelatinous substance, composed chiefly of oxalic acid, 
ammonia, and water. Decomposing nitroglycerine is, therefore, 
characterized by a greenish color. While in this state, it is more 
liable to explosion than when normal, and every care should 
be taken not to subject it to jar, blow, or shock; decomposing 


nitroglycerine should be exposed to the open air, so that the 
heat of chemical action may be carried off. 

All nitroglycerine should be tested from time to time for 
free acid with blue litmus-paper. 

If heated above 45 C. (113 F.), decomposition will ensue, 
but below this temperature it may be kept in storage indefi- 
nitely without change. 

A mass of nitroglycerine heated above 180 C. will explode. 
It will explode by shock under certain conditions. If pinched 
between two rigid surfaces like metal or rock, it explodes; e.g., 
a small piece of blotting-paper saturated with a drop of nitro- 
glycerine, struck by a hammer on an anvil, will explode at the 
point struck, but, as a rule, not beyond. A thin thread or 
sheet of nitroglycerine on a metal surface will detonate if struck 
with a piece of metal. A bullet fired into a mass of nitro- 
glycerine will detonate it. 

Shock, friction, and heating of all kinds must be carefully 
guarded against in handling and keeping nitroglycerine. 

Nobel, in 1863, discovered that the highest type of explosion 
could be initiated in nitroglycerine by a small cap of fulminate 
of mercury. This marked an epoch in explosives, in that it 
for the first time established the fact that the character of the 
explosion is dependent upon the character of the initial disturb- 
ance. Nitroglycerine should, therefore, be fired by a cap of 
mercury fulminate if its full explosive force is to be developed, 
and for this purpose the cap should be in direct contact with 
the liquid. In the frozen state, it requires a powerful cap to 
detonate it. 

Great care should be taken of cans or other receptacles 
which have contained nitroglycerine. The film of nitroglycerine 
]"eft on the surface of such empty receptacles has caused disas- 
trous explosions. All such receptacles should be immersed in 
an alkaline sulphide solution before being used for other purposes. 

The explosive reaction for nitroglycerine may be given as 
follows : 

2C 3 H 5 03(N02)3 exploded = 6C0 2 +5H 2 +3N 2 +0. 


One kilogram of nitroglycerine should give 1135 litres of 
gaseous products. 

The temperature of explosion has been ascertained by 
experiment to be about 3000 C. The theoretical temperature, 
exploded in its own volume, is 6980 C. 

The energy represented by 1 kilogram is about 6000 kilo- 
gram-meters. It is about eight times more powerful than 
gunpowder, weight for weight. Exploded in its own volumo, 
it gives a pressure of about 164 tons per square inch. 

Nitroglycerine was first used' by Nobel in 1864 for blasting 
purposes. It proved to be a very dangerous explosive, on 
account of its liquid state and its "creeping " and " sweating " 
properties. Small masses could not be distinguished from 
water, and the detonation of a -drop might explode huge masses, 
causing great destruction of life and property. 

To avoid these dangers, Mowbray, of North Adams, Mass., 
made use of it in the frozen state in the construction of the 
Hoosac Tunnel. Not only were the dangers due to the liquid 
state avoided, but in the frozen state it is less sensitive to 

Nobel next resorted to the device of dissolving nitroglycerine 
in wood alcohol (15 to 20 per cent) for shipment. While in this 
state it is absolutely non-explosive, and can be recovered in 
its explosive form by adding 6 to 8 times its volume of water 
to the solution. While this made shipment safe, the danger of 
handling it in blasting, and for disruptive purposes generally, 
remained, and its use in the liquid state was discontinued abroad 
some years ago, and recently in America. 

At present, nitroglycerine is only used in explosives as an 
ingredient of dynamites of various types and of smokeless 

If at any time it is necessary to store liquid nitroglycerine, 
it should be kept in earthen crocks, standing in copper vessels, 
and a layer of water should be kept on the nitroglycerine. 

If the liquid show a green color at any time, the mass should 
be destroyed by explosion or by chemical action, any alkaline 


sulphide solution being efficient for this purpose. "Sulphur 
solution/' made by dissolving flowers of sulphur in a solu- 
tion of sodium carbonate, is the solution used, as a rule, 
for this purpose. Whenever nitroglycerine is stored either in the 
liquid form or as dynamite, a sulphide solution should be kept 
on hand to pour over particles that may get on shelves or floor. 

(c) Dynamites. 

"Dynamite " is a term that has both a general and a specific 
meaning. As a general term, it includes all mixtures of nitro- 
glycerine with solid substances, in which the latter hold the 
liquid nitroglycerine in absorption. The mixing may be done 
directly or indirectly through the medium of a solvent. The 
solid substance is called the base or dope. The base may be 
itself an explosive, or a combustible material, or entirely inert 
in the chemical reaction of explosion. In this sense, smoke- 
less powders that have nitroglycerine as an ingredient par- 
take of the nature of dynamite, but the name is used with 
reference to explosives designed for disruptive purposes only. 

Berthelot divides dynamites into several classes : 

1. Those having an inert base of silica, magnesium carbonate, 

brick-dust, tripoli, sand, etc., having little or no chemical 
action in the explosion, and acting along physical lines to 
render the mixture safer by checking the transmission of 
molecular shock-waves, the harmonious propagation of 
which, through a homogeneous mass, gives rise to the 
explosive wave. 

2. Those having an active base, which may be 

(a) An explosive compound. 

(6) A combustible base. 

(c) A mixed base, consisting of a combustible and an 


The bases are modified to suit the work in hand; the nature 
of the explosion may be either shattering (local) or propulsivej 
the latter grading off into the slow-burning powders. 


In a more special sense, the term refers to the first practical 
form of dynamite, namely, that in which liquid nitroglycerine 
was mixed with the infusorial earth called kieselguhr as the 
absorbent base. 

The difficulties and dangers attending the use of liquid 
nitroglycerine have been referred to. In 1866 Mr. Alfred Nobel, 
in attempting to avoid these, hit upon the means of absorbing 
the liquid explosive into the mass of pulverized kieselguhr, an 
earth found in beds in various parts of the world, consisting 
of the silicious remains of infusorial life. This earth has marked 
absorptive properties, due to the cellular nature of the particles 
which constitute it, and, having absorbed a liquid-like nitro- 
glycerine, it holds it tenaciously. Nobel, by making use of this 
property of kieselguhr, avoided the difficulties and dargers of 
transporting, handling and exploding nitroglyceiine without 
materially impairing its power, and to this mixture he gave the 
name "dynamite." When carefully calcined the best kieselguhr 
will absorb over four times its own weight of nitroglycerine. 
The amount of nitroglycerine present in any case is regu- 
lated by the character of the work to be done; the highest 
commercial percentage is 75 per cent, and this is called 
"Dynamite No. 1." Dynamite "No. 2" has 50 per cent of 
nitroglycerine; "No. 3," 30 per cent of nitroglycerine. A lit lie 
sodium carbonate is usually present to neutralize any free acids 
that may form. 

The following is a summary of the steps taken in the manu- 
facture of dynamite: 

1. The kieselguhr is calcined in a reverberatory furnace. 

2. It is ground between rollers. 

3. It is passed through fine sieves. 

4. It is dried. 

5. It is packed in bags and stored in a dry atmosphere. 

6. It is dried until it does not contain more than 0.5 per cent 

of water. 

7. Dry guhr is spread over the bottom of lead-lined troughs. 

8. Nitroglycerine is poured over it and mixed thoroughly. 


9. It is rubbed through sieves: 1st, 3 meshes to the inch; 21, 
7 meshes to the inch. 

10. The bulk dynamite is pressed into cylinders about 1 inch 

diameter and 8 inches long. These cylinders are called 
" sticks " or "cartridges." 

11. The cartridges are carefully wrapped in paraffined paper. 

The sensitiveness of dynamite is increased very much by 
heat. According to Eissler, "at 350 the fall of a dime upon 
it will explode it." 

It ignites at 180 C. (356 F.) ; at this temperature it will 
burn quietly, if free from pressure and not affected by jar, vibra- 
tion, or extraneous force of any kind, otherwise it explodes. 

If a thin layer be spread over a tin plate and the plate be 
heated over a burner the nitroglycerine will evaporate, but if 
the layer be more than one-quarter of an inch deep the dynamite 
is liable to explode. 

At a temperature less than 180 C. the sensitiveness in- 
creases with the temperature and time exposed. 

Exposed to gentle heat, dynamite undergoes no change. 
Heated at 100 C. for one hour, no change should take place. 
Heated rapidly to 220 C., it ignites and burns. If ignited it 
burns quietly when free, but if confined will explode. If a 
large mass of dynamite is ignited, the interior portion may be 
heated high enough to explode, being confined by the sur- 
rounding mass. 

If exposed to high storage temperature for a considerable 
time the nitroglycerine is liable to "leak." Dynamite should 
be tested for "leaking" at the highest temperature to which it 
is liable to be exposed in storage. 

When dynamite is exposed to a temperature below 12 C. 
the nitroglycerine has a tendency to freeze; and if it be lowered 
much below this, down, say, to 4 C., the nitroglycerine freezes, 
and in doing so separates from its base to a certain extent and 
does not always become absorbed again on melting. If solidly 
frozen it is very insensitive to shock. A frozen stick of dyna- 
mite may, however, be exploded by attempting to cut it or 


chop it in two. It is dangerous to ram a frozen cartridge; 
forcing the frozen crystals over each other is apt to initiate 
an explosion. The violence of the explosion is much reduced in 
the frozen state. 

While a stick of unfrozen dynamite may be ignited without 
danger, it is very dangerous to bring a frozen stick in contact 
with a naked flame or highly heated surface. It is only safe 
to thaw it in a covered vessel itself immersed in a water- 

Dynamite as a disruptive explosive is most efficient with 
hard, rigid material. With soft, yielding material it gives only 
a local effect. With such materials a slower acting explosive, 
like black powder or the modified dynamites described later, 
should be used. 

A dynamite with an inert base containing less than 30 per 
cent of nitroglycerine will not explode. When the proportion of 
nitroglycerine is reduced below 30 per cent it is necessary to use 
an active base, either a mixture or compound (see Judson Powder 
and Blasting Gelatin) . 

Kieselguhr dynamite usually has a light-brown to reddish- 
brown color, and looks like brown sugar. It should not feel 
greasy to the touch, and the wrappers of dynamite sticks should 
show no evidences of liquid nitroglycerine on the inside. The 
outside of the stick when the wrapper is removed should be 
smooth, even, and compact; there should be no evidences of a 
pasty condition, or greenish spots. Broken across, the stick 
should present an even, granular surface on the cross-section, 
with no evidence of exuded globules of nitroglycerine. 

The white deposit often seen on the outside of a stick of dyna- 
mite is not necessarily an indication of deterioration. 

Kieselguhr dynamite is used at present chiefly in America. 
Dynamite No. 1 is used to charge submarine mines, and for 
military demolitions. According to Munroe, dynamite No. 1, 
exploded in its own volume, gives a pressure of 125 tons per 
square inch. 

For rock-quarrying, tunnel-making, and blasting generally 


there are many varieties of dynamites, particularly those having 
active bases, either explosive or combustible. 

The following are some examples of American commercial 

GIANT POWDER (Dynamite No. 1). 

Nitroglycerine 75 parts 

Kieselguhr 25 " 

Sodium carbonate 0.5 " 


Nitroglycerine 75 parts 

Sodium nitrate 2 " 

Wood-fiber 21 " 

Magnesium carbonate 2 " 


Nitroglycerine 50 " 

Sodium nitrate 34 " 

Magnesium carbonate 2 ft 

Wood-fiber 14 " 


Nitroglycerine 68 . 81 parts 

Sodium nitrate 18 . 35 " 

Wood-pulp 12.84 " 


Nitroglycerine 40 parts 

Sodium nitrate 40 " 

Sulphur 6 " 

Resin 8 " 

Kieselguhr 8 " 


Nitroglycerine 40 parts 

Potassium nitrate 40 " 

1 Dr. Thos. B. Stillman of the Department of Engineering Chemistry, 
Stevens Institute of Technology, reports the following analyses of Atlas 
Powders, which are being used in the construction of the Panama Canal : 

Atlas Powder B+ Atlas Powder C+ 

Per cent. Per cent. 

Moisture 0.2 Moisture 1.0 

Nitroglycerine 61.1 Nitroglycerine 45.7 

Wood pulp 14.1 Wood pulp 10.5 

Magnesium monoxide 3.0 Chalk 1.9 

Saltpetre 21.6 Saltpetre 40.9 

100.0 100.0 


Wood-pulp 13 parts 

Pitch 7 " 


Nitroglycerine 30 . parts 

Sodium nitrate 52.5 

Sulphur 7.0 " 

Charcoal 10.5 " 


Nitroglycerine 5 parts 

Sodium nitrate 64 " 

Sulphur 16 " 

Cannel-coal dust. . 15 " 

There is a dynamite made in England, in which the 
base is charcoal made from cork. This has a remarkable 
absorptive power, taking up as much as 90 per cent of 
nitroglycerine, and retaining it even if kept under water for 
a prolonged period. It is known in the market as " cork- 

Like all nitro-compounds, dynamites are more sensitive to 
shock at the higher temperatures. 

Direct rays of the sun have the same effect as with other 
nitro-compounds, tending to decompose them. 

Dynamite made from properly purified nitroglycerine 
should, however, keep indefinitely at ordinary storage temper- 

Water in contact with dynamite displaces the nitroglycerine. 
This principle is made use of in collecting nitroglycerine from 
dynamite for test. All dynamite which has been exposed to 
water is dangerous. 

Dynamite requires a much more violent shock than nitro- 
glycerine to explode it. Iron on iron, or iron on stone, will explode 
it, but wood on wood will not. It is more sensitive to shock 
in proportion as the percentage of nitroglycerine increases. 

A small-arm bullet fired at short range into dynamite will 
explode it. 





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(d) Explosive Gelatin. 

In 1875 Nobel introduced a new type of explosive a mix- 
ture of collodion cotton and nitroglycerine under the name 
of " blasting gelatin." The chemical principle involved in 
this explosive is that a more complete combustion takes 
place with the mixture than with either ingredient; the 
excess of oxygen in the products of explosion of nitroglyc- 
erine supplying the deficiency in the explosion of nitro- 
cellulose, causing the C to burn to C02, instead of partly 
to CO; this additional chemical action greatly increasing the 
heat, hence the volume and force of the explosion. The pro- 
portions vary, but may be taken at about 90 per cent of 
nitroglycerine with about 10 per cent of nitrocellulose com- 
pletely soluble in ether-alcohol. According to Berthelot the 
proportions of the mixture are 93 to 95 parts of nitroglycerine, 
7 to 5 parts of collodion cotton. The mixing is done in troughs 
at a temperature of 122 F. with wooden spades, and when the 
mass is so gelatinized as to make it difficult to work with spades 
it is kneaded by hand, like bread-dough, until it has a smooth, 
even consistency. It is then removed and allowed to cool, 
finally the mass becomes a rather firm, compact, jelly-like sub- 
stance, soft enough to be easily cut by a knife. The finished 
product is worked into cylindrical cartridges, but this cannot 
be done in presses as with ordinary dynamite. As a rule, the 
gelatinous mass is placed in an inclined cylinder in which an 
Archimedean screw revolves. The action of the screw is to force 
the gelatin to the upper end of the cylinder and out through 
a circular orifice in that end, forming a continuous "cable" 
or "rope" of the explosive. This cable is cut by a bronze 
knife into the lengths desired. These cartridges are wrapped 
with paraffined paper, the same as ordinary dynamite- cartridges. 

This substance is the most powerful explosive known, having, 
according to Abbot's experiments, 17 per cent greater intensity 
of action than Dynamite No. 1. According to Berthelot, by 
theory, it should have 30 per cent more power. 


Explosive gelatin is a yellow or light brown, gelatinous, 
elastic mixture, more stable than ordinary dynamite. It differs 
from ordinary dynamite, also, in that ordinary pressure does 
not cause the nitroglycerine to exude, and it is not affected by 
the action of water, except at the surface. One gram of mer- 
cury fulminate is required to detonate uncamphorated explosive 
gelatin. By adding to the mixture a small quantity of benzene, 
or, better, camphor (1 to 4 per cent), it is rendered insensitive 
to ordinary shock and friction, but at the same time it requires 
a more powerful primer to detonate it; the addition of camphor 
also raises the temperature of explosion to above 300 C.; if 
mixed with 10 per cent of camphor it fuses without explosion. 
The special primer required to detonate camphorated blasting 
gelatin consists of 60 parts of nitroglycerine and 40 parts 
nitrohydrocellulose. The initial shock required to detonate 
blasting gelatin is six times greater than that required to deton- 
ate ordinary dynamite. Owing to these causes blasting gelatin 
is far less sensitive to explosion by influence; the sensitiveness 
of blasting gelatin varies in a general way inversely as the 
quantity of nitrocellulose used in the mixture. 

A cartridge of blasting gelatin placed in water will turn 
white on its surface, owing to the fact that nitroglycerine in the 
outer layer is displaced. The nitrocellulose remaining forms 
a protective coating to the rest of the mass. 

At ordinary temperature it is much less sensitive than 
ordinary dynamite; in the frozen state it is very sensitive to 
shock, and, in this respect, the opposite of ordinary dynamite. 

It burns in the open air without exploding, when small 
quantities are used. 

It is very stable under the action of heat, keeping for days 
unchanged at 70 C., but its sensitiveness is increased by heat. 
Slowly heated to 204 C. it explodes. 

The potassiurn-iodide-starch stability test is for 10 minutes, 
but it will often stand the heat of the test for from 40 to 60 

The action of blasting gelatin is too violent for many pur- 
poses, and modifications of it have been introduced. The 


explosive gelatin, as made above, or a little thinner (using less 
nitrocellulose), is mixed with other substances, with a view to 
deaden the violence or prolong the duration of the explosive 
force, in the same manner as is done in ordinary dynamites. 
A large variety of these mixtures have been suggested; one of 
them is known as Gelatin Dynamite, and has the following 
composition : 

Explosive gelatin 65 per cent 

Base 35 " " 

The explosive gelatin has only 3 per cent of nitrocellulose. 

The base is a powder made up of 75 parts of sodium nitrate, 
24 parts of wood-pulp, and 1 part of sodium carbonate. 

Analogous to these is a class of explosives, in which nitro- 
cellulose is mixed with oxidizers like the metallic nitrates, and 
the mass held together by some cementing matrix, such as 
paraffin, gums, resins, etc. 1 There is a great variety of this 
class of explosives; they are of interest only historically, and 
in the sense only that it was through them that the present 
composite smokeless powders were evolved. Originally they were 
used largely for blasting purposes. 

(e) Picric-acid Derivatives. 

Picric Acid and the Picrates have been considered (see 
pp. 76 and 79). Recently certain derivatives of these com- 
pounds have come into use as charges for shells. The com- 
positions of these explosives are kept secret and cannot be 
given. They were first exploited in 1869 by Brugere and 
Designolles in France, and Abel in England. The powders 
proposed by these consisted of a mixture of ammonium picrate 
and saltpetre. 

Melinite, used by the French as a shell-filler, is essentially 
picric acid alone or with other substances. Originally it was a 
mixture of picric acid and colloided nitrocellulose, later only 
fused picric acid was used, and Cundill says "there is some 

1 An excellent scheme for the chemical analysis of this class of explosives, 
suggested by Thos. B. Stillinan, Ph.D., and Peter T. Austen, Ph.D., will be 
found in the Bulletin de la Societe Chimique de Paris, April 20, 1906, and an 
English translation thereof in The Chemical Engineer for July, 1906. 


reason to believe that nitrobenzol or a similar material is 
employed as well." 

Lyddite is the English equivalent of melinite. 

The later forms of these shell-filler explosives, such as were 
used by the Japanese and Russians in the recent war, are thought 
to be either pure picric acid or a mixture of it with a nitro-com- 
pound, of the aromatic series, as suggested by Cundill. 

Much attention has been given to the use of high explosives 
in shell by the U. S. Army Ordnance Board, with results superior, 
it is thought, to those attained elsewhere. 

The most successful explosive of this type in the United 
States is Explosive D. 

Explosive D is not fusible; it is used as a shell-filler by 
compression; this is considered a disadvantage, both because 
the density of charging is less and because application of 
pressure of such magnitude as is necessary to properly charge 
shell introduces a source of danger. Explosive D is, however^ 
the least sensitive to shock of all the explosives named, and 
this is a very great advantage. 

A high explosive for charging shell must fulfil many con- 
ditions, some almost contradictory, in order to be thoroughly 

The Ordnance Board, U. S. Army, enumerates the following 
requirements for high explosives for shell : 


1. Form of material (mealed, crystalline, plastic, or molded). 

2. Chemical composition. 

3. Facility of manufacture and time required for manu- 

4. Relative strength or force as compared with black rifle 
powder or picric acid. If estimated, explain method; if deter- 
mined by experiment, state how. 

5. Commercial purposes for which the material is or may 
be used. 


6. Results of tests, if any, that have been made to show: 
(a) Safety in handling. 

(6) Sensitiveness to friction and shock. 

(c) Means required to produce good detonation. 

(d) Keeping qualities under exposure to moisture, heat, 

cold, and continued storage. 

7. Actual firing tests from guns, if any. 

8. Proposed method of loading in shell. 


1. Complete quantitative chemical analysis and determine 
calculated force and temperature of explosion. 

2. Test in Trauzel lead blocks to determine strength in 
comparison with that of known explosives. 

3. Tests with standard impact testing machine to determine 
sensitiveness to blow in comparison with that of known ex- 

4. Determine relative ease of detonation by exploding lead 
or tin tubes, using mercuric fulminate detonators of varying 

5. Determine the solubility of the explosives or any of its 
components in water and the effect of water on the ease of 

6. Note hygroscopic qualities. 

7. Determine chemical action t on metals, especially iron, 
and determine sensitiveness of salts formed, if any. 

8. Determine probable ease of loading into projectiles as 
compared with that of known'explosives. 

9. Determine maximum practicable gravimetric density when 
loaded into projectiles. 

10. Determine " residue from flash " and " mineral ash " 
as approximate measures of the production of smoke. 

11. Determine the stability by noting rate of decomposition 
at 65.5 C, of dry and wet samples of the explosive. 


12. Determine the temperature of ignition and the character 
of burning in open air. 

13. Determine the melting point, if any, or if the explosive 
is a mechanical mixture of chemical compounds, some of which 
have melting points, determine them. 


A satisfactory high explosive for shell should fulfil the fel- 
lowing requirements: 

Safety and Insensitiveness. 

1. Should be reasonably safe in the manufacture and free 
from very injurious effects on the operatives. 

2. Must show a safe degree of insensitiveness in the impact 

3. Must withstand the maximum shock of discharge under 
repeated firings in the shell for which it is intended. 

4. Must withstand the shock of impact without explosion 
when fired in unfused shells against the strongest target that 
the shell alone will perforate without breaking up as follows : 

(a) Field Shell With maximum velocity, against 3 feet of 
oak timber backed by sand. With remaining velocity, 
that of full-service charge at 1000 yards, against 
seasoned brick wall. 

(6) Siege Shell With remaining velocity, that of full- 
service charge at 500 yards, against seasoned concrete 
thicker than shell will perforate. 

(e) Armor-piercing Shell Against a 7-inch tempered steel 
plate in the case of a 12-inch A.P. shell, with strik- 
ing velocity just sufficient to perforate the plate. 
As a preliminary test the explosive is fired as a charge 
of a 6-pounder shell against steel plates of varying thickness 
to determine the limit of sensitiveness of the explosive. The 
limit of perforation for a 6-pounder shell is, approximately, 
a 3-inch steel plate. 


Detonation and Strength. 

1. Must be uniformly and completely detonated with the 
service-detonating fuse. 

2. Should possess the greatest strength compatible with 

other necessary requirements. 



1. Must not decompose when a dry or wet sample is her- 
metically sealed and subjected to a temperature of 65.5 C. 
for one week. 

2. Should be preferably non-hygroscopic, and must not 
have its facility for detonation affected by moisture that can 
be absorbed under ordinary atmospheric conditions of storage 
and handling. 

3. Must not attack ordinary metals used in projectiles and 
fuses, especially iron, to an extent that cannot be prevented 
by simple means, or, if the explosive forms iron salts, they should 
be relatively insensitive. 

4. Must not deteriorate or undergo chemical change in storage. 

Charging Shell. 

1. Safety. Charging must not be attended with unusual dan- 
ger, and should not require exceptional skill or tedious methods. 

2. Efficiency. It is very desirable that shell may be charged 
by pouring in the explosive in fused state, or by inserting the 
charge in the form of densely compressed blocks. 


It should be possible to obtain large quantities of it quickly 
and at reasonable cost. 

The following table gives ^the data of tests made with the 
explosives that were favorably considered by the Army Ordnance 



Nature of Property. 

No. 400 


2J per 



Relative force for actual dens- 
ity of loading in shell re- 
ferred to guncotton as 

2 12 

2 87 

1 91 

1 81 

1 00 

SpecjJ&c gravity 

3 62 

1 70 

1 55 

1 64 

1 40 

Density of loading in shell . . . 
Charge in pounds contained in 
100 cubic inches 
Cost of same charge (esti- 


$3 60 




$2 83 


$1 80 


$1 69 

Method of charging 




Bulk com- 


1. Safety in manufacture. . . . 
2 Impact test 










3. Shock of discharge in gun 
4. Shock of impact (a), (6), 
(c) l . . 

(a) " 

(a) " 

(6) " 

(b) " 

(b) " 

5. Facility of detonation. . . . 
6. Relative strength in shell. 

7 Stability (heat) test 



(6) " 

(C) V " 


(c) " 


(c) " 

(c) " 

8 Non-hygroscopic 






9. Non-action on metals. .. . . 
10 Storage stability 


must be 


must be 



H 2 




See page 164, Safety and Insensitiveness. 



As a rule the active ingredients of all exploders is fulminate 
of mercury. 1 The explosive used may require some adjustment 
of the quantity of fulminate in order to obtain an explosion of 
the proper order, or it may require some other ingredient to be 
nrxed with the fulminate of mercury, such as chlorate or nitrate 
of potassium, sulphide of antimony, etc., but, as a rule, fulmi- 
nate of mercury is present. 

The ingredients of cap and primer composition vary with 
the kind of explosive that is to be exploded. Dynamite, gun- 
cotton, picric acid, and progressive explosives each require a 
different cap or primer composition. Especially is the nature 
of the initial blow important in progressive explosives. If the 
primer's flame be lacking in kind or amount some of the powder 
may not be burned in the gun; if it be excessive, it will be 
burned too soon and give too great pressures. Much attention 
has been given to this question. Experiments have been con- 
ducted to determine the primers best adapted to different 
explosives to ascertain for each explosive the proper energy, 
heating effect, shape, size, and duration of the flame of the cap 
composition. Photography has been introduced, and it has 
been found that the photographs of cap and primer flames are 
characteristic in each case. 

1 Fulminate of mercury was discarded in 1899 from small-arm percussion 
composition in the United States Army service, owing to the danger of 
handling nnd to the fact that the vapor of mercury liberated when the ful- 
minate primer is exploded attacks, the metal of the cartridge case, rendering 
it brittle, and thus making it impracticable to use the case in reloading. 
A chlorate mixture has been substituted therefor, having the following com- 
position : 

Chlorate of potassium 47 . 2 

Sulphide of antimony 30 . 8 

Sulphur 22. Q 




There are fulminates of silver and gold, but they are too sen- 
sitive to have any uses in military explosives. 

Mercury fulminate is formed by treating metallic mercury 
with nitric acid and alcohol. 

The chemical reactions which take place are not fully agreed 
on among chemists. Bloxam gives the following explanation: 

When nitric acid acts on alcohol several products are 
obtained, among which are nitrous acid and some hydro- 
cyanic acid (HCN). The formation of the CN group in 
this reaction may be explained by the tendency of nit- 
rous acid to substitute N for H 3 in organic compounds, 
and it might be expected that the action of nitrous acid 
on alcohol would be 

CH 3 .CH 2 .HO +2HN0 2 = CN.CN.(HO) 2 -f 3H 2 0. 

The group CN.CN.(HO) 2 is too unstable to exist separately. 
This is the hypothetical fulminic acid. If it be assumed to 
exist in the course of the reaction, its production in the presence 
of mercury would, under the usual laws governing chemical 
changes, exchange its hydrogen for mercury, in accordance 
with the following reaction : 

CN.CN.HO.HO +Hg =CN.CN.O.HgO +H 2 . 

The structural formula (following Bloxam) may be repre- 
sented as follows: 

H C=N 

I I 
H C=N 

According to Guttmann, Kekule demonstrated, with a fair 
amount of accuracy, that fulminate of mercury should have the 
following rational formula: C(N0 2 )(CN)Hg. He bases his con- 
clusions on the reactions of fulminate of mercury with chlorine, 
bromine, and hydrogen sulphide. This would suggest the 


following structural formulas for fulminic acid and mercury 
fulminate : 


I /O 

Fulminic acid: N C^C N< | (for N'") 
I X 


Mercury fulminate : Hg = N C = C N<( 


The assumption of a fulminic acid is supported by the actual 
existence of a mono- and tri-hydroxide of CN. The mono, 
CNHO, cyanic acid, a colorless liquid, specific gravity 1.4, and 
(CN) 3 (HO) 3 , cyanuric acid, a crystalline solid, a tribasic acid, 
forming salts with metals, corresponding respectively to the 
structural formulas 

H C^N 

It is reasonable to assume that an intermediate hydroxide 
exists having two HO groups. Moreover, while the acid has not 
been separately produced salts, double, acid, and normal, 
corresponding to a bibasic acid have been produced, some of 
which are the following : 

Mercury f ulnu'nate : Hg<^ 

X) C= 

Silver fulminate : 

: C=N 

Ag O C=N 


Silver-ammonium fulminate : NKi C = N 

Ag-0 C=N 

Silver-potassium fulminate : K C = N 

Ag C=N 

The manufacture of fulminate of mercury is conducted as 
follows : 

Mercury and nitric acid (specific gravity 1.38) are mixed 
in a glass carboy in equal parts by weight. The mercury dis- 
solves in the nitric acid and, when completely dissolved, the 
contents are allowed to cool; it is well shaken to secure 
uniformity of product, and then this solution is emptied into a 
second carboy which contains 10 parts of ethyl alcohol. 

The second carboy is kept at a temperature above 60 F., 
and is connected with a series of receivers which stand in a 
trough through which water circulates. The pipe from the last 
receiver leads into a condensing chimney or tower. 

After a few minutes the reaction begins in the second carboy, 
the liquid boils, and white vapors of nitric and acetic ether, 
aldehyde, carbonic acid, hydrocyanic acid, and some volatile 
compounds of mercury rise and pass off through the series of 
conducting pipes and receivers to the condensing tower. As 
the action proceeds the color of the vapors change from white 
to the red fumes of nitric peroxide. 

In about fifteen minutes the crystals of fulminate of mer- 
cury separate from the solution in the second carboy in the 
form of small gray-colored needles. As soon as the reaction is 
completed the contents are allowed to cool, and are then 
poured out on a cloth filter stretched on a wooden form. These 
contents are then washed with pure water, until the washings 
show no trace of acid when tested with blue litmus. The filter 
is then placed in a drying atmosphere, out of the direct rays of 
the sun, and allowed to dry until the mass of fulminate 
contains only 10 to 15 per cent of water. The yield is 


about 125 parts of fulminate of mercury to 100 parts of mer- 
cury. Theoretically there should be a yield of 142 parts per 
100 parts of mercury. Great care must be exercised that no 
particles of fulminate are scattered about; any suspicious par- 
ticles should be treated with sodium-sulphide solution. 

The principal product is usually made up in packages 
containing 120 grains. It is put up with about 15 per cent 
of water and hermetically sealed, to prevent evaporation, as 
it is much more sensitive to shock and friction in the dry 

When it is necessary to dry it for use in caps and detonators 
great care must be exercised. The temperature must be kept 
below 104 F., and the dry fulminate handled with the greatest 

Pure crystals of fulminate of mercury have a yellowish- 
white shade. The gray color of the commercial fulminate is 
due to small particles of unconverted mercury. The pure ful- 
minate is obtained by boiling in a large volume of distilled 
water, drawing off the hot liquid from which the pure fulminate 
crystallizes on cooling in the form of a yellowish-white, silky 
mass. This, examined under the microscope, appears as groups 
of crystals. The fine crystals are more desirable for use in 
detonators than the coarser ones. Mercury fulminate should 
not be kept in a stoppered bottle, especially not one having a 
glass stopper, as the friction of removing and inserting the 
stopper might detonate a particle of fulminate caught in the 
neck of the bottle and transmit the explosion to the whole mass. 
A moderate blow of a hammer causes it to explode with a bright 
flash and gray fumes of mercury. It is detonated if touched 
with a wire heated to 195 C. or by an electric spark, by con- 
tact with strong sulphuric or nitric acid, or sparks from metals 
or flint. Its specific gravity is 4.42. The volume of the gases 
evolved is 1340 times the volume of the solid fulminate at 
ordinary temperatures and pressures; this would be greatly 
increased by the temperature of the explosion. The explosive 
nature of the fulminate is due to the fact that the molecule 



Contains an oxidizing group (Hg0 2 ) and a cyanogen (com- 
bustible) group (CN) 2 . 

Heated slowly it explodes at 305 F. (152 C.); heated 
rapidly it explodes at 368 F. (187 C.). 

The nature of the surfaces between which -the f ulmi nate is 
confined when struck has an effect on its explosion; between 
hard rigid surfaces, like iron or steel, the explosion is certain; 
between soft metal surfaces, like lead, not so certain; between 
wooden surfaces, doubtful. 

The slower the crystallization the larger the crystals, and 
the larger the crystals the more sensitive is the product. 

When moistened with 5 to 30 per cent of water the sensi- 
tiveness is greatly reduced; if struck in this state by a hammer 
on iron, only that portion directly between the surfaces will 
explode. The explosion of a quantity of dry fulminate in 
contact with wet fulminate will explode the latter, even if 
immersed in water. 

Fulminate may be subjected to high pressure without explo- 
sion, if pure; if sand or grit be present, the slightest pressure 
may explode it. 

Fulminate of mercury is used very little, except in caps 
and primers. It often has mixed with it other substances, such 
as potassium chlorate, sulphide of antimony, powdered glass, 
etc., to modify the nature of the explosive blow, producing a 
prolonged action and a penetrating heat which enters deep into 
the mass of the explosive. The addition of oxidizing substances, 
like potassium chlorate, serves to increase the heat, both because 
the latter is an endothermic substance and because the oxygen 
it supplies serves to burn the CO of the products of combustion 
of mercury fulminate to C02, and thus still further increases the 
heat. Powdered glass is often added to increase the sensitive- 
ness to percussion. Sulphide of antimony also increases sensi- 
tiveness, and it combines with potassium chlorate, producing 
heat and prolonging the action of the fulminating mixture. 

The heat of formation for one equivalent, that is, a weight 
proportional to the weight of a molecule of mercury fulminate, 


(284 grams, the molugram) is -62,900 cals. Its heat of com- 
bustion in an inert atmosphere is +116,000 cals. for constant 
volume and 114,500 cals. for constant pressure. This would 
raise the products of explosion to 4200 C. 
The explosive reaction is 

Hg0 2 (CN) 2 (exploded) = Hg+2CO+N 2 . 

One gram of it should yield 235.8 cubic centimetres of gas 
at C. and barometer of 76 centimetres. One molugram (284 
grams) should yield 66.7 litres of gas. 

It is to be noted, particularly, that the products of explo- 
sion are simple gases, except CO, and therefore dissociation 
does not take place in a marked degree. 

The effect of mixing mercury fulminate with an oxidizer, 
as is done in some cap compositions, is noted in the following 
reaction : 

3Hg0 2 (CN) 2 +2KC10 3 (exploded) = 3Hg +6C0 2 +2KC1 +3N 2 . 

The heat evolved is +258,000 cals. for one molugram, almost 
twice that for pure fulminate, but the initial blow is greatly 
prolonged, due to dissociation and recombination of C0 2 and 

With nitre the explosive reaction is as follows : 

5Hg0 2 (CN) 2 +4KN0 3 = 5Hg +8C0 2 +7N 2 +2K 2 C0 3 , 

corresponding to +227,400 cals. 

Exploding in its own volume mercury fulminate gives a 
pressure of 28,750 kgm., as compared with 12,376 kgm. for 
nitroglycerine and 9825 kgm. for guncotton. 

The great value of mercury fulminate as an exploder is due 
to this enormous pressure, and to the fact of its suddenness, 
owing to the absence of dissociation; the pressure is, therefore, 
nearly that due to explosion in the volume of the original solid, 
which, relatively, is very small on account of the high specific 
gravity of mercury fulminate (4.42). The crushing effect on 


the molecules of an explosive in contact with mercury fulminate 
is overpowering, and accomplishes the disruption of the bonds 
holding the atoms in the molecules; the atoms, once thus 
released, enter into new combinations, according to their 
affinities under the new conditions. 

Caps and primers for progressive explosives require a more 
prolonged blow than that given by pure fulminate. It is, there- 
fore, the usual practice to mix nitre or potassium chlorate for 
this purpose. Munroe gives the following directions for making 
composition for percussion caps : 

100 parts of dry fulminate are rubbed to a powder with 
30 parts of distilled water, 50 to 60 parts of potassium nitrate, 
and 29 parts of sulphur. 

The rubbing is done on a marble slab, using a wooden 

This mixture is dried sufficiently to admit its granulation. 

It is then forced by pressure into copper caps and covered 
with a layer of varnish or of tinfoil, to protect it from damp- 
ness. The varnish used may be a solution of gum mastic in 

The caps are finally dried by a gentle heat and packed in 

Primers for detonating explosives, for purposes of demoli- 
tion or destruction, are made of pure fulminate of mercury. 
Such primers, as a rule, are electric, although there is one type 
made for use with time-fuses. 

The United States Navy electric primer, according to 
Munroe, consists of a copper case made in two parts. The 
lower part is a No. 36 metallic cartridge-case. The upper part 
is a copper tube, open at both ends, which has been cut from 
a No. 38 metallic cartridge-case. A thread is pressed on each of 
these parts, so that the upper part or cap screws nicely on the 
lower part. The lower part is rilled with fulminate of mercury 
up to the lowest thread of the screw. The top part is filled 
with a cement plug made of sulphur and glass, through which 
the lead-wires or primer legs pass to connect the bridge with 


the wires leading to the battery. When the fulminate is dry 
the spaces in the lower case and the cap are filled with pul- 
verulent dry guncotton, and then the parts are screwed together. 
The lead-wires should be long enough to protect the ends of the 
main conductor wires from destruction by the explosion, say 6 
to 10 feet in length. 

The bridge is practically the same for all primers. It consists 
of a piece of platinum-iridium alloy, about one-quarter inch 
long and .001 to .003 inch in diameter. Its resistance should 
be (bridge and short leads), cold, 0.3 to 1 ohm; hot, 0.45 to 
2 ohms; insulation resistance between conductor and case, 1 
megohm; strength of current to fire, 0.3 to 0.8 ampere. Usu- 
ally a small wisp of dry guncotton is placed about the bridge; 
next to this is placed fine gunpowder for firing progressive 
powder-charges, or mercury fulminate for high explosive 
charges. The bridge is soldered to the bared ends of the lead- 

Commercial detonating-primers arc made on the same gen- 
eral principle. A drawn copper tube, closed at one ei^d, is used 
for the lower part of the primer. The upper tube contains a 
wooden plug sealed with sulphur, which carries the legs con- 
necting the bridge with the leading wires. 

A modification of these electric primers is made in which 
the wooden plug is omitted, leaving the mouth open for insert- 
ing a time-fuse train. In using a time-fuse insert the end so 
as to touch the fulminate in the lower tube, then crimp upper 
tube tightly down on time-fuse with pincers or crimpers. 

The electric primer is the safest, simplest, cheapest, and 
most effective means of firing charges of high explosives; it is 
the only means used of firing separate charges simultaneously, 
or a single charge at a distant point, or at a required moment, 
or under water. 

Different grades of commercial primers or blasting-caps are 
known to the trade. They are specified as single, double, triple, 
quadruple strength caps. These are charged with detonating 
composition as follows: 


Single strength 0.80 grams (12.3 grains) 

Double strength 1.00 grams (15.4 grains) 

Triple strength 1.50 grams (23.1 grains) 

Quadruple strength. . . . 2.00 grams (30.9 grains) 

The detonating composition varies according to the character 
of the work to be done, but as a rule consists of 75 parts of 
fulminate of mercury and 25 parts of potassium chlorate pressed 
tightly into the lower tule ; sometimes a little gum dissolved in 
alcohol is added to make the mass more coherent. The func- 
tion of potassium chlorate, sulphur, nitrates, etc., in exploders 
has already been explained. 

Blasting-caps are tested by inserting the cap in a cork 
with the base of the cap flush with the end of the cork, placing 
the cap with base resting on a piece of wrought iron, No. 14 
A. W. G., supported on block under its four corners. An 
efficient cap should blow a clean hole through the iron. 1 

The standard army electrical primer for high explosives 
consists of the following details : 

1. A wooden plug grooved longitudinally on opposite sides 
to receive the lead- wires, and cannelured around the middle. 

1 A recent and improved " sand test " method of testing blasting powder 
is that which has been developed by Messrs. C. G. Storm and W. C. Cope. 
In this test the detonator is buried in the center of 100 grams of " Ottawa 
standard sand " contained in a cylindrical chamber, approximately 15 cm. 
deep and 3.1 cm. in diameter, bored out of a steel block. The sand is prac- 
tically pure quartz, passes entirely through a 20-mesh screen, and is held 
on a 30-mesh screen. The grains from different lots are of remarkably uni- 
form size. After the detonator has been fired the sand is screened, and the 
quantity passing through a 30-mesh screen is regarded as a measure of the 
strength of the detonator. In a long series of tests Storm and Cope found 
that the result given by the " sand test " was a definite function of the weight 
of the charge and that the quantities of sand crushed by mercury fulminate 
and its chlorate mixtures was comparable to their relative efficiencies in 
causing complete detonation of nitro substitution compounds. The test is 
an accurate indication of the grade of commercial detonators. Most other 
direct tests, such as the lead-plate test, are not quantitative, or depend upon 
effects not easily or accurately measured. (Technical Paper 125, Department 
of Interior, Bureau of Mines, 1916.) 



2. The lead-wires (of No. 18 A. W. G. copper wire, with 
braided and paraffined cotton insulation) are pressed into the 
grooves, half-way in one groove, then in the circumferential 
cut around half-way to the opposite groove, then longitudinally 
to the end of the plug, each wire leaving the plug in the side 
opposite to that on which it entered. The inside ends of the 
wires are bared, scraped, cut to a length of about 0.1", tinned 
and resined, soldered to the fine wire bridge, and bent slightly 
toward each other. 

3. This plug is covered with a cylindrical cap with a stout 
shoulder at one end and having a small hole for the passage 
of the lead-wires. The cap fits the plug closely. The plug 
smeared with glue is forced into the cap until the end of the 
plug abuts firmly against the shoulder, leaving a chamber 
around the bridge to receive the priming. 

4. The priming-chamber filled with mercury fulminate (4 grs.) 
is closed by a paper disk held in position by a drop of collodion. 

5. The bridge is made of fine platinum wire (.0025" diameter, 
electrical resistance 3 ohms to the inch). This bridge will carry 
0.1 to 0.15 ampere without heating, and this current may be 
used for testing; for firing, a current of about 0.5 ampere should 
be used; the length of the bridge is ^j-inch. 

6. The body of the primer is made of a second copper cylin- 
der closed at one end. It contains 20 grs. of fulminate of 
marcury, held in place by a paper disk secured by a drop of 
collodion. The body fits over the cap and is pushed up over 
it and crimped into the wood near the top. 

The completed primer is 1.4-inch long. As soon as finished 
it is dipped into melted Japan wax, which gives an even water- 
proof coating. 

The electrical resistance of the completed primer is between 
0.7 and 0.8 ohm. 

On account of the high cost of fulminate of mercury, experi- 
ments have been recently conducted by the Bureau of Mines 
looking to the replacement of a portion of the fulminate of 
mercury in primers by other explosives. A compound primer 


has given satisfactory results made up of a mixture of a base 
charge of 0.40 gramT.N.T. and tetryl 1 in the proportions of 80 
per cent of the former to 20 per cent of the latter, combined with 
0.32 gram of a mixture of fulminate of mercury and chlorate 
of potassium in the proportion of 90 to 10. This combination 
corresponds to a No. 6 primer in the series experimented with 
by Storm, a full description of which will be found in Technical 
Paper 145, Department of Interior, Bureau of Mines. 

1 Trinitromethylnitramine, which has the structural formula: 

/CH 3 

N \ 
X N0 2 

NO /^j N0 2 

N0 2 

and is generally known as tetranitromethylanilin. 


General Remarks on Tests. 

FROM what has gone before it will be understood that it is 
of great importance that all explosives made by the action of 
nitric acid should be free of all impurities, especially of free 
acids used in their manufacture and of by-nitro-substances re- 
sulting from the action of nitric acid on the raw material which 
may not itself have been absolutely pure. If any of these 
remain in a nitro-explosive it is liable to decompose in course 
of time, especially if it be exposed to temperatures above 90 F. 

All high explosives are, therefore, subjected to certain stan- 
dard tests with a view to determine their stability, and especially 
the probability that they will not decompose in storage. 

Heat of sufficient degree will decompose all nitro-compounds, 
and even when the heat is comparatively low it will decompose 
nitro-explosives if they be subjected to it for a long enough 
time, the time required to initiate decomposition being shorter 
as the temperature is higher. 

It is assumed that the time required to cause incipient 
decomposition of a nitro-explosive is a measure of its stability 
in storage. Experience has shown that if a nitro-explosive 
will withstand the action of a certain temperature for a certain 
time its stability in storage may be assumed. These tem- 
peratures and times have come to be accepted as standard tests. 

There are many different stability heat- tests which have 
been suggested by different experimenters (see Journal Ameri- 
can Chemical Society, March and June, 1903; and Journal 
U.S. Artillery, September-October, 1903), but only three will 



be described. One known as the potassium-iodide-starch test, 
another as the litmus test, or 135 C. test, or German test; and 
the third as the U. S. Ordnance 115 C. powder-test. The first 
is used with all nitro-explosives, the 135 C. German test is 
used with nitrocellulose explosives, the 115 C. U. S. Ordnance 
test is at present used only with nitrocellulose powders. 

In the potassium-iodide test the length of time is noted 
that is required to discolor a small test starch-paper saturated 
with potassium iodide by the nitric oxide liberated from the 
explosive by heat. In the litmus test the time is noted that 
is required to redden a litmus- test paper by fumes of N0 2 . 
In the Army 115 C. test the rate of loss of weight of the sample 
is noted. 

Before the heat-test is begun, preliminary tests for free 
acids should be made with blue litmus paper. The explosive 
in pulverulent state is placed in a test-tube (about 25 c.c.), 
the tube is then half filled with distilled water, closed with cork 
and shaken well; the liquid is allowed to settle; the super- 
natant liquid is decanted and tested with blue litmus or methyl- 

Nitrocellulose manufactured for use in making smokeless 
powder must also be examined for the presence of free alkali 
in the same way, using phenol phthalein as the indicator, 
and all nitrocelluloses are tested for the presence of mercury 
chloride in small quantity. 

Apparatus Required for the Potassium-iodide-starch Test. 

The apparatus required for making the potassium-iodide- 
starch test consists of a glass or copper globe or cylinder water- 
bath about 8 inches in diameter, with an aperture of about 
5 inches; the bath is filled with water to within a quarter of 
an inch of the top edge. The aperture is closed by a loose 
cover of sheet copper about 6 inches in diameter. The globe 
rests on an ordinary iron tripod, so that the bottom of the globe 
is about 10 inches above the plane of the feet of the tripod. 


A Berzelius alcohol -lamp 1 is placed under the globe. The cover 
has four to eleven holes : one in the center for a thermometer 
fitted into a rubber stopper; five to ten at equal distances 
around the circumference to receive test-tubes, each containing a 
sample of the explosive to be tested. The test-tubes after being 
carefully cleaned and dried are closed by clean corks, each carry- 
ing, through a hole bored in, it a glass rod with platinum-wire 
hook on the lower end; this hook during the test supports the 
potassium-iodide-starch test-paper. The test-tube corks are 
discarded after one test. The test-papers should be obtained 
from a standard source, as the value of the test depends chiefly 
on the uniformity and proper degree of sensitiveness of the test- 
papers. In case of emergency the potassium-iodide-starch test- 
paper may be made as follows : 

Forty-five grains of white maize starch (corn flour), 
previously washed with cold water, are added to 8J 
ounces of distilled water, the mixture is stirred, and 
boiled for 10 minutes. 

Fifteen grains of pure potassium iodide (crystallized 
from alcohol) are dissolved in 8J ounces of distilled 

The two solutions are thoroughly mixed and allowed 
to cool. 

Strips or sheets of white filter-paper, previously 
washed with water and redried, are dipped into the solu- 
tion and allowed to remain in it for at least 10 seconds; 
they are then allowed to drain and dry in a place free 
from laboratory fumes and dust. 

The upper and lower margins of the strips are cut off. 

The paper is preserved in well-stoppered bottles and 
in the dark. 

Freshly made and suitable paper should give no discolora- 
tion if touched with a glass rod holding a drop of acetic acid. 
When a brownish or bluish spot appears from acetic acid so 
applied the paper should be rejected. Often an exposure of 

1 Any convenient source of heat may be used. 


one hour to bright light will destroy a set of test-papers. Papers 
over a month old are apt to be untrustworthy. 

Owing to the differences obtained by different operators in 
making the Kl-starch stability test, the joint Army and Navy 
Board on Smokeless Powder has recommended that a color 
scale of tiles, having standard tints, be used by operators, in 
all cases, to determine when the red line of proper tint appears 
on the Kl-starch paper marking the completion of the test. 

(a) Dynamite, Nitroglycerine, and Explosive Gelatin. 

Dynamite. If dynamite is to be tested the nitroglycerine 
must be extracted from the base. To accomplish this, advantage 
is taken of the fact that water will displace nitroglycerine from 
such mechanical mixtures as kieselguhr dynamite. The further 
test then becomes one simply of the nitroglycerine. 

To Extract Nitroglycerine from Kieselguhr Dynamite. 

A funnel, about 2 inches across, is arranged so as to filter 
into a small beaker. About 300 to 600 grains of dynamite 
finely divided are placed in the funnel, which has previously 
been loosely plugged by some asbestos wool. The latter should 
have been recently heated to white heat and allowed to cool. 

The surface of the dynanu'te is smoothed off carefully by 
means of a flat-headed glass rod or stopper #nd some clean, 
washed and dried kieselguhr is spread over it to the depth of 
about one-eighth of an inch. This top layer of kieselguhr 
is then carefully and evenly saturated with distilled water by 
a fine jet from a water bottle. As soon as the first water has 
been absorbed into the mass of dynamite more is added. This 
is continued. The displaced nitroglycerine will, after some time, 
begin to drop into the measure below the funnel. The opera- 
tion is discontinued when enough nitroglycerine has been 
collected to allow 50 grains for each test tube. 

The Potassium-iodide-starch Heat-test. 

Nitroglycerine. The water-bath of the potassium-iodide- 
starch testing-apparatus is brought to 160 F. (71 C.) and 
maintained at that temperature, being regulated by the ther- 


mometer which should be immersed about 2f inches in the 
water. The source of heat should be carefully watched, and at 
no time should the temperature of the bath rise or fall more than 
1 F. from 160 F. Fifty grains of nitroglycerine are placed in 
each test-tube and carefully weighed, being careful not to get 
any on the sides of the test-tube; this may be done by using 
a suitable dropper or glass tube. 

A piece of test-paper is taken with the pincers and laid 
down on a piece of clean filter-paper. The test-paper is held 
in place by the end of a glass rod which has been thoroughly 
cleaned, heated, and cooled. A small hole is made in the test- 
paper with the point of the pincers opposite the middle of one 
end of the paper and about 0.2 inch from the edge. The test- 
paper is taken up with the pincers, the platinum hook inserted 
through the hole just made, the hook bent with the pincers 
until the throat of the hook is closed tightly on the paper, so 
that it will stand stiffly up when the paper is held vertically 
above the glass rod. The glass rod with test-paper is placed 
carefully aside under a bell glass or other protecting cover, 
where it will be protected from fumes and dust. In the same 
way the other test-papers are prepared. 

A solution of pure glycerine and distilled water, in the pro- 
portion of 1 to 1, is prepared. 

One of the test-papers is taken, held with the paper up, and 
a drop of the glycerine solution is placed on each of the lower 
corners of the test-paper, as held; the paper should absorb this 
evenly about half-way to the opposite upper edge, as held, 
leaving a distinct line about midway between the moistened 
and the unmoistened parts. One of the test tubes is placed 
in the bath through one of the apertures in the cover and is 
immersed until the sample is below the surface of the water. 
The test-paper moistened with glycerine is placed in the test- 
tube, and the glass rod is moved through the cork until the 
line between the moistened and unmoistened parts of the 
test-paper is about five-eighths of an inch above the upper 
surface of the cover. This time is recorded. The same is 
done with each of the other two test-papers. The line between 


the moistened and unmoistened parts of each test-paper is 
watched carefully, and the exact instant that a faint brown 
color 1 appears on this line of demarkation on each test-paper 
is recorded. This completes the test. 

The nitroglycerine under examination will not be considered 
"thoroughly purified" unless the time elapsed between the 
insertion of the test-paper and the appearance of the brown 
color is at least fifteen minutes. The average of the records of all 
the tubes will be taken. 

Explosive Gelatin. If explosive gelatin is under examination 
a sample of 50 grains is intimately incorporated with 100 grains 
of French chalk, using a wooden pestle in a wooden mortar. 
The French chalk should be of good commercial quality; it 
should be thoroughly washed with distilled water, dried in a 
water-oven, and then exposed to moist air under a bell jar until 
it has taken up about 0.5 per cent of moisture. It should then 
be placed in a glass-stoppered jar for use. 

Each test-tube is rilled with this mixture to a depth of 1} 
inches, the tube being gently tapped on a table to insure a 
proper degree of settling. 

The heat-test is then conducted as explained for nitroglycer- 
ine. Explosive gelatin will not be considered as serviceable 
unless the average time of the test is at least ten minutes. 

Explosive gelatin is subjected also to a liquefaction and 
exudation test as follows : 

Liquefaction Test of Explosive Gelatin. 

A cylinder is cut from the cartridge having its height equal 
to its diameter, care being taken to have the ends cut flat and 

This cylinder is placed on a piece of filter-paper on a smooth, 
clean board, and secured to the board by an ordinary pin forced 
through it along its axis into the board. 

1 In order to detect this color promptly, the water-bath should be so 
placed that a bright reflected light shall fall on the papers. 


It is exposed in this condition for 144 consecutive hours to 
a temperature ranging from 85 to 90 F. 

The original height of the cylinder should not decrease 
more than one-fourth, and the upper cut surface should retain 
its flatness and sharpness of edge. 

Exudation Test of Explosive Gelatin. 

There should be no separation of nitroglycerine in the lique- 
faction test or under any conditions of storage, transport, or 
use, or when the explosive is subjected three times in succession 
to alternate freezing and thawing. 

(b) Guncotton. 

Loose-fiber Guncotton. The material is dried at a tempera- 
ture not greater than 40 C. to constant weight; then exposed 
on trays to the air in a room free from fumes, until from 1 
to 2 per cent of moisture has been absorbed. It is then 
gently rubbed through a ten-mesh sieve to insure uniformity 
of division, being careful that it does not come in contact with 
the hands or any piece of apparatus not perfectly free from 
any trace of acid or alkali. 1.3 grams are weighed out and 
placed in a test-tube 5J to 6 inches long and not less than \ inch 
internal diameter. 

The potassium-iodide-starch test is conducted as explained 
for nitroglycerine, except that the water-bath is heated to 
150 F. (65.5 C.). The test-papers, prepared as already ex- 
plained, are inserted in the test-tubes, 1 and the papers adjusted 
in the tubes so that the line dividing the dry and moist por- 
tions of the test-paper is on a level with the lower edge of the film 
of moisture which is deposited on the side of the tube soon after 
inserting it in the bath. 

1 The standard water- bath for nitrocellulose holds ten tubes; it is long 
and narrow to prevent heating the upper part of the tubes as much as 
possible. Tubes are immersed 2f inches in the bath. 


Nitrocellulose intended for the manufacture of smokeless 
powder for the Army and Navy must not show a brown color 
in less than 35 minutes at 65.5 C. 

Blocks or Disks. Guncotton for demolition purposes is 
issued in the form of compressed pulp, in disks or blocks. This 
form of guncotton is prepared for the heat-test as follows: 

Sufficient material to serve for two or more tests is removed 
from the center of a block or disk by scraping, and reduced 
to a fine powder by rubbing between pieces of clean, dry filter- 
paper. This is spread out in a thin layer upon a paper tray 
about 6 by 4J inches, which is then placed inside a water- 
oven, kept as nearly as possible at 120 F. for 15 minutes, 
the door of the oven being left wide open. The tray is then 
removed and exposed to the air of the room for two hours; 
during this time the material is rubbed on the paper tray with 
a clean glass rod and reduced to a fine and uniform state of 

The temperature of the water-bath is the same as for fiber 
guncotton (150 F.). 

There should be no brown color within 10 minutes. 

Poacher Sample. In case the sample is taken during the 
manufacture of nitrocellulose, it is taken after the poaching and 
after having been thoroughly washed in pure, cold water. The 
sample is pressed dry in a hand-press and rubbed in a clean 
cloth until finely divided, being careful not to let it come in 
contact with the hands. 

(c) Smokeless Powder. 

The sample should be prepared by cutting into slices 0.02 
inch thick. These slices are exposed to the air for at least 
12 hours. 

The test-tube sample consists of 1.3 grams. 

The usual potassium-iodide test is followed, except that 
the temperature is considerably higher for simple nitrocellulose 
powders, being 100 C. (212 F.) instead of 65.5 C. (150 F.). 


Each sample must stand this temperature without showing a 
brown line for 10 minutes. 

Powders containing nitroglycerine should stand the test at 
65.5 C. for 20 minutes. 

The British Government specifications prescribe the follow- 
ing times and temperatures for the potassium-iodide test : 

1. Nitroglycerine 15 minutes at 160 F. (71 C.). 

2. Dynamite 15 " " 160 F. (71 C.). 

3. Explosive gelatin 10 " ' " 160 F. (71 C.). 

4. Smokeless powders with 

nitroglycerine.. . . 15 " " 180 F. (82 C.). 

5. Guncotton 10 " " 170 F. (76.6 C.). 

6. Colloided pyrocellulose. . . 15 " " 180 F. (82 C.). 

The German 135 C. Test. 

Two and five-tenths grams of the sample to be tested are 
dried at the ordinary temperature of the laboratory for 12 hours 
and placed in a strong test-tube. A piece of blue litmus is 
placed in the tube about a half-inch above the sample, the 
paper being folded lightly so as to give the folds sufficient elastic 
power to hold the paper in place by pressure against the sides 
of the tube. The tube is lightly clos'ed by a cork with a hole 
0.15 of an inch in diameter bored through it, and so placed in 
a bath of boiling xylol (the boiling-point of which is 135) 
that only 6 or 7 mm. project above the surface. 

Examination of each tube is made each five minutes after 
twenty minutes have elapsed. In making this examination the 
tube should be withdrawn only half its length and quickly re- 

Two tubes are used in each test, and there must be no failure 
in either tube. 

Three observations are made : (1) Time of complete redden- 
ing of the litmus-paper; (2) time of appearance of brown nitric- 
peroxide fumes; (3) time at which the sample exploded. 


Stable explosives should give the following times: 

Litmus not 
Reddened in 

No Nitric 
Fumes in 

No Explo- 
sion in 

Uncolloided nitrocellulose 
Pure nitrocellulose powder "... 
Nitroglycerine powders 

30 min. 
1 hr. 15 min. 
30 min. 

45 min. 
2 hrs. 
45 min 

5 hrs. 
5 hrs. 
5 hrs 

The substitution of methyl violet paper for litmus paper in 
the 135 German test has been recommended. When this sub- 
stitution is made, the time of the test should be less than that 
with litmus paper by 5 minutes for uncolloided nitrocellulose 
and 15 minutes for finished powder. 

For the results to have value they should be compared with 
that of a known stable explosive of the same kind, under the 
same test by the same operator, using the same test-paper. 

Uncolloided nitrocellulose should be well shaken down in the 
tube by tapping, or lightly pressed down. 

The U. S. Army Ordnance 115 C. Test. 

(For nitrocellulose powders.) 

Whole pieces of powder are carefully weighed on watch- 
glasses and then heated in an air-bath kept at 115 C. + or - J 
for 8 hours. The sample is then removed, allowed to cool in 
a desiccator, and reweighed. This is repeated six times on 
six separate days. The oven is brought to the required tem- 
perature each day before inserting the samples. At the end of 
the 8-hour period the samples are removed and allowed to 
stand over night. At the end of the 6-day period the samples 
are allowed to cool in a desiccator, after which they are again 
weighed. The loss of weight must not exceed the limit shown 
by the test-curve, p. 187. 

The air-bath may be maintained at 115 by filling the walls 
of the oven with a properly proportioned mixture of xylol and 
toluol. A reflux condenser prevents loss of the liquid by 

The temperature, 115 C v is the one that most clearly 
differentiates the decomposition of good powders from bad 


ones in a reasonable time limit. If a lower temperature is 
used, it requires too long a time to establish trustworthy data; 
if a higher temperature is used, the curves plotted to show the 
rate of loss of weight of good powders are not so clearly sepa- 
rated from those plotted to show the same for bad powders. 



100 110 " 120 

Red Fumes in Day^ 

The following advantages are claimed for this test: 

1. The powder is tested in its natural condition; the 
same in which it is stored or used. 

2. It shows all products of decomposition; others 
show only acid or nitrogen losses by decomposition. 

3. It shows the decomposition of other nitro-coin- 
pounds than nitrocellulose which are often present in 


powders, and shows the effect of these on the decom- 
position of the powder. 

4. It shows the effect on the stability of powder of 
added substances, placed there to mask stability tests; 
the effect of volatiles which may set up local decom- 
position; traces of nitric acid; decomposition of the 
nitrocellulose due to saponification by water, alkalies, 
carbonates, etc. 

5. It shows quantitatively the progress of all decom- 

6. It is a simple test, and requires only simple appa- 
ratus to make it. 

The following are the latest specifications (July, 1910) 
prescribed for powders for cannon, and for nitrocellulose for 
powders or other explosives used in the United States service. 

i. Raw Materials. 

(a) Cellulose. The material to be used is bleached cellulose, 
prepared for nitrating, which will be obtained by purifying 
unspun cotton wastes, or suitable short-fibered commercial 
cotton, and thoroughly washing to remove the purifying ma- 
terial or salts; it is to contain not more than 0.4 per cent of 
extractive matter, and not more than 0.8 per cent of ash; it 
is to be of uniform character, clean, and free from such lumps 
as will prevent uniform nitration. It should not contain more 
than ''traces" of lime, chlorides, or sulphates. 

The extractive matter will be determined by extracting 
not less than 1.5 grams of cotton in a Wiley or Soxhlet ex- 
tractor with ethyl ether and weighing the extracted matter, 
after drying at 100 C. ; the percentage is to be calculated on 
dry cotton. Ash will be determined by digesting about 1.5 
grams of cotton with a little pure nitric acid, incinerating at 


ft red heat, and weighing the residue, the percentage to be 
calculated on dry cotton. 

Moisture will be determined by drying not less than 3 grams 
of cotton, at 105 C., to constant weight. 

(6) Acids. A mixture of sulphuric and nitric acids will be 
used, containing no metallic salts other than salts of iron, and 
not more than a trace of chlorine compounds. 

(c) Ether. Ethyl ether will be used, containing no impuri- 
ties other than small quantities of water and ethyl alcohol. 
The ether to be clear and colorless, with characteristic pure 
odor, having less than 0.006 per cent acidity, calculated as 
acetic acid, and less than 0.002 per cent residue after evapora- 
tion and drying at 100C.; and specific gravity, at 20 C., 
to be from 0.717 to 0.723. 

(d) Alcohol. Ethyl alcohol 92.3 per cent absolute (by 
weight) will be used; it is to be of the best quality, clear, and 
colorless, with characteristic pure odor, having less than 0.006 
per cent residue after evaporation and drying at 100 C., and 
acidity less than 0.01 per cent, calculated as acetic acid. It 
shall be subjected to the silver nitrate test, as follows: 

3 grams AgNO 3 , c. p 1 

3 grams NaOH, c. p L Make up to 100 c.c. 

20 grams NH 4 OH, c. p. (sp. gr. 0.90) J 

Ten cubic centimeters of the sample, diluted with 10 cubic 
centimeters of water, to be placed in a tight bottle and 1 cubic 
centimeter of the silver nitrate solution added. Allow to 
stand one hour in the dark and examine for unreduced silver 
salts in clear solution, after filtering; if such are found, the 
alcohol contains less than the allowable amount of aldehyde. 

The strength of alcohol is calculated by the use of the 
alcohol tables published by the United States Bureau of 

(e) Ether and alcohol obtained from any of the manufac- 
turing processes as recovered solvent are, before use for colloid- 
ing, to be put in condition for fulfilling the requirements of (c) 
and (d). 


(f) Graphite.^l.t graphite is used on the surface of powder 
grains, or is incorporated in the powder, it shall be dry, ground 
very fine, and shall contain not more than a trace of silicates 
or compounds of sulphur, and shall be free from sulphur and 

(g) Carbonate of soda. The best quality of refined alkali, 
free from sulphides, containing not less than 96 per cent of 

calculated on dry samples, will be used. 

2. Nitrocellulose Manufacturing Processes. 

(a) Quality. 

(1) The nitrocellulose in finished poacher lots shall have a 
nitration of 12.60 per cent, 0.1 per cent. These lots may be 
made up by blending nitrocellulose which contains from 12.45 
to 12.75 per cent nitrogen and at least 95 per cent solubility. 

(2) It shall have a solubility of at least 95 per cent at 15.5 C. 
in a mixture of two volumes of ether and one volume of alcohol, 
both of the standard quality prescribed by these specifications. 

(3) It shall contain less than 0.4 per cent of material in- 
soluble in acetone. 

(4) It shall leave, after ignition, less than 0.4 per cent 
of ash. 

(5) It shall give a heat test, at 65.5 C., with potassium 
iodide starch paper, of at least thirty-five minutes. 

(6) It shall give a " German " test, at 135 C., with litmus 
paper, of at least thirty minutes. 

(7) It shall contain no alkali, mercuric chloride, or other 
substance which will mask the heat tests in any way. 

(8) It shall be uniformly pulped, free from lumps, strings, 
or material of such consistency as to affect proper colloiding 
in the mixers. 

(6) Nitrating. Cellulose of standard quality shall be thor- 
oughly dried at a temperature not exceeding 110 C. When 
cold, this cellulose shall be nitrated in mixed nitric and sul- 


phuric acids. After nitrating, the nitrocellulose shall be washed 
in water before boiling. 

(c) Preliminary boiling. The nitrocellulose shall next be 
boiled for at least forty hours, with not less than four changes 
of water, in tubs so constructed that the nitrocellulose shall not 
come into direct contact with the heating coils or with the 
steam from the coils. There shall be complete ebullition, or 
boiling, over the entire surface of the tubs. No alkali shall be 
used in the preliminary boiling. 

(d) Pulping. The nitrocellulose shall next be pulped in 
fresh water, to which may be added just enough sodium-car- 
bonate solution to preserve a slight alkaline reaction to phenol- 
phthalein solution, the process to continue until the material 
is thoroughly and evenly pulped to a satisfactory degree of 
fineness, and shows a clean break when a handful is squeezed 
and broken !nto parts. During this process the water shall be 
changed to such an extent as may be necessary to remove im- 

(e) Poaching. After pulping, the nitrocellulose pulp shall 
be run into the poachers, settled, and the water decanted. 
The nitrocellulose shall then be boiled for six hours in fresh 
water, during which time a total of not more than 10 gallons 
of carbonate of soda solution for each 2,000 pounds of dry 
nitrocellulose may be added at intervals; this solution shall 
contain 1 pound of carbonate of soda to the gallon. During 
this and all other boiling in the poachers the pulp shall be 
thoroughly agitated by mechanical stirrers. After boiling, the 
nitrocellulose shall be allowed to settle and the clear water 
decanted as completely as possible. The tub shall then be 
refilled with fresh water, boiled for two hours, settled, decanted, 
and refilled with fresh water. The boiling shall then be con- 
tinued for one hour, and this process repeated three times, 
making a total boiling treatment in the poachers as follows : 

Six hours' boiling, with or without sodium carbonate, settle, change 

Two hours' boiling, no soda, settle, change water. 


One hours' boiling, no soda, settle, change water. 
One hours' boiling, no soda, settle, change water. 
One hours' boiling, no soda, settle, change water. 
One hours' boiling, no soda, settle, change water. 
Total, twelve hours' boiling with five changes of water. 

After boiling, the nitrocellulose shall have ten cold-water 
washings, each washing to consist of agitation, by mechanical 
means, for one-half hour in a sufficient amount of fresh water, 
thorough settling, and decanting the clear water; in decanting, 
at least 40 per cent of the total contents of the poacher shall be 
drawn off. A sample shall then be taken for subjection to the 
various tests prescribed for nitrocellulose. Should the nitro- 
cellulose fail to meet the required heat tests, it must be boiled 
again with two changes of water, the time of actual boiling 
being five hours, without the use of alkali, and must then be 
given the ten cold-water washings in the manner prescribed for 
the regular treatment. 

The utmost cleanliness shall be observed in manufacture. 
All machinery, tools, and appliances shall be kept in the con- 
dition necessary to prevent the incorporation in the nitro- 
cellulose of foreign matter of any kind. At all stages of the 
process the water used shall be clean and free from deleterious 

3. Testing Nitrocellulose. 

(a) Sampling. Each poacher lot or blend will be given a 
designating number. A sample of about 150 grams dry weight 
shall be selected by the inspector from each poacher charge 
after purification is complete, and this shall be properly marked 
and sent for examination. If a lot or blend is made up by 
blending various weights of nitrocellulose of nitration of 12.45 
to 12.75 per cent, each nitrocellulose included therein shall be 
similarly sampled for analysis. 

(6) 65.5 C. heat test, icith potassium iodide starch paper. 
The sample shall be pressed in a clean cloth or wrung in a 
wringer, if it contains a large excess of water. The cake shall 


be rubbed up in a cloth until fine (taking care that it does not 
come in contact with the hands) , spread out on clean paper trays, 
and dried in an air bath at 35 to 43 C. for a sufficient length of 
time to reduce the moisture to the amount required to give a 
minimum heat test; this amount being from 1.5 to 2 per cent. 
If, as sometimes happens in dry weather, the moisture has been 
reduced to less than 1.5 per cent, the sample shall be placed in 
a moist atmosphere for a time not exceeding two hours, until 
the required moisture percentage is obtained. The whole time 
of drying and making the test shall not exceed eight hours. 

The dried sample for the heat test shall be weighed out in 
five test-tubes, 1.3 grams (20 grains) to each tube, so that a 
series is obtained covering the widest variation allowed for 
moisture. These tubes are standard, 5J inches long, one-half 
inch internal diameter, and five-eighths inch external diameter, 
closed by a clean cork stopper, fitting tightly, through which 
passes a tight glass rod with platinum holder for the paper; 
corks are discarded after one test. The nitrocellulose is pressed 
or shaken down in the tube until it occupies a space in the 
tube of If inches. The test papers, about 1 inch in length 
and three-eighths inch wide, are hung on the platinum holders 
and moistened on the upper half with a 50 per cent solution of 
pure glycerin in water. The heating bath, carefully regulated 
at 65.5 C. 1 C., is placed so that a bright, reflected light is 
obtained, and tubes placed in the bath. Time is marked when 
tubes enter bath. As test continues, a slight film of moisture 
condenses on inside of tubes, and the line of demarcation be- 
tween wet and dry test paper is kept abreast the lower edge of 
the moisture film. The first appearance of discoloration of the 
damp portion of the test paper marks the end of the test for 
each separate tube, the minimum test of any one of the five 
tubes being the heat test of the nitrocellulose. The discolora- 
tion is to be greater than that obtained at the same time by a 
blank test. 

Standard test papers will be used and will be furnished by 
the department to manufacturers. The standard water bath 


holds ten tubes and is made long and narrow, to reduce to a 
minimum the heating of the upper portions of the tubes. These 
tubes are immersed in the bath to a standard depth of 2.25 

(c) " German " test at 135 C. A sample of nitrocellulose 
shall be dried at ordinary laboratory temperature over night, 
or, as for the heat test; 2.5 grams of the material are to be 
pressed into the lower 2 inches in each of two tubes, of heavy 
glass about 290 millimeters long, 18 millimeters outside diameter, 
and 15 millimeters inside diameter, closed with a cork stopper 
through which a hole 4 millimeters in diameter has been bored. 
A piece of standard blue litmus paper 70 millimeters long and 
20 millimeters wide is placed in each tube, its lower edge 25 
millimeters above the cotton. When the constant temperature 
bath has been carefully regulated at 134.5 C. 0.5 C., these 
tubes are placed in the bath so that not more than 6 or 7 mil- 
limeters of length projects from bath. Examination of the 
tube is made by withdrawing about one-half its length and 
replacing quickly, each five minutes, after twenty minutes have 

The bath must be placed in a good light and with a suitable 
background. The standard litmus papers will be furnished by 
the department. The test shall be considered completed when 
the litmus paper is completely reddened, and the minimum 
test of either tube shall be taken as the test of the lot. The 
standard red color must not be obtained in less than thirty 

(d) Nitration. The nitration will be determined on a 1-gram 
sample of nitrocellulose after drying for one hour and a half at 
95 to 100 C. or in a vacuum drier after a thorough air drying. 
The nitrocellulose is to be washed into a Du Pont nitrometer by 
20 cubic centimeters of H 2 S0 4 and the per cent of nitrogen 
determined by comparison of the gas given off with a standard 
volume. The acid used shall be chemically pure sulphuric acid 
containing 94 to 96 per cent H 2 S0 4 . 

The nitrometer is standardized by preparation of a calcu- 



lated standard volume of dry air at a temperature of 20 C. and 
760 millimeters pressure at 20 C. in the comparison tube. 
When pure potassium nitrate is tested with the standard sul- 
phuric acid against such comparison tube, the nitrogen figure 
should invariably be 13.85 per cent. 

(e) Ash and organic residue. Ash will be determined by 
decomposing the nitrocellulose with nitric acid, igniting and 
weighing the residue. The per cent of organic residue will be 
obtained by dissolving 1 gram of nitrocellulose in pure acetone, 
filtering by decantation, and, finally, on an asbestos filter, 
drying and then determining the loss by ignition. 

(/) Insoluble nitrocellulose. The amount of insoluble nitro- 
cellulose will be determined by soaking 1 gram of the dry sample 
over night in 95 per cent alcohol. On the following morning 
the mixture will be brought to 15.5 C. and a sufficient amount 
of ethyl ether at the same temperature added to make the 
mixture of ether and alcohol 2 to 1 by volume ; the mixture is to 
be kept at 15.5 C. for one hour. The insoluble nitrocellulose is 
then to be filtered off and weighed, a correction for the ash and 
organic material insoluble in acetone being made. 

When the amounts of insoluble nitrocellulose and organic 
residue are very small, comparative volumetric readings may 
be made in long tubes, allowing the insoluble material to settle 
after regular treatment for solution in the solvents. The lower 
portions of these tubes are constricted to one-half inch in 
diameter, cylindrical shape, and graduated by direct weighing 
of residue. 

(g) Solubility. The amount of soluble nitrocellulose will be 
found by subtracting the sum of the ash, organic residue, and 
insoluble nitrocellulose from 100 per cent. 

(h) Acceptance. Lots of nitrocellulose which, after chemical 
examination, have been found satisfactory shall be provisionally 
accepted, subject to the powder made therefrom successfully 
passing the specified ballistic and chemical tests. 


4. Smokeless Powder Manufacturing Processes. 

(a) Quality. 

(1) Finished smokeless powder shall be a uniform ether- 
alcohol colloid of nitrocellulose of standard quality. No sub- 
stance whatever, except as herein specified, and in the manner 
and at the time specified, shall be incorporated into the 
powder or its component parts during manufacture, storage, 
or use. 

(2) The powder shall be granulated, except when otherwise 
permitted, into cylindrical grains with seven longitudinal per- 
forations one in the center of the grain and six at the vertices 
of a hexagon so placed as to make the outer and inner web 
thicknesses equal, within the limits hereinafter specified. The 
grains shall be carefully cut and thoroughly sorted, so as to 
remove cracked, distorted, or spotted grains, lumps, uncolloided 
material, air cavities, butt ends, and long grains. Any grains 
developing marked discoloration before going to the dry houses 
shall be removed. 

(3) The total percentage of volatiles contained shall not be 
greater than the limits shown by the " Curve of Volatiles/' 
" dry house " and " packed " condition, forming part of the 

(4) The powder shall have physical toughness sufficient to 
pass the prescribed test. 

(5) It shall pass the 65.5 C. " surveillance " test prescribed 
for its particular web thickness. 

(6) It shall give a "German" test at 135 C., with litmus 
paper, of at least one hour -and fifteen minutes and shall not 
explode in less than five hours. 

(7) The loss of weight in the 115 C. Ordnance Department 
test must not exceed the limit shown by the curve forming a 
part of these specifications. 

(8) The powder shall be stable under any or all of the above 
tests. It must not show, by chemical analysis or test, the 


presence of any unauthorized ingredients, or that the nitro- 
cellulose and other material employed in the manufacture did 
not conform to the specifications. 

(9) It shall successfully pass the ballistic requirements 

(b) Dehydrating. Nitrocellulose which has been accepted 
for the manufacture of powder shall be dehydrated with standard 
alcohol to thoroughly remove water, and the excess alcohol 
shall be removed by pressure, leaving no more alcohol than 
that required for mixing. At least 1 pound of alcohol shall 
be used for each pound of dry nitrocellulose in each pressing. 

(c) Mixing. After dehydrating, the blocks of nitrocellulose 
shall be broken up, placed in suitable mechanical mixers, and 
the necessary amount of standard ether added. The amount 
of ether is determined by the climatic conditions, the number 
and character of operations after mixing, and the caliber of the 
powder being made ; it shall not be less than 64 per cent of the 
total amount of solvent used in the mixing. An amount of 
diphenylamine, of approved purity, equal in weight to 0.4 per 
cent of the weight of the dry nitrocellulose in the mixer 
charge, shall be dissolved in the ether and added to the charge 
with it. 

The mixing shall be continued until the solvent is uniformly 
distributed throughout the mass. Clean scrap may be reworked 
in the mixers, but all dirty scrap and foreign material must be 

The manufacturer is enjoined as to the necessity for taking 
measures to insure that the diphenylamine shall be thoroughly 
incorporated in each mixer charge. The following test is sug- 
gested : 

From each mixer charge at the end of the process place a pinch of 
the colloid in a test-tube containing ether-alcohol, shake until dissolved, 
then add an equal quantity of reagent consisting of a water solution of 
5 per cent potassium chromate and 25 per cent strong sulphuric acid. 
Diphenylamine present to the extent of 0.4 per cent by weight of dry 
nitrocellulose will give a deep violet color; 0.04 per cent will give a pale 
green color. 


(d) Pressing. The material coming from the mixers shall 
be strained for the removal of lumps before going through the 
graining press. The colloid shall be pressed through dies with 
such uniformity as will produce the standard grain required. 
The area of the screen holes of the die must be at least one and 
one-quarter times the area of the cross-section of the die. One 
die, or dies of exactly the same dimensions, must be used in 
graining any lot of powder. 

(e) Drying. Smokeless powder shall be dried at tempera- 
tures not exceeding 44 C. until the solvent has been removed 
to within the limits fixed by the curve of volatiles. In all the 
drying operations due care is to be taken to prevent deforming 
the grains. Drying shall be carried out in " solvent recovery " 
or " dry " houses, or in both, which are operated on the " close- 
circuit " or " dead-air " systems, with as little circulation of air 
through or around the powder as is consistent with the 
maintenance of even temperatures throughout the powder; 
in any case, the quantity of new air admitted shall be a 

A recording .thermometer shall be suitably located in each 
dryhouse. At least two maximum and minimum thermometers 
shall be placed in the powder in the hottest parts of each dry 
house and daily temperature records shall be kept. 

(/) Blending. When powder is removed from the dryhouse 
it shall be exposed to atmospheric conditions for from twenty- 
four to sixty hours, in order that the absorbed moisture shall 
be as nearly a fixed quantity as possible. The blending 
shall be uniformly done in lots of such size as may be 

(g) Packing. After blending, powder shall be packed in air- 
tight boxes of standard type, which shall be marked and sten- 
ciled as required. 

Powder, or its standard ingredients, shall at all times be 
protected from the action of direct sunlight and acid fumes* 



5. Tests of Smokeless Powder. 

(a) Sampling. After a lot of powder is blended, packed, 
and submitted for acceptance, a firing sample of the required 
weight and five chemical samples shall be selected by the in- 
spector and shall be shipped to the point designated for chemical 
and ballistic tests. For powders granulated for 5-inch or larger 
guns each chemical sample shall fill a 16-ounce tight glass- 
stoppered bottle; for other powders, each sample shall fill an 
8-ounce bottle. The chemical and ballistic samples selected 
must not be opened until they have arrived at the point or 
points designated for test. 

With every lot of powder submitted for acceptance the con- 
tractor shall furnish, in quadruplicate, on official blanks, a 
descriptive sheet giving a complete history of its manufacture. 

On receipt of the five chemical samples of a lot, a blend is 
made in a tight bottle of equal portions of each sample, which 
blend will be used in making all stability tests other than the 
" German " test. Each of the five portions for the " German " 
test must represent different samples; measurements, physical 
tests, and chemical tests other than stability tests will be made 
from portions taken at random from the various samples. 

(b) Measurements. Thirty grains will be selected at ran- 
dom and measured for length, diameter, perforation, and inner 
and outer wall thicknesses. 

The outside diameter (D) of the grain shall be about ten 
times the diameter (d) of the perforations, and the length (L) 
about 2.25 times the outside diameter. The dimensions (L arid 
D) of at least the 30 grains specified must comply with the 
requirements for uniformity as follows : 


Mean Variation of Individual Dimen- 
sions from Mean Dimensions, 
Expressed in Per cent of Mean 


Desired Less than 





Six measurements of the outside web thickness (Wo) and of 
the inside web thickness (WO will be made from the six outside 
holes, for each of the 30 grains, and the. two sets of 180 measure- 
ments averaged to obtain the mean outside and inside webs. 
The difference between these means shall not exceed 15 per 
cent of the average web thickness. 

(c) Physical test. Ten normal grains will be taken and both 

ends cut off at right angles to the length until 

These pieces will be accurately measured for length, and then 
slowly compressed between parallel surfaces until the first crack 
appears. The pressure is then removed and the grain again 
measured. The decrease in length necessary to crack the grain 
is calculated to per cent of original length. The average com- 
pression must not be below 35 per cent. In case of failure in 
this test 20 more grains are tested, and if the average compres- 
sion of the total 30 grains is below 35 per cent the powder will 
be rejected. Grains accidentally abnormal in shape, or con- 
taining obvious flaws, will not be used for this test. 

(d) Volatiles. Slices will be cut from at least five average 
grains for the samples of large-caliber powders. In small- 
caliber powder, where a large nurnber of grains insure a proper 
average, whole grains may be taken, or slices may be cut from 
a number. The slices, or grains, having been thoroughly mixed, 
a sample of approximately 1 gram is taken and accurately 

The sample is to be dissolved in 150 cubic centimeters of 
ether-alcohol mixture (2 to 1, by volume). When the solution 
is complete, the nitrocellulose is precipitated by the gradual 
addition of a suitable amount of water and the mixture evap- 
orated to dry ness on a steam or water bath. When the evap- 
oration is apparently complete, the precipitate is dried for one 
hour at 95 to 100 C., or in a vacuum drier at 50 C., and weighed. 
Correction for residue in water, or solvent used, having been 
applied, the difference between the weight of the sample and 
that of the nitrocellulose found is the " total volatiles, as packed." 


To obtain the amount of moisture, a sample of at least 5 
whole grains of not less than 20 grams will be dried in a vacuum 
dryer at 50 to 60 C. for two hours, cooled in a desiccator, and 
the resultant loss of weight determined by weighing. This loss 
will be considered as moisture, and the difference between this 
figure and that of the total volatiles by precipitation will be 
considered as the residual solvent; that is, this treatment will 
be considered as that required to convert the powder from 
" packed " to " dry house " condition. 

The " total volatiles " or the " residual solvent " must not 
exceed the limits defined by the curve of volatiles, for " packed " 
and " dry house " conditions, respectively, which form a part 
of these specifications. 

(e) German test at 135 C. This test will be made on five 
samples in exactly the same way as for nitrocellulose, the powder 
being in as nearly whole grains as possible consistent with the 
standard weight of 2.5 grams. No sample shall turn the litmus 
paper completely to standard red in less than one hour and 
forty-five minutes, nor shall any sample explode in less than 
five hours. 

(/) Ordnance Department 115 C. test. Five samples will be 
used, each consisting of not less than 10 grains nor less than 2 
whole grains. Each sample, after weighing, will be placed in 
a watch glass or open dish and exposed to a temperature of 
115 C. 0.5 for eight hours a day for six days. The oven is 
brought to the required temperature each day before inserting 
the samples, and at the end of the eight-hour period the samples 
are removed from the oven and allowed to stand over night. 

At the end of the six-day period the samples are allowed to 
cool in a desiccator, after which they are weighed again. The 
total loss of weight, of the samples must not exceed the limit 
shown by the curve forming part of these specifications. 

(g) " Surveillance " test at 65.5 C. The three samples re- 
quired for test shall each consist of from 15 to 20 grams of 
powder in whole grains, the lesser weights being taken for the 
small-caliber powders, the greater for the large-caliber powders. 


After having been exposed for twenty-four hours at 21 C., each 
sample is to be placed in an 8-ounce salt-mouth glass-stoppered 
bottle, made tight by carefully grinding the stopper. These 
bottles will be placed in a constant-temperature magazine at 
65.5 C. in which the permissible fluctuation of temperature is 
2 C. The end of the test is the first appearance of red fumes 
in the bottle, and no sample shall show these fumes in less time 
than the limit shown by the surveillance curve. 

(h) Organic residue will not be regularly determined, but if 
any doubt exists as to the quality of any of the materials enter- 
ing into the composition of the powder a 1-gram sample will be 
prepared by grinding and sifting, and tested for residue as for 

(i) Ash. A sample of average slices will be tested for ash 
in the manner prescribed for nitrocellulose. 

(j) Solubility. A sample will be prepared by rolling and 
powdering slices from at least 20 powder grains and sifting 
through an 80-mesh sieve. A portion of about 1 gram is weighed 
out and the insoluble material determined, as in the test of 

The sum of the per cents of volatiles, insoluble nitrocellulose, 
ash, and organic residue found present will be subtracted from 
100 and the remainder will be considered the per cent of soluble 
nitrocellulose. (This test will be made without awaiting the 
results of the " surveillance test," provided the lot has passed 
all the other tests prescribed above.) 

(k) Ballistic tests. 

(1) The powder must give the service velocity with a max- 
imum pressure and a weight of charge within the limits given 
in the table forming part of these specifications, pages 205, 

(2) When the measured velocities and pressures for all 
rounds fired are plotted to scale, as a function of the weight 
of charge, the resulting curves must be reasonably smooth. 

(3) For three rounds, fired under standard conditions, with 
the charge required to give the service velocity, the difference 




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between any velocity and the mean velocity for the group must 
not exceed 1 per cent of the mean velocity, and similarly, the 
difference in pressure must not exceed 5 per cent of the mean 
pressure. For calibers less than 3 inches the above-mentioned 
allowed variations will be increased 25 per cent. 

(4) The pressure curve must not show any " critical " point, 
as evidenced by a marked and abrupt change in the law of 
development of pressure as a function of the weight of charge. 

(5) If considered desirable, one or more rounds may be fired 
with weight of charge 5 per cent greater than that required to 
give the service velocity. Under these conditions no dangerous 
pressure must be shown. 

Special Specifications and Tests for Smokeless Powder 
for Small Arms. 


The powder must be uniform in quality, free from dust and 
other foreign substances. 

It must be practically smokeless. The amount of unburned 
powder in firing full charges must not exceed 1.25 per cent. 

It must not unduly corrode or erode the barrel or corrode 
the cartridge case. Under this requirement the erosion of the 
bores of the U. S. magazine rifles, models of 1898 and 1903, 
after firing 5,000 rounds with powder intended for those arms 
must not materially exceed that exhibited by rifle barrels Nos. 
21244 and 175968 of those models, respectively, each of which 
has been fired 5,000 rounds and will be retained at Frankford 
Arsenal as a present standard of reference. 

It must not require an unduly strong primer for ignition. 

It must not leave a hard adherent residue in the bore, es- 
pecially after rapid firing. 

It must not be sensitive to friction or shock. 

It must not be so friable as to endanger breakage of grains 
in transportation incident to service. 

It must not contain ingredients known to be unsuited to 
form a safe and reasonably stable compound. 


It must admit of satisfactory machine loading, with the ma- 
chines in use or that can be readily provided at the Frankford 

It must not show a tendency to agglomeration during 
storage. Powder which may be found defective in this respect, 
and which has not already been used in the manufacture of 
cartridges, will be returned to the contractor at his expense, 
and deliveries of the powder under contract will be suspended. 

Other things being equal, that powder which produces the 
least heating of the barrel will be preferred. 

The powder for ball cartridges shall be subject to proof 
firing in the service arm for which intended, and in the pressure 
gauge for that arm used at the Frankford Arsenal, with the 
service cartridge case and bullet. 

The weight of the powder charge is not prescribed, but will 
be governed by the ballistic requirements. 

It is desirable that the charge shall fill the case to the shoulder. 
When machine loaded it must not fill the case to within 0.4-inch 
from the mouth. 

Other powders must fulfill the general requirements for all 
smokeless powders and be suitable to the arm and for the purpose 
for which they are intended. 

The methods of manufacture and the tests of raw material 
are essentially the same as those for cannon powders. 

Test. To test finished nitroglycerin powders for stability a 
sample of the powder is pulverized and after being passed 
though a 40-mesh sieve is dried for 48 hours at 43 C. 3 C., 
and then placed in a moist atmosphere for several hours or 
until about 1.5 per cent of moisture is absorbed. 

The test is then continued as in the potassium iodide starch 
paper test for nitrocellulose. The powder must give a test of 
not less than 40 minutes. 

Cellulose prepared for nitrating. Bleached cellulose, the ma- 
terial to be used, will be obtained by purifying unspun cotton 
wastes and thoroughly washing to remove purifying materials 
or salts; containing not more than 0.7 per cent extractive 
matter; not more than 1.25 per cent ash; of uniform character, 


clean and free from such lumps as will prevent uniform nitra- 


The finished powder shall be a uniform ether alcohol colloid 
of nitrocellulose of standard quality. 

Granulation. The grain, except when otherwise permitted, 
shall be cylindrical in shape with one axial perforation. 

The length of the dry grain must be about 2.5 times the 
outside diameter. No limits in the variation of web thickness 
are prescribed; the other requirements are expected to ensure 
a sufficient degree of uniformity. 

Volatiles. The powder, in the '' packed " conditions, shall 
contain a total percentage of volatiles to be determined by the 
water precipitation method, not greater than 3.15 per cent, 

Stability. The powder shall be stable under any one, or both 
of the following tests, when conducted in the manner herein 
described, viz.: Potassium iodide starch paper test; German 
135 C. test. 

It must not show by chemical analysis or test the presence of 
any unauthorized ingredients, or that the nitrocellulose and 
other materials employed in the manufacture of the powder 
did not conform to the specifications. 

Sampling. After a lot of powder is blended and packed, a 
ten-pound sample is selected by the inspector, by taking 1 pound 
from each of 10 boxes and sent to Frankford Arsenal for chemical 
and ballistic test. 

Total volatiles. Approximately 1 gram is accurately weighed 
out. This sample is dissolved in 150 c.c. ether-alcohol mixture 
(2 to 1 by volume). When solution is complete, the nitro- 
cellulose is precipitated by the gradual addition of a suitable 
amount of water. The mixture is then evaporated to dryness 
on a steam or water bath. When evaporation is apparently 
complete, the precipitate is dried for one hour at 95 to 100 C., 
or in a vacuum drier at 50 C., and then weighed. Correction 
is made for residue in water, or solvent used. The difference 
between weight taken and nitrocellulose found is total volatiles. 

Heat test Potassium iodide starch-paper test. A sample is 


dried forty-eight hours at 43 C. 3. The powder is then 
allowed to stand over night, or until the proper amount of 
moisture is obtained, and the heat test proceeded with as for 
nitrocellulose, except that no moisture series is taken. Not less 
than ten samples will be used, and each sample shall give not 
less than forty minutes. 

German test at 135 C. This test is made on five samples in 
exactly the same way as for nitrocellulose, the powder being in 
as nearly whole grains as possible, consistent with the standard 
weight of 2.5 grams. No sample shall turn the litmus paper 
completely red to standard in less than one hour and fifteen 
minutes; nor any sample explode in less than five minutes. 

Organic residue. This will not be regularly determined. If 
any doubt of the quality of the ingredients exists the following 
method will be used : A sample of 1 gram is proceeded with as 
in the test of nitrocellulose. 

Insoluble nitrocellulose. A portion of about 1 gram is weighed 
out for treatment as in the determination of insoluble nitro- 
cellulose in nitrocellulose. 

Ash. An average sample is treated in the manner described 
for ash in nitrocellulose. 

Soluble nitrocellulose. The sum of the per cent of volatiles, 
insoluble nitrocellulose, organic residue, and ash subtracted from 
100, gives the per cent of soluble nitrocellulose. 

After graining, the powder is dried at a temperature not 
exceeding 110 F. until the amount of solvent is less than 2.75 
per cent. Temperature records will be kept of the heated air, 
both in contact with powder and before it enters the dry houses, 
the thermometers in powder bins being maximum and minn 
mum style and placed in the hottest part of the house, at least 
two such being used for each house. Each dry house shall be 
provided with a recording thermometer suitably located. 

Blending and packing. The moisture and volatiles of the 
powder will be determined in the dry-house condition and also 
in the packed condition, and the time of exposure to atmos- 
pheric condition, together with the temperature and humidity, 
recorded. The amount of absorbed moisture shall be as nearly 
a fixed quantity as possible. 



The blending shall be uniformly done in lots of such size as 
may be prescribed. 

The powder shall be packed in air-tight boxes of standard 
type and the contents wi h ballistic and other data stenciled 
thereon. Powder, or the standard ingredients of powder, shall 
at all times be protected from the action of direct sunlight and 
acid fumes. 


The powder will be taken as received, and under the ordi- 
nary conditions governing the loading of a service powder will 
be tested, the powder charges being separately weighed and 




Mean velocity must not be less than . 
Mean variation in velocity must not 

Model of 1898. 
1,966 ft. per sec. 

8 feet per sec 

Model of 1906. 
2,640 ft. per sec. 

18 feet per sec. 

775 ft. per sec. 
15 ft. per sec. 

Extreme variation in velocity must 
not exceed 
Maximum pressure must not exceed . . 

30 feet per ace. 
40,000 poun s 

40 feet per sec. 
50,000 pounds 

70 ft. per 'sec. 
15,000 pounds 

Velocities will be measured at 53 feet from the muzzle for 
the model of 1898 .30 caliber cartridges, 78 feet for the model of 
1906 .30 caliber cartridges, and 25 feet for the caliber .38 re- 
volver cartridges. 

The velocity proof of each lot to comprise forty consecutive 

The proof for pressure to comprise ten consecutive rounds 
fired from the pressure barrel. 


Fifty cartridges will be loaded by the machines in use and 
tested, 40 being fired for velocity and 10 for pressures. The 
weights of these charges will be measured before the bullets are 




Mean variation in velocity must not 

Model of 1898. 
10 feet per sec. 

Model of 1906. 
12 feet per sec. 

15 feet per sec. 

Extreme variation in velocity must 

40 feet per sec. 

50 feet per sec. 

70 feet per sec. 

Maximum pressure must not exceed . . 
Variation in weight of charge must 
not exceed 

41,000 pounds 
.9 grain 

50,500 pounds 
.9 grain 

16,000 pounds 
0.25 grain .... 


Magazines. Wide variety of practice exists among the 
different countries in building magazines. In Austria-Hungary 
light wooden structures are provided for explosives, so that the 
debris, in case of explosion, would be projected short distances. 
The English laws in reference to explosives are most elaborate 
and rigid; the details of magazines, the character of explo- 
sives permitted for sale and the conditions of storage and 
transportation are carefully prescribed therein. These stringent 
regulations, taken in connection with those equally stringent in 
reference to the manufacture and tests of all explosives, 
make an accidental explosion of explosives in transit or stor- 
age an exceedingly rare occurrence in England. 

Explosions may result from lightning or from incendiarism; 
to guard against such contingencies the buildings in which 
explosives are stored should be well protected by lightning- 
conductors and be made fire-proof. Some constructions have 
been made in which the roof and sides are of corrugated sheet 
iron; the roof- trusses of iron resting on brick piers; the floor 
of asphalt free of grit. 

All doors should be double with a vestibule between; they 
should be strong, fire-proof, and have strong, treble-bolt locks. 

According to Guttmann, the best method of protecting 
explosives from lightning is to build the magazine entirely of 
metal, extending the sides down to moist soil or connecting 
them well with it in several places. 



A method suggested by Professor Oliver Lodge is considered 
efficient. This consists in covering the building completely 
with strong, durable iron wire netting, or running large size 
iron wires along all ridges and edges, with groups of wires 
radiating from each corner, the whole system being connected 
well with moist earth. 

All storage-magazines should have protecting mounds or 
traverses of earth thrown up around them when located near 
other buildings or property exposed to destruction in case of 
explosion. When this is not possible, near-by buildings may 
be protected by planting thickly a deep row of trees about 
the magazine. As a rule, 200 yards may be regarded as a 
reasonably safe distance from a large storage-magazine. 

Storage-magazines should not be placed within closed works 
if it is possible to avoid doing so. 

Not more than 400 tons of black or brown gunpowder or 
100 tons of nitrocellulose gunpowder should be stored in one 

The English regulations prescribe that magazines for the 
storage of nitro-powders or high explosives shall be made of 
as light a form of construction as possible, compatible with 
sufficient strength for stability, resistance to weather, and 
protection against unlawful entry. The material used must not 
be of an inflammable nature. The temperature of magazines 
should be maintained at about 70 F.; if it is permitted to 
rise above 100 F. for any length of time the composition and 
stability of nitrocellulose powders may be affected; if it rises 
above 122 F. (50 C.), even for a few minutes, explosives stored 
therein should be examined for stability. 

Service-magazines in coast forts are so placed as to be pro- 
tected from projectiles of all kinds. The conditions as to 
temperature and ventilation prescribed for storage-magaziner 
should obtain for service-magazines. 

In so far as possible no iron fixtures, tools, or appliances 
should be used inside of a magazine. 

Magazines may be heated by steam at a pressure not exceed- 


ing 15 Ibs. per square inch, or by hot water; the heating pipes 
may be of iron, but should be placed well above the floor, not 
lower than 6 feet 6 inches. They need not be galvanized nor 
otherwise coated, nor boxed in with wood; but they should 
be detached and not less than 6 inches from any woodwork. 
They should be frequently wiped clean of all dust. 

All doors and windows should be made to open outwards. 
They should be covered with copper sheeting. All fixtures and 
nails should be of copper. 

Following, in a general way, the English regulations, explo- 
sives may be classified, for purposes of storage, into "Groups " 
and "Divisions," as follows: 

Group I. Stored in Magazines. 

Explosives which must be placed in a magazine, each divi- 
sion of the group requiring a separate compartment in which 
"magazine conditions " must be observed, except that divisions 
a and e may be placed in the same compartment, and c, d, and e 
need not be under magazine conditions. 


a. Nitrocellulose gunpowder and black and brown gunpowder, 
in bulk or made up in cartridges for large-caliber guns. 
Quick match. 
6. Dry guncotton. 
Explosive gelatin. 

c. Wet guncotton. 

Picric acid and its service explosive derivatives. 

d. Rapid-fire fixed ammunition for guns of 3-inch caliber and 


e. Rapid-fire ammunition for the guns above 3-inch caliber, 

when the powder is in metallic cases, or in metal-lined 


Group II. 

Explosives which must be stored in a separate chamber of 
a magazine, or in a separate storeroom or building. 


a. Percussion-caps. 

Small-arm ammunition. 

Priming and pyrotechnic composition; any composition in 
bulk containing either mercury fulminate or a chlorate. 

Empty capped metallic cases. 

Fuses (time, percussion, or combination) . 

Slow match. 

Port fires. 


Primers of all kinds (friction, percussion, or electric) . 
6. Mines, loaded. 

c. Shells, filled and fused. 
Shells, filled but not fused. 

d. Detonating-caps. 

All gunpowders, dry guncotton, dynamite, and explosive 
gelatin should always be kept in magazines, and magazine 
conditions strictly enforced. 

Explosives in Group II should not be placed in the body 
of magazines, but in storerooms or chambers apart, and need 
not necessarily be under magazine conditions. 

Divisions c, d, e, Group I, may be stored in magazines or 
as prescribed for Group II, whichever is most convenient. 

No two divisions in either group should be placed in the 
same compartment or pile, except a and e, Group I, may be 
stored in the same magazine, and fuses and primers, Group II, 
may be kept in the shell-room of a service-magazine, but a box 
or cupboard should be provided to contain them only, and 

A magazine or storeroom for explosives may be divided into 
many compartments under the same roof for the different 


divisions of a group, provided they are separated by substan- 
tial brick or other walls, without openings of any kind between 

Explosives of the same division may be stored in the same 
compartment, room, or magazine. 

Nitroglycerine, dynamite, explosive gelatin, and nitrocellu- 
lose may decompose above 122 F. (50 C), and magazines 
containing them should never have a higher temperature. 
Nitro-powders and dry guncotton should not be exposed to a 
higher temperature than 104 F. (40 C) for any length of time, 
or repeatedly for short times. 

All explosives, whether stored in magazines or in store- 
rooms, should be kept under the following conditions : 

Lighting of fires near by should be strictly prohibited. 

No one should be permitted to enter rooms contain- 
ing explosives stored in bulk with matches in the pockets 
or about the person. 

Oiled rags or waste, or any substance liable to spon- 
taneous combustion, should not be kept in or near rooms 
containing explosives. 

Floors and platforms should be kept scrupulously 

Benches, shelves, and all fittings and fixtures inside 
of storerooms or magazines should be kept free of grit 
and dust. 

Magazines containing gunpowder of any kind, in bulk or 
in cartridges for large-caliber guns, nitroglycerine, dynamite, 
explosive gelatin, or dry guncotton should be kept under the 
following conditions, in addition to those which are given above : 

No one should be permitted to pass through the 
outer door of the building except those duly employed 
therein, or except in the presence of the officer or non- 
commissioned officer in whose charge the explosives are 
placed, and the latter should be responsible that all 
regulations for safety are strictly observed. To this end, 


the officer or non-commissioned officer in charge should 
cause all persons to observe the following regulations as 
to clothing: 

The contents of all pockets will be examined at the 
outer door to see that no matches or other easily com- 
bustible substances are taken within. 

As soon as the outer door is entered all coats will 
be removed, and iron or steel articles removed from 
trousers' pockets. The shoes will be carefully wiped on 
a mat placed just inside the outer door, and magazine 
rubber overshoes placed on the feet of each person. 

When powder is to be examined in a magazine, a paulin, 
carefully dusted and shaken, should be spread out on the floor, 
and when the work is completed the paulin should be care- 
fully folded so as to contain within its folds all powder-dust 
that may have been formed; it then should be carried from 
the magazine and the dust shaken into water. 

Door-mats should be shaken outside the outer door after 
each party leaves the magazine. 

Packages containing explosives in Group I should not be 
opened in a magazine or storeroom containing other explosives 
of that group. They may be opened in an anteroom or outside. 

Inventory lists, showing the contents of the magazine or 
storeroom, should be posted and kept entered to date. 

Keys of magazines and storerooms containing explosives 
should be carefully tagged and kept in the personal possession 
of the officer in charge of the explosives. 

When explosives are received the original packages should 
be carefully examined externally, the condition of the package 
noted to see if it has on its surfaces any nails, grit, or other 
objectionable substance, and, if there be any such, it will be 
carefully removed. If the package is broken or defective it will 
be set aside to be opened and have its contents examined. All 
marks on each separate package will be carefully entered in the 
receipt record book. 


Shelves should be arranged in an anteroom to receive 
"sample bottles." On these shelves should be kept a sample 
of each "lot" of mtro-explosives received and hi store in the 
magazine. These bottles should be inspected and the contents 
tested from time to time. 

In stacking original packages they should be so placed as 
to exhibit the markings. 

When original packages have been emptied, the markings 
should be scraped off before they are sent from the magazine 
or storeroom. 

If packages are used for explosives a second time they 
should be carefully examined to see that all former markings 
are obliterated, and that they are strong and free from dust, 
dirt, and foreign substances of all kindsc 

In the magazine and storerooms, packages should be 
stacked in tiers, the same divisions being kept together, and 
in each division each lot separate. A clear, free aisle should 
be left about each lot, and in each tier the bottom layer should 
be separated from the floor by 1-inch battens, and each layer 
from the one below by 1-inch battens. In each layer an inch 
space will be left between adjacent packages. 

Filled cartridges will be stacked separately from powder in 
bulk, the lots being carefully separated and each lot together. 

When rooms or buildings other than magazines are used for 
the storage of explosives they should be thoroughly repaired, 
washed, dried, swept, and cleared of all movable articles before 
the explosives are introduced. 

If there be no anteroom or vestibule in connection with a 
room used for the storage of explosives one should be impro- 
vised. If it is not practicable to observe the strict regulations 
prescribed for permanent magazines, it is possible always to 
require that no matches or other easily combustible substance 
should be taken within the building or room, and that the feet 
should be carefully wiped inside the outer door. 


Ventilation of Magazines. 

It is very important that magazines containing gunpowder 
should be carefully ventilated. If powder be stored in damp 
magazines in cases not hermetically sealed, the powder absorbs 
moisture and its ballistic value is thereby reduced. 

With smokeless powders the temperature of the magazine 
has also a special influence on the muzzle-velocity. It has been 
found by trial that powders tested in summer and used in target- 
practice in winter give velocities lower than the test velocity, 
and those tested in winter and used in summer give higher 
velocities. Corrections allowing for difference of temperature of 
powder in firing have been ascertained and tabulated. 

Powders should be tested ballistically at a standard tem- 
perature, say 70 F., and the temperatures of service-magazines 
should be such as to permit the powder to be delivered to the 
guns at as near this temperature as possible. If this is not 
done a temperature correction must be introduced in applying 
range tables. 

The humidity and temperature of the air in magazines are, 
therefore, a matter that must be carefully watched. 

It is especially important with all nitro-explosives that 
there should be free circulation of air, so that in case any in- 
cipient decomposition should occur, at any spot in any package, 
the fumes would be directly carried off, thereby preventing an 
accumulation of pressure and temperature, and also favoring 
detection of the decomposition by the odor of the escaping gases. 

The air inside of magazines should be kept always above 
its dew-point to avoid condensation. The problem is, there- 
fore, to keep the air circulating and to maintain it at a tem- 
perature above its dew-point. Three methods are practised to 
accomplish this: 

1. The air of magazines may be kept above the dew- 
point "by providing that it pass over heated steam- or 
hot-water pipes, using a fan or natural circulation. 


2. Air-shafts with revolving hoods, like those of ships, 
may be arranged to face the wind and conduct a larga 
volume of air through all rooms and galleries. It is 
found that a shaft about 20 inches in diameter with a 
well-flared hood will work efficiently in wind above 5 
miles per hour. With little wind and on damp days 
the shafts are closed. The principle applied in this type 
is that the volume of air passing through must be suffi- 
cient to give its temperature to the surfaces of the rooms 
and galleries. 

3. Some magazines are not provided with circulating 
air, but the air is renewed as often as possible by opening 
all doors and windows to the outside air whenever the 
conditions of temperature and dew-point are such as to 
make the air let in a drying air. 

That is, it is necessary to establish a proper dew-point 
inside by heat or otherwise, and to cause a constant circulation 
of air by blowers, or to make use intermittingly of the natural 
weather conditions as they may warrant. 

The regulation of the air within a magazine by natural 
ventilation is effected by means of thermometers inside of 
magazines and wet- and dry-bulb hygrometers outside. The 
wet- and dry-bulb hygrometers are permanently placed outside 
the magazine, protected from the direct and reflected rays of 
the sun, and from wind and rain. Magazines should be arranged 
with a window, and the inside thermometers should be placed at 
this window, so that the inside temperature may be read without 
opening the magazine. Before installing the inside thermometer 
and the outside hygrometer, the former and the dry-bulb ther- 
mometer of the latter should be compared as to their readings 
under the same conditions. If a difference of reading is noted, 
this should be entered as a correction on both instruments and 
applied in all computations. 

The scale of the dry-bulb thermometer of the hygrometer 
vvill give the temperature of the outside air; the reading of the 


wet-bulb thermometer will always be below that of the dry 
bulb, and the amount of this difference is the argument with 
which the humidity tables are entered, as explained below. 

In using the wet- and dry-bulb hygrometer care must be 
exercised to have the well of the wet-bulb thermometer always 
supplied with clean, pure water, and to see that the cloth leading 
to the wet bulb is wet before taking any reading. 

Readings should be taken in the morning and in the after- 
noon. These readings and the readings of the inside thermom- 
eters should be entered in a record book. 

The dampness of magazines results from two causes: 

1. The condensation of moisture from the air of the 
magazine on the walls, ceiling, floors, and all surfaces in the 
magazine. Outside air at a given temperature and relative 
humidity admitted to a magazine at a lower temperature 
may, by simply having its temperature lowered, become 
supersaturated and deposit moisture by condensation. 

2. Percolation of water through the ceiling and walls 
often causes dampness. This is sometimes seen in maga- 
zines, especially when Rosendale cement has been used in 
the construction, and when sheet lead or asphaltum has 
not been placed over the ceilings. Such water, running 
into the magazine, collects in small pools and tends to 
keep the air constantly saturated. 

After magazines have been opened the greatest care should 
be exercised to see that they are closed tightly as soon as the 
conditions favorable to opening cease to exist, or before this 
limit is reached. 

Subject to the above conditions, magazines should be 
opened as often and for as long a time as possible, and every 
means used to get a good circulation of air. 

Two tables, A and B, are provided for guidance of the person 
in charge of the magazine. Copies of these tables should be 
attached to boards hung up in each magazine. Table A gives 
the weight of water-vapor per cubic foot of air for each degree 


from 13 to 100 F., when the reading of the wet bulb is from 
to 14 degrees lower than that of the dry bulb. The table is 
not carried below one grain of water-vapor per cubic foot of air, 
as this is a condition seldom met with, and no harm would be 
done in ventilating a magazine at any temperature likely to 
occur with air so dry as this. Table B gives the temperature 
which must be shown by the inside thermometer corresponding 
to the weight of water- vapor per cubic foot, before the magazine 
should be opened for ventilation. The table gives two columns 
of temperature: column I gives the temperature for the maga- 
zine at or above which ventilation would be advantageous, 
namely, that at which the water- vapor that is in the air outside 
would cause a degree of humidity of 70 per cent or less inside; 
column II gives the low limit of temperature for the magazine 
below which it should never be opened for ventilation, as its 
degree of humidity would become 85 per cent or more, and if it 
is necessary to open the doors for any purpose, they should be 
closed again as quickly as possible. 

Method of Reading the Tables. To work these tables the 
readings of the wet- and dry-bulb thermometers are taken, and 
from Table A the weight of water-vapor per cubic foot of air is 
ascertained. The temperature is then taken from Table B, 
which is opposite that weight in the first column. 

Application of Tables. Should the thermometer in the 
magazine read at or above the temperature taken from column 
I, Table B, the magazine may safely and advantageously be 
opened for ventilation. If this condition is not fulfilled for a 
month, the first opportunity should be taken for ventilating 
the magazine when the thermometer in it reads between the 
temperatures taken from columns I and II for the weight of 
water-vapor per cubic foot of air at the time; but the tempera- 
ture taken from column II is the minimum for the thermometer 
in the magazine for any ventilation to be attempted. 

Length of Time to be Opened. It must be borne in mind that 
conditions favorable for ventilation may not last long, especially 
when the temperature inside the magazine is below that outside, 




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Weight of 
in One Cubic 
Foot of Air 
from Table 

Temperature of Magazine 
When It May be Opened. 

Weight of 
in One Cubic 
Foot of Air 
from Table 

Temperature of Magazine 
When it May be Opened. 

I. Minimum 
for Good 

II. Limit 
below which 
Ventilation is 

I. Minimum 
for Good 

II. Limit 
below which 
Ventilation is 

Grains. 1 

Degrees F. 

Degrees F. 

Grains. 1 

Degrees F. 

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1 When the number of grains of water- vapor per cubic foot of air is not 
found exactly in the column, the nearest higher figure should be taken. 


as the latter will soon fall after entering the magazine when the 
doors are opened, and the relative humidity of the outside air 
which has entered the magazine be increased. Under these cir- 
cumstances about five minutes should be long enough for 
ventilating a small magazine; but when the temperature inside 
is above that outside the magazine and other conditions are 
fulfilled, there is no limit to the time during which ventilation 
may be continued, provided outside conditions remain favorable. 


Magazines of permanent seacoast works are lighted, as a 
rule, by electricity. When lighted by lamps, or when it is nec- 
essary to take a lamp into a magazine or a room containing 
explosives, only some authorized type should be used. 

Great care must be exercised in protecting electric lamps 
from being broken, and the insulation of all parts of electric 
circuits within the magazine, or the room containing explosives 
should be of the most approved form. 

It has been ascertained by experiment that the incandescent 
filament of the electric light will fire gunpowder dust if the 
globe be broken in an atmosphere containing such dust in sus- 
pension. It is considered necessary, therefore, to have all 
incandescent lamps protected by a strong outer glass globe 
and this latter by a- strong, copper-wire cage, the outer glass 
globe should have an inlet and outlet tube admitting a circula- 
tion of air; the capacity of the globe and ventilating pipes 
should be such as to keep the temperature inside the outer 
globe not greater than 140 F. 

In the case of very dusty and dangerous localities, the 
outer globe may be arranged to contain water instead of 
air, and a circulation of water provided, the lamp being 
immersed therein. In all cases where complete globes are 
used, one side should be painted to prevent the focussing of 
heat rays. 

Lamps should be attached in such a manner as to make it 


impossible to be broken by a fall ; for this purpose a light wire 
cage is placed immediately about the lamp globe. No wire 
carrying a current should be used to support a lamp, or be other- 
wise subjected to a mechanical stress. 

Lead wires should be inclosed in metal tubing up to the 
lamps, and the lamp wires should be soldered to the leads. 
No mere contact-joints should exist in the leads within or near 
the magazine. Each lamp should be provided with a fuse 
cut-out outside the magazine, so placed as to be readily in- 
spected. The fuses should consist of tin wire about 0.036 inch 
in diameter, additional wires in parallel being used if necessary. 

Each lamp should be supplied with a double-throw switch 
outside the magazine, by means of which the circuit may be 
completely broken. Before attempting to repair or replace a 
lamp, this switch should be thrown off for that lamp. 

An efficient leakage-detector and lightning-arrester should 
be placed in each magazine-lighting system. 

The difference of potential between any parts of the circuit 
within magazines should not be greater than 110 volts. 

The system should be thoroughly tested from time to time 
in all its parts. 

Special Storage Regulations for High Explosives. 

High explosives in storage should have blue litmus strips 
placed in each package. These packages should be examined 
once a month, the litmus strip replaced, and the boxes turned 
over. Methyl violet paper has been substituted for blue litmus 
paper by recent orders. The methyl violet pa;jer should not 
turn white in 30 days. 

The floor under packages containing nitroglycerine explosives 
should be covered with clean sawdust, to absorb any nitrogly- 
cerine that might exude. This sawdust should be renewed from 
time to time, the old sawdust being burned in the open air. 

In case a floor, or package, becomes coated or stained with 
free nitroglycerine, the latter should be decomposed by washing 
the floor or package with a solution of flowers of sulphur in 


carbonate of sodium. This soda-sulphur solution should be kept 
on hand wherever nitroglycerine in any form is stored. 

Dynamite should be stored so that the sticks are horizontal; 
the tendency of dynamite to exude nitroglycerine is greater if 
the sticks stand on end. 

It is important that dynamite-cartridges be kept dry. If 
exposed to a moist atmosphere, there is a tendency of the water 
condensed from the air on all exposed surfaces to displace the 

A little sodium carbonate is usually placed in dynamite. 
Moisture often causes this to leave to some extent the body of 
the cartridge and to appear as a white efflorescence on the out- 
side of the wrapper. If the dynamite is not otherwise changed, 
particularly if blue litmus is not reddened and there is no leak- 
ing of nitroglycerine, the efflorescence does not in itself indicate 
deterioration. It does suggest, however, that an examination of 
the dynamite should be made with a view to determining its 
condition as to the other defects named. 

Guncotton is always stored in a saturated condition, con- 
taining from 30 to 35 per cent of water. In this condition it 
is practically non-explosive. If not stored in hermetically 
sealed cases, guncotton should be examined monthly and 

Dry guncotton is required as a primer in detonating wet 
guncotton. Dry guncotton primers should be stored apart 
from wet guncotton. The disks may be kept dry by immersing 
in melted paraffin. If dry primers so prepared are not on hand, 
wet disks should be dried out at temperature not above 110 F. 

Liquid nitroglycerine is very rarely kept in storage. If it 
becomes necessary to store it, it should be stored in earthen 
crocks only, and should be kept covered with water. These 
crocks should be placed on supports of wood, near the floor, and 
over a trough containing sawdust or other absorbent. Like 
dynamite and guncotton, it should be examined monthly with 
blue litmus for evidences of acidity. 

All buildings and rooms containing these explosives should 


have a free circulation of air and should be under other maga- 
zine conditions. 

Examination of Smokeless Powder in Magazines. 

A sample of each accepted lot of powder is kept at the works 
of the manufacturers, where it is observed from time to time and 
tested. A part of each sample should be kept exposed at about 
104 F. (40 C.), under conditions resembling as near as possible 
those which obtain in storage-magazines. This part of the 
sample should be carefully examined from time to time, and 
subjected to the stability test once every three months for the 
period of one year and thereafter, as long as any of the lot is 
in the service, once every six months. A small part of the 
original sample should be kept permanently in a glass bottle, 
in a suitable place, where it can be under observation. Another 
sample of each lot of the powder should be placed in a glass- 
stoppered bottle, with a piece of moistened litmus paper sus- 
pended just clear of the powder. This should be kept in position 
for six hours, moistening the litmus paper from time to time, 
noting whether the litmus paper reddens and to what extent, 
and being careful not to confuse the pink color due to the ordi- 
nary bleaching of litmus with the reddening due to free acid. 
In order to determine what the acid color for a given piece of 
litmus should be, a piece of the paper should be dipped in 
vinegar and the true acid color will result. If this color develops 
in the bottle, it is due to escaping nitro fumes. 

Care should be taken to prevent the direct rays of the sun 
from falling upon powder or powder-boxes. 

External Examination. 

In making superficial examinations of smokeless powder a 
small scoopful should be taken into a good light, where a change 
of color may be most readily detected. Decomposing powder 
becomes lighter in color all over or in spots, showing a decidedly 


yellow tinge, and, when the decomposition is well established, 
the grains become in a measure soft, yielding to the pressure 
of the thumb nail. If nitro fumes are given off, the inside 
of the box, tank, or bag would probably show a yellowish 
appearance, and an acrid, pungent odor of nitric-peroxide gas 
would be present. Close observation is necessary to detect 
these signs in the case of incipient decomposition, but, if dis- 
covered at any time, such powder should at once be subjected 
to the stability heat-test. 

In case the heat test gives evidence of diminished stability, 
all powder of the lot involved should be immediately segregated 
at a distance from other powders in a place where, if combustion 
should ensue, no harm could be done. The place of storage 
should be cool and dry. If the powder should give evidence 
of advanced decomposition, indicated by unmistakable odor of 
nitrous fumes; a very low methyl violet paper and surveillance 
test, whitening one-tenth normal methyl violet paper in less 
than 20 days; grains friable and crumbling easily or in a mushy 
condition, it should be removed at once and destroyed either 
by burning in the open air or immersing in water. 

Samples of each lot of powder received at a magazine should 
be kept in glass-stoppered bottles and so placed in the maga- 
zine that they can be regularly and carefully examined twice 
a week. 

The present practice of the U. S. Ordnance Department is 
to issue, in the cartridge-storage case, with each fifth charge 
of a lot, a small bag containing 8 ounces of the same lot as the 
charge, and this is enough for two 4-ounce observation samples. 
The cases containing such samples have the words " Observation 
Sample " stamped in red on the linen tag attached to the case, 
outside. When one or both 4-ounce samples are removed suit- 
able note should be made on the tag. Charges or sections, 
packed in cases with samples, should be expended last. 

When no such samples are available for separate loading or 
fixed ammunition, samples must be taken by opening a pro- 
pelling charge or a fixed round, and when this is done, it is 


necessary to put in the place of the amount removed a like 
quantity of a suitable powder of recent manufacture, in order 
that the muzzle velocity may remain normal. Powder for this 
purpose has generally been issued in 5-pound containers, and 
where no such powder is on hand for the particular model of 
cannon in question, more must be obtained by requisition. No 
charge or round should have a second sample taken from it, and 
therefore suitable marks should be put on the container whenever 
samples are taken. 

When a shipment of powder is received at a storage-maga- 
zine, each box or package which shows signs of rough handling 
and liability that its hermetical sealing has been destroyed 
should be opened and a superficial examination made of its 
contents to ascertain if it is in normal condition. 

Fixed ammunition received for storage should have a few 
rounds taken apart for superficial examination. 

Heat- and litmus-tests should be made in each case where 
superficial indications of incipient decomposition are observed, 
and unless the powder meets both of these tests it should not 
be placed in the magazine. 

In preparing fixed ammunition, care must be exercised to 
see that the inside of the case is free from grease or any other 
foreign substance, and that the base of the projectile is per- 
fectly clean. 

The temperature and hygroscopic conditions of magazines 
should be constantly watched. Maximum and minimum ther- 
mometers should be placed one in the hottest part of the 
magazine and the other in the coolest. The temperatures 
should be taken daily and noted in the Magazine Record 

Magazines should be inspected each day and the fact noted 
in the Record Book over the signature of the person who makes 
the inspection. 

At these inspections the general condition of the magazine 
and its contents should be examined and noted in the Record 
Book. If the condition of the magazine is such as to indicate 


that everything is in a satisfactory state the word "Normal " 
should be entered. If otherwise, the particular defects noted 
should be spread upon the Record, and the matter reported 
at once to the proper officer. 

No loose powder should be permitted in any building, except 
such as is actually being used in preparing cartridges. 

Large quantities of powder should not be permitted in car- 
tridge-filling rooms; only just enough to supply the immediate 

As rapidly as cartridges are filled and prepared for use, they 
should be removed from the filling-rooms and placed in storage. 

Neatness and cleanliness should be insisted upon at all 
times; no foreign substances, such as oakum, waste, rags, paper, 
paint-pots, -brushes, etc., should be allowed in any building 
assigned for the storage or preparation of cartridges. 

If it should at any time become necessary to dry smoke- 
less powder, it should be done out of the direct rays of the sun. 

Smokeless powder should not be stored in magazines wherein 
the temperatue runs at any season above 95 F., or which ever 
reaches 104 F. If the temperature tends to rise so high 
artificial cooling must be resorted to. 

If the odor of ether is noticeably strong in any magazine, 
such magazine should be blown out with portable fans or other- 
wise ventilated. 

A naked light should never, under any circumstances, be 
taken into a room containing any quantity of powder. 

The following tests and examinations should be made of 
smokeless powders kept in service-magazines at posts : l 
Daily. A sample from each lot of smokeless powder in the 

magazine is to be kept in a glass-stoppered bottle 2 in a 

1 These tests do not apply when powder is stored in soldered metallic 

2 The style of bottle desired is that known as " salt-mouth " bottles 
and of a capacity of about two pounds; they should be filled about two-thirds 


conspicuous place, and frequently examined in a good light 
as to its external appearance. 

Fortnightly. The powder in one or more boxes or bags of each 
lot to be examined externally for evidences of incipient 

Monthly. The sample in the index-bottles will be subjected 
monthly to a moist litmus-paper test for 30 minutes. 

Quarterly. A sample from each lot in the magazine to be sub- 
jected to the potassium-iodide-starch-test for 40 minutes once 
a quarter, and also to a six-hour litmus-test. 

In case a pungent odor is detected it should be investi- 

The following regulations, with regard to the care and preser- 
vation of smokeless powders in store, are prescribed by the 
Ordnance Department, U. S. Army: 

All lots of smokeless powder will, as far as practicable, be 
shipped from the manufacturers to one of the powder depots; 
except, under unusual circumstances, issues to posts will be 
made only from such depots. 

In issuing smokeless powder from the depots the oldest 
lots in store will be issued first, unless instructions to the con- 
trary be given. 

All powders stored at the powder depots shall be tested 
as follows: 

1. By the usual stability tests at the Ordnance Laboratory. 
For this purpose an 8-ounce sample from each lot of powder 
in store will be sent to the laboratory for test. 

These tests of powder shall be made each six months after 
delivery. The samples will be selected as follows: From lots 
for the 10-inch and 12-inch B. L. rifles not more than one 
grain shall be taken from a box; from lots for guns of other 
calibers 5 per cent of the boxes shall be opened and a pro- 
portionate part taken from each. 

2. A litmus paper test will be made every three months 
for six hours from a sample taken from one or more boxes 
of each lot. The sample is placed in a clean glass-stoppered 


bottle, and a piece of litmus paper moistened with water (dis- 
tilled, if practicable) is suspended just clear of the powder. 1 

3. In each magazine samples of each lot stored therein 
should be placed in glass-stoppered bottles and examined semi- 
weekly. The appearance of yellowish or brownish-red fumes 
gradually assuming a red color as the quantity increases is a 
sign of deterioration. The fumes have a disagreeable, sharp, 
acrid odor similar to that of nitric acid, and are very irritating 
to the eyes and nose. 

Should there be any indication of fumes the bottle should 
be opened and two pieces of litmus paper moistened with water 
(distilled water, if possible) quickly inserted, one in contact 
with the powder and one hanging from the stopper. If there 
are any fumes being evolved, the litmus paper should be red- 
dened in a few hours. The moist paper will gradually dry 
out; if any doubts exist as to its reddening, the paper should 
be again moistened and replaced. The papers should be ex- 
posed in the bottles or boxes for at least six hours. 

4. Small samples of each lot should be kept in glass bottles, 
either in the offices or in some suitable place for purposes of 
daily observation. These bottles should not be exposed to the 
direct rays of the sun, nor in any place where they would be 
liable to be overheated. 

Recently methyl violet paper has been substituted for 
litmus paper in the storage tests of powder at fortifications. 
This paper placed in a test bottle will turn white in less than 
30 days if the powder be bad. The test consists simply in placing 
a standard methyl violet paper in a test bottle with a sample 
of powder the first of each month, noting the color at the end 
of the month and renewing the paper. 

This test is the only powder-test of a chemical nature 
required at posts. 

The Methyl- violet test paper used at posts is what is called 
" tenth-normal/' that is, it is of one-tenth the sensitiveness of 

1 The caution mentioned on page 231 as to the true acid color should be 
kept in mind. 


normal methyl-violet paper, as used in the laboratory. As 
received fresh at posts, it should have the violet color shown at 
the top of the color scale in the Ordnance Dept. pamphlet cited. 
Old paper or paper showing soiling or discoloration should not 
be used. The paper may be handled with clean dry hands, 
but the less it is handled, the better. It is not affected by 
diffused light, but should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Its 
test-value depends upon its property of gradually losing its 
violet color in the presence of oxides of nitrogen given off by 
decomposing powder. The time of test is the number of days 
required for it to become entirely white, no trace of the violet, 
pink, or yellow colors, through which it passes in the change 
from original color, remaining. 

To make the test, a piece of fresh 1/10 normal methyl violet 
paper is marked with date in lead pencil and inserted dry, in 
the glass-stoppered bottle containing the 4-ounce sample of 
powder, in such a way that the tight closure of the bottle is 
not interfered with and that the date may be read without 
opening the bottle. Wedging the paper between stopper and 
bottle prevents good closure and should be avoided, as should 
unnecessary opening of the bottle; as absorption of moisture 
and loss of volatiles due to exposure to the atmosphere tend 
to affect the powder, while escape of any nitrous fumes that may 
have formed would tend to show an unduly long test of the 

Only one test-paper should be in a bottle at one time, and it 
should be replaced by a fresh one at the end of each month. 
Examine about the 10th, 20th and end of each month for loss 
of color, making this examination without opening bottle. 

Powders of new manufacture will give, at ordinary tempera- 
tures, a test of two months or more. A test of one month is con- 
sidered as indicating a satisfactory degree of stability. If a 
sample gives a test of less than one month, the test should be 
repeated upon a fresh sample taken from the same lot. If a 
test is less than 20 days, the powder of lot represented should 
in the absence of special instructions, be segregated from other 


lots. Results of all tests completed in 30 days or less should be 
reported, using blank form provided for the purpose, and test 
papers, with the dates of commencement and completion, and the 
lot-numbers written thereon, should accompany the report. 

Fresh samples should be taken about January first and July 
first, observing all the precautions laid down in the pamphlet. 



Minimum safe distance of 

Pounds of barricaded l storage magazines 

Explosives. from inhabited buildings. 


50.. 120 

100 180 

200 260 

300 320 

400 360 

500 400 

600 430 

700 460 

800 490 

900 510 

1,000 530 

1,500 600 

2,000 650 

3,000 710 

4,000 750 

5,000 780 

6,000 805 

1 "Barricaded," as here used, signifies that the building containing 
explosives is screened from other buildings or from railways by either natural 
or artificial barriers. Where such barriers do not exist, the distances shown 
should be at least doubled. 



Minimum safe distances of 

Pounds of barricaded l storage magazines 

Explosives. from inhabited buildings. 


7,000.7 830 

8,000 850 

9,000 870 

10,000 '... 890 

20,000 1055 

30,000 1205 

40,000 1340 

50,000 1460 

60,000 1565 

70,000 1655 

80,000 , 1730 

90,000 1790 

100,000 1835 

200,000 2095 

300,000 2335 

400,000 2555 

500,000 2755 

600,000 2935 

700,000 3095 

800,000 3235 

900,000 3355 

1,000,000. 3455 

1 See footnote on preceding page. 


WHILE the explosives herein treated have enormous potential 
energy stored up in them, they are perfectly safe unless a definite 
act be taken to let loose this energy. 

If they are so handled that no particle of any given mass 
is brought to a certain definite temperature by application of 
heat, friction, or shock, they are as safe as any other solids or 
liquids. The solid nitro-explosives are at least no more dan- 
gerous than the old black gunpowder. The precautions to be 
kept in mind have been pointed out as the several explosives have 
been taken up in succession. Some of the more important of these 
may, perhaps, with advantage be collected and repeated here. 

Summary of Precautions of a General Nature to be Observed in 
Handling Explosives. 

Avoid bringing any matches or other easily combustible sub- 
stances near an explosive. 

Avoid the use of hard, rigid tools, implements, or apparatus 
in connection with explosives. A particle of explosive pinched 
between two hard surfaces, and subjected to a blow or to sliding 
friction, is apt to explode. The minutest particle caught in 
this way and exploded has the power to initiate the explosion 
of a large mass. Copper is the only metal that should be used 
about explosives. 

Use only the quantity of explosive necessary for the work 
in hand, and keep the main supplies far removed from the 
point of explosion, and well protected from all possible exposure 
to fire or shock, or to handling by unauthorized persons. 

Keep explosives and means of exploding them apart until 
it is desired to arrange a charge for explosion. 



Explosives and primers, fuses or caps, should never be 
transported or stored together. 

Nitroglycerine, dynamite, dry guncotton, and explosive 
gelatin, if transported, should be protected against violent 
shock by preparing a soft, elastic bed of hay, straw, excelsior, 
or similar substance in the cart, wagon, or car. Rough pave- 
ments and roads should be avoided in so far as practicable. 

Never prepare a dynamite or explosive gelatin primer car~ 
tridge near other dynamite or explosive gelatin. 

Never try to thaw nitroglycerine or a nitroglycerine deriva- 
tive over a naked flame or on heated metal. Use always a 
closed vessel in a water-bath. 

In case a charge at any time misses fire, do not be in haste to 
investigate the cause. Wait at least ten minutes, and, then, when 
satisfied that no explosion is to take place, remove the tamping, 
cut the lead-wires of the fuse, and prepare another primer. Open 
up the charge as little as possible and not near the old primer. 

In using an electric current for firing, the wires should not be 
connected to the source of electricity until the circuit is otherwise 
complete, the primer in place, and charge all ready for firing. 
One man should be detailed to see that the firing ends of the 
wires are not tampered with while the charge is being arranged. 

Before firing a charge, warning should be given to all persons 
connected with the firing, and a lookout stationed to warn off 
all friends. 

Precautions to be Observed in Charging Torpedoes and Shell 
with High Explosives. 

The work should be done in light frame buildings apart 
from other buildings. The floor must be swept frequently, and 
the sweepings burned at a distance. 

The temperature of the loading-room should not be above 
90 F. nor below 50 F. 

No acids or primers should be allowed near explosives in 
bulk. Magazine conditions will be strictly enforced, both as to 
persons engaged in the work and to the surroundings. 


In connecting together parts of material by screwing, as 
in fusing shell and arranging the tropedo fuse, great care must 
be exercised that no particle of explosive is caught in the screw- 

Shell loaded with picric acid or its derivatives should not 
have screw-threads coated with white or red lead. 

Great care must be taken that particles of explosive are 
not dropped on the floor. 

A torpedo loaded with dynamite should be kept carefully 
protected from the sun's rays. The direct rays of the sun 
would soon heat the interior to a high degree, and the sensi- 
tiveness of all high explosives increases rapidly with the tem- 
perature. Loaded torpedoes should, therefore, be kept in the 
shade, and, if necessary, covered with paulins. 

Safety Precautions in Preparing to Fire Demolition Charges. 

1. In testing fuses or detonators never attach a wire to 
either lead, unless the fuse or detonator is safely inclosed or 
at a safe distance. 

2. Always hold a cap or primer pointing from you. 

3. Be careful not to bend, strike hard, or heat a cap or 

4. Do not place caps or primers near strong acids. 

5. Be careful not to allow any strain to be put on the leads 
of a primer in making up a charge or in connecting up the 

6. Any one who connects a wire to the lead of a primer is 
responsible for his own safety. He should not make the con- 
nection unless he knows that the circuit is broken between him 
and the source of electricity. To increase safety, the outer 
ends of the circuit should be put in charge of some person, with 
instructions to keep the leads apart. 

7. All persons except those directly engaged in the work 
should withdraw to a safe distance or take cover while the 
charge is being made up and the circuit prepared. 



8. The exploding-machine, electric battery or other firing 
apparatus, should not be brought to the firing-point until all 
preparations for firing have been made. The last thing before 
firing is to connect the leads with the source of electricity. 

9. Place the exploding apparatus or machine as near the 
charge as safety permits. Before using, test the machine by 
seeing if it will redden, by heating, a small piece of platinum 
wire, or if it will explode a spare primer, or take the throw of 
a galvanometer, or the shock of the current between ends of 
short leads attached. 

10. If a charge is to be fired by using a firing-key, examine 
carefully to see that there is a real and sufficient break when the 
key is "off," and that there are no loose wires or other means near 
to form a circuit except through the key. In firing, connect 
one terminal of the firing-key with the positive pole of the firing- 
battery, and, lastly, connect with the battery's negative pole. 

11. Immediately after firing, disconnect both leads and place 
them in charge of some responsible persons, 

as explained in 6. 

12. In testing circuits and primers, 
not more than 1/20 ampere should flow 
through any primer. 

13. For certainty of ignition, a single 
large charge should have two or more 
primers connected up in parallel, thus: 

14. Always use the same kind of 
primers in the same circuit. 

The utmost care must be always exer- 
cised in handling all kinds of explosives' 
and in their preparation for firing. The 
tendency of those charged with the duty 
of handling explosives is to become care- F 

less and indifferent, and to neglect those 

precautions and that carefulness which should always be ob- 
served in connection therewith. Only the constant, utmost 


watchfulness will avoid accidents. No relaxation of these pre- 
cautions or of the rules and regulations governing magazine 
duties should be permitted. 

Preparing a Charge for Firing. 

In arranging a charge for firing, the primer-cartridge of 
dynamite or the primer-disk of guncotton is placed as near as 
possible in the middle of the charge, and the mass of explosives 
packed tightly around it. 

The charge may be ignited by a time-train fuse, or by an 
electric primer or cap. 

If a time- train is used, its normal rate of burning in open 
air must be ascertained by trial. A single- tape time- train fuse 
will burn at the rate of about 1 foot in 18 seconds, a double- 
tape fuse, 1 foot in about 20 seconds, a triple-tape fuse, 1 foot 
in about 25 seconds. 

The time-fuse is cut to the desired length, placed in the open 
end of the cap, and the latter pinched down tightly on it, as 
shown in Fig. 2. 

FIG. 2. 

If the fuse is to be used under water, the cap must be well 
coated with paraffin, tar, or shellac, so as to make the joint 

The cap is next inserted in the cartridge. In doing this, 1 
open that end which has the longest paper-folds. Punch a hole 
in the center of the end of the cartridge with a round-pointed 
stick, making the hole slightly larger than the cap. Insert the 
cap (about two-thirds of its length) until it is almost but not 
quite covered by the explosive. Bring the paper of the car- 
tridge close around the fuse-train and tie tightly with a strong 

l The description contemplates a dynamite stick-cartridge. 


string. The primer- cartridge thus made will appear in longi- 
tudinal section, as shown in the following figure. 

The charge having been arranged with the primer-cartridge 
as near as possible in the center, the train is led off in the direc- 

FIG. 3. Primer-cartridge arranged with time- train fuse. 

tion of cover, its free end is ignited, and the operator quickly 

In firing by electricity, an electric primer is used. A 
primer-cartridge is prepared as follows: The paper is unfolded 
at one end of the cartridge, an opening is made in the center 
of the end with a pointed round stick, a little larger than the 
primer-cap. The cap is inserted until the upper end is nearly 
but not quite flush with the upper surface of the explosive in 
the cartridge. The lead-wires are then bent sharp over the 
end of the cartridge and along its side to the opposite end, 
leaving the free ends of the wires at that end. In passing 
along the cartridge, two half-hitches should be taken around 
the cartridge with the lead-wires, one near the end in which 
the cap is placed, to prevent the latter from being disturbed; 
the other near the opposite end. When completed, the primer- 
cartridge should appear as in Fig. 4. 

FIG. 4. Primer-cartridge arranged for electric firing. 

To allow for this arrangement, and to allow also for ample 
free ends, the lead-wires should be at least 6 feet long. 

This primer-cartridge should be placed at the center of the 
charge and the components of the charge packed tightly about 
it, the free lead-wires passing out through the charge in the 
direction of the point from which it is to be fired. 

In the case of guncotton, a dry block is taken for the primer- 



block. The primer is placed in the hole of the block and packed 
in tightly with scraped dry guncotton taken from the corners 
of the block. The leads are then bent over and around the 
block, making a close-fitting half-hitch. If it is to be fired 
under water the whole should be dipped in melted paraffin. 

In jointing wires, strip off the insulation for about two inches, 
leaving the end of the insulation conical, like the wood part of a 
pointed lead-pencil, and clean the wire carefully with the back of a 
knife, or other suitable tool, until a smooth, even, bright metallic 
surface is obtained, being careful not to nick or roughen the 
surface of the bared wire if possible. Cross the wires at right 
angles, as shown in Fig. 5. Then bend each wire around the 

FIG. 5. 

FIG. 6. 

other spirally in the direction of the pointed insulation of the 
other wire, keeping the turns of the spiral close together, as 
shown in Figs. 6 and 7. Three or four turns should be made, 
pressing the turns tightly down on the standing part of the other 
wire, using pincers, preferably, to make the turns regular and 
tightly pressed on the other wire. Cut off the spare ends and 
pinch the cut ends close down, as shown in Fig. 8. 

FIG. 7. 

FIG. 8. 

In jointing stranded wires, each strand should be separately 
cleaned, and each strand wrapped around the standing part of 
the other wire, as explained above for a solid wire. 


A three-way joint is made by first making a simple joint, 
as explained above, and then opening the wires at the first 
crossing sufficiently to insert the bared end of the third wire, 
as shown in Fig. 9. This third wire is wrapped closely down 

FIG. 9. FIG. 10. 

on the turns of the first wires. Other wires may be connected 
in, in the same manner. 

Important joints should be soldered if time allows. To 
solder a joint, first wash the joint with zinc chloride, heat the 
soldering-iron until it will readily melt the solder. Rub one 
face of the iron with a coarse file, then rub over a little sal 
ammoniac; or dip it quickly in a solution of sal ammoniac, 
then rub the solder on this cleaned face of the iron and apply 
to the joint. The solder should be hot enough to run freely 
into the spaces between the wires. The joint is then washed 
clean with carbonate of soda or other alkaline solution. In- 
stead of zinc chloride, a solution of resin in spirits of wine may 
be used. 

Great care should be taken to keep the bare hands off the 
scraped wires, and to keep the latter free from all grease. 

All joints, whether soldered or not, should be insulated. 
This is accomplished by the usual insulating rubber tape. Begin 
well down on the .wire insulation and wrap spirally well over 
on the insulation of the other side of the joint; letting each 
turn overlap the previous one one-half, ending in a half-hitch 
(see Fig. 10). 

If the joint is to lie under the water, each turn of the insula- 
tion-wrapping should be carefully smeared with india-rubber 
solution before the next turn is laid over it. In unsoldered 


joints, the india-rubber solution should not be placed over tape 
lying next to and immediately over the twisted wires. Care 
must be taken to notice that the tape adheres to the rubber 
solution as it is laid down, and especially to the insulation of 
the wires on each side. To insure this, the insulation of the 
wires and the tape to be laid down should be cleaned off with 
a little naphtha, and the insulation smeared with rubber solution. 

A good water-tight joint may be made by slipping a piece 
of rubber tubing on the wire before the jointing, then, after the 
jointing, slipping it wer the joint and binding it on each side 
tightly down on the wire insulation with strong twine or with 
pliable wire. 

If neither tape nor tubing is available, a fairly good insu- 
lated joint, suitable for use in damp places, may be made by 
slitting longitudinally the insulation of a spare piece of wire, 
detaching it carefully from the wire, cutting this piece in two 
across, and then applying the two sections over the joint and 
binding down tightly with twine or fine wire. 

A joint should be made in that part of the circuit least liable 
to moving or bending. If necessary, the joints should be fixed 
in position by weights or stakes or staples. 

Before a circuit is connected up for firing, the joints should 
be tested for continuity. The complete circuit should finally 
be tested by a weak current. 

The service-exploder is known as the Laflin & Rand 
Magneto-electric Machine, or the Laflin & Rand Exploder. 

The internal arrangement (see -Figs. 11, 12, and 14) consists 
of a Siemens armature, B, which revolves between soft-iron 
prolongations of the cores of an electromagnet, A. 

The electricity is generated by forcing the armature to 
revolve in the field of the magnet and is transformed by a com- 
mutator, F, from an alternating to a continuous current. The 
circuit passes from the commutator-springs into the adjacent 
ends of the windings of the magnet. The back-strap ends of 
the windings of the two halves of this magnet are extended 
to the terminals, or binding posts, G, for the connecting wires; 



and thence to a brass spring, D, and collar, E, where, by plati- 
num points, they are joined together, thus completing an interior 
short circuit as a shunt. The magnet is wrapped with 1.76 
ohms of co.tton-insulated copper wire, No. 18, B. W. G., and 
the armature with 0.92 ohms of No. 21 of the same. The 
novelty of the machine lies in the mode of giving rotation 
to the Siemens armature, and of switching into the firing 
circuit the powerful induced current. Both objects are accom- 
plished by the firing-bar, which consists of a square brass 

FIG. 11. End View. 

FIG. 12. Side View. 

rod, 14 by J by J inches, fitted with a wooden handle at one 
end, the other end passing down into the box. One side of the 
bar is provided with teeth which engage in a loose pinion, C, 
fitted over the prolongation of the armature spindle. A clutch 
holds the pinion to the spindle when the rod is descending, but 
leaves it free when the latter is raised, thus restricting the 
revolutions of the armature to one direction only. When the 
firing-bar reaches its lowest position, it strikes the brass spring 
which forms part of the interior circuit ; and, if in rapid motion, 
the shock breaks the circuit and thus shunts the current into 
the firing circuit. 



In passing from the top to the bottom of the box ; the rod 
causes seven and one-half complete revolutions of the armature; 
and, if the movement be the result of a sudden and downward 
pressure, this is enough to develop a powerful electrical current. 

This form of exploder is very compact and strong, and not 
liable to get out of order except through very rough usage. 

The machine may become temporarily deranged through 
two causes: 

1st. Dust or some foreign substance may find its way be- 
tween the platinum contact-points between D and E, Fig. 11. 

FIG. 13. 

FIG. 14. 

By removing the screws that hold it in place, the rear of the 
case may be removed and the trouble remedied by using a piece 
of fine emery-cloth. 

2d. Trouble may arise from the surface of the commutator 
becoming tarnished. In order to cleanse it, remove the rear of 
the case as before, and also the small pin near the lower end of 
the firing-bar, and then withdraw the firing-bar from the case. 


The works of the machine, with the shelf upon which they rest, 
are next partially removed from the case, and the springs which 
press upon the commutator, and the yoke which holds in place 
the spindle upon which the commutator revolves, are discon- 
nected. The commutator may then be cleaned with a piece of 
fine emery-cloth. 

Proper attention to these details and careful preparation 
of the wires and fuses save a vast deal of trouble, and cannot 
be too strongly insisted upon when success is absolutely neces- 
sary and time is to be saved. 

To use the exploder, note that safety precautions have been 
taken by all persons; clean the lead ends; attach cleaned ends 
to the binding-posts (G, Fig. 13) of the exploder; raise the firing- 
bar 1 (B, Fig. 13) to its full height; force the firing-bar down 
with firm, rapid, uniform stroke, keeping the bar vertical. 

In some recent forms of this exploder, there are three binding- 
posts for firing a larger number of primers than can be fired by 
two. The third post is connected at a central point of the 
group of fuses; the current goes out on this central line and 
divides over the two return routes. The resistance is thus 
lowered, so that a sufficient current is developed to fire the 
primers in each return route. 

1 The firing-bar should be kept down at all times, except in the act of 

. ' x. 


DEMOLITIONS may be divided into two kinds : (1) deliberate 
and (2) hasty. 

In the case of deliberate demolitions, time is not an im- 
portant factor in the preliminary arrangements, and economy 
of means and material may be given due consideration. 

In hasty demolitions, the saving of time is the controlling 
consideration. Tamping, and other means of economizing the 
quantity of explosive required for a given demolition, must often 
be neglected, and hence hasty demolitions require relative 
larger quantities of explosives than deliberate demolitions. 
Hasty demolitions only are considered in these notes. 

When the demolition requires mass effect, a progressive ex- 
plosive like gunpowder is to be preferred to a high explosive. If 
a local shattering effect is desired, the latter is to be preferred. 

With gunpowder, tamping is essential if a good effect is to 
be had. Tamping is not so important with dynamite, gun- 
cotton, and other high explosives. The full effect of dynamite 
is obtained when the tamping is equal in thickness to the thick- 
ness of the mass to be destroyed; with gunpowder, the tamping 
should be 1J to 2 times thicker. 

Demolitions may be "moderate," in which the fragments 
remain at or near the point of explosion; or " violent," in which 
the fragments are scattered and thrown to some distance. 

In destroying masonry revetment walls, the charge should 
be- placed on the back of the wall on a level with the foot of it, 



and along the length of the wall to be demolished. For this 
purpose a gallery must be driven through the revetment and 
extended right and left behind it. The charge should be suffi- 
cient to destroy the wall, and should be covered in the gallery 
through the revetment with earth 1J times the thickness of 
the wall. If the wall have buttresses, there should be an addi- 
tional charge and tamping opposite these points. The foot of 
the wall may be reached by a shaft from above, instead of a 
gallery through it. The lateral galleries should be run the 
same, however. 

The resistance of ordinary masonry may be taken at 1J 
times that of a similar thickness of earth. A tamping of earth 
over the charge double the thickness of the wall should be 


Large buildings with substantial masonry walls should have 
the charges laid at intervals all along the ground at the foot 
of the outside walls. A ditch dug parallel to the line of charges 
will furnish earth for tamping. 

If the charges be let a short distance into the wall, the 
charge may be smaller and the tamping reduced. 

It would be better to place the charges inside, but, as a 
rule, the interior arrangements, floors, etc., interfere, and it is 
difficult to get sufficient earth for tamping. 

When there is difficulty in getting earth for tamping it 
may be necessary to blast the walls down. 

Blasting is effected by relatively small charges of explosives 
placed in holes of small diameter called ." bore-holes." It is 
resorted to only where hard, rigid material is to be removed, 
such as rock, masonry, etc. The charge must be put in the 
form to fit the bore-holes. The stick form of dynamite is a 
convenient one to charge bore-holes. 

The positions of bore-holes with respect to the mass to be 
demolished are important. 



The direction of maximum effect is at right angles to the 
bore-hole opposite the centei of the charge. 
The charge should be so placed that the 
" burden " of the charge is on this line. This 
line of the " bur den " of the charge is the 
"line of resistance/' abbreviated L.R. It is 
the longest line from the charge at right 
angles to the bore-hole in the direction the 
explosive effect must be carried. 

The angle of the bore-holes should be less 
with the face of the mass, the harder and 
more tenacious the latter. 

When there are two free surfaces the 
bore-hole should be run parallel to the 
longest free side, as illustrated in Fig. 16 

If the mass be vertical and have an undercut, as in Fig. 17, 
the bore-hole should be driven at least beyond the angle at d. 
The depth of the bore-hole should be at least f A.D. If the 
side AD is not parallel to the bore-hole ac, then L.R. is the 
longest perpendicular to the charge. In all cases the size of 

FIG. 15. 
acb = probable 

FIG. 16. 

FIG. 17. 

the charge must be adjusted to this longest perpendicular. If 
this is not done, a small crater like }cb might be made, leaving 
the rest of the mass undisturbed. 


A vertical-face undercut without a top surface should be 
arranged as in Fig. 18, the bore-hole being parallel to the 
undercut face. 

When several bore-holes are placed in series the distance 
between them should be equal to 1J L.R. when fired 
separately, and equal to 2 L.R. when fired simulta- 

In charging a bore-hole, as many sticks of dy- 
namite or other explosive as may be required, ac- 
cording to the computation for the charge, are 
placed in the hole, pressed firmly with a wooden drift 
until the sticks are in close contact with each 
IG * ' other and with the sides of the bore-hole. The 
primer-cartridge is placed in last. A paper or cloth wad is 
placed over this, and the whole is tamped with sand or other 

The weight of charge in ounces may be computed by the 
following formula : 

Let C = total charge in ounces. 

c = charge per foot run of bore-holes in ounces, i.e., 

= C 

length of bore-hole in feet * 
L.R. =line of resistance in feet. 

k = coefficient of resistance of the mass to be blasted. 
B = length of bore-hole in feet. 

k is determined by experiment for the material to be blasted. 
When not known, and there is not time to determine it ; it may 
be taken as 0.2. 


For blasting purposes dynamite or explosive gelatin is, as a 
rule, more convenient than gunpowder or guncotton. 

Buildings can, as a rule, be demolished more economically 
and readily by blasting charges placed in the walls than by 
charges placed along the bottoms of walls and covered with 

Charges of black gunpowder will be effective in demolishing 
walls when placed at the middle of the wall, provided the charge 
is in compact form, and the diameter of the bore-hole is greater 
in inches than the wall is thick in feet. 

In boring into walls, the holes should slant downward 
toward the middle of the wall at an angle of 45. The middle of 
the wall will be reached when the bore-hole is IjV L.L.R. 1 
The hole must then be lengthened so as to contain one-half the 
charge, and to bring the center of the charge at the middle of 
the wall. 

The amount of explosive may be reduced by cutting away 
portions of the wall, leaving only piers to be demolished. 

If the strength of the wall varies from point to point by 
buttresses or other construction, the charge must be increased 
at such points. Bore-holes may be driven as follows: 

Single. Slant downwards at 45, alternating on opposite 
sides of the wall. 

V-shaped. Same, but directly opposite each other, meeting 
at the middle of the wall. 

X-shaped. Same, but crossing at middle of wall. 

The table on page 253 gives the charges of black powder 
required for demolitions when placed twice the line of least 
resistance apart. 

If the holes have to be made with a diameter in inches 
less than f L.L.R., V or X holes may be used with diminished 
intervals, or two parallel holes may be cut side by side and the 
partition between them cut away. 

1 L.L.R =line of least resistance, it is thaHine drawn outward from the 
charge a*ong which the resistance is smallest It is always expressed in feet. 



Diameter of 
Hole in 

Charge of 
Powder in 

Depth to 
which each 
Hole is to be 


Length of 
Hole Occu- 
pied by 

Charges to be Fired 



Bored in 


Powder in 




2 L.L.R. 

i (L.L.R.) 3 

14 L.L.R. 


i L.L.R. 

This is the best size 

of hole. 

1| " 

A (L.L.R.)' 

If " 


f " 


i (L.L.R.) 3 

2 * "< 


1 1 (i 


4 (L.L.R.) 3 


4 " 

Half the charge in 

each hole; over- 

f " 

4 (L.L.R.) 3 

2 " 


H " 

lap slightly. 
Half the charge in 

each hole; over- 

lap equally, form- 

ing X. 

L. L. R. always 

expressed in feet. 


The destruction of bridges is an important division of demoli- 
tions. Usually the time available for preparation is brief; 
traffic over the bridge cannot be interrupted during the prep- 
aration; and, finally, the destruction must be accomplished 
suddenly when the proper' time has arrived, and the demolition 
must be certain and complete. 

The proper way to destroy a masonry bridge of a single arch 
is to demolish one or both haunches. 

A bridge having piers should have the charges placed at the 
bottom of the piers, and several charges should be placed rather 
than one large one, since the risk of failure of a single charge 
should not be run; several charges should be placed at inter- 
vals apart equal to 2 L.L.R. 

The arch of a bridge offers greater resistance to destruction 
than a plane surface. The charge should always be placed on 
the haunch and so that cb is the L.L.R.; its resistance being 
less than ca, or any other line out from c to any surface. 

In order to insure these relations, ca or any other line should 
be equal at least to 3 cb. The distance between charges across 
the width of the bridge should not be greater than 2 cb. 



If the briJge is to be destroyed with a single charge, the 
L.L.R (cb) should be made equal to at least J the width of 
the bridge. Except with very narrow bridges, it would be 
better to use multiple charges. 

A single charge placed at the crown is not advisable, for the 
reason that it may simply blow out the crown, as indicated 



FIG. 19. 

by the lines xx f and yy f , making the repair of the bridge a com- 
paratively simple matter. It might be that this, in some 
special case, would be desired; then an overcharge should be 
distributed across the bridge along the crown, midway between 
the roadway and the surface of the crown. 

When there is not sufficient time to place charges to destroy 
the haunches, several rows of charges should be placed over the 
arch, as shown at ddd. The distances between these charges 
across the width should not be greater than 2 L.L.R. The 


L.L.R. should be regulated by the depth of the stones forming 
the arch. It should not, as a rule, be less than 1J feet nor 
more than 5 feet: if less than the former, the charges would 
be too small; if greater than the latter, too large. 

Another method of arranging the charge is to place it in a 
trough suspended below the arch. This answers better for 
high explosives than for gunpowder. 

The following empirical formula is given by Captain H. 
Schaw, R.E., for determining the charge of powder required 
to demolish a strongly built masonry arched bridge, when the 
charge is well tamped and placed over the haunch, at a depth 
below the roadway equal to twice the distance through to the 
surface of the arch: C = f(L.L.R.) 2 x. 

Placed in a shallow 

Tr , n 2 /r T T> \9 vx D trench along crown on the 

If on the arch: (7= (L.L.R.) 2 XB & . 

keystone, with excavated 

. material placed over it. 

In which C is the total charge of powder in pounds required for 
the charge in a single mass, or in line across the bridge; L.L.R is 
the line of least resistance; B is the breadth of the bridge in feet. 

When a bridge is wide, the charges may be placed, without 
stopping traffic, by sinking a shaft in the middle of the roadway 
and placing a board cover over the shaft. When the bridge is 
narrow, the charges may be placed by running galleries from 
the side walls. If the mining be difficult and the time limited, 
it may be necessary to resort to overcharged mines. 

Wooden bridges may be destroyed by explosives, cutting 
through the important ties or struts of the middle section, or 
by burning or cutting or sawing through the important members. 

Iron-girder Bridges. 

These bridges should, as a rule, be destroyed by demolishing 
the girders, their members or parts, rather than by blowing up 
the piers, unless there be ample time and it is desired to effect 
the greatest damage possible. 



Girders may be solid and continuous, as in the simple I-beam 
girder, or they may be in the form of a built-up truss. 

Where there is a continuous truss across several spans, the 
shore spans should be cut near the first pier, thus : 

FIG. 20. 

Cut at XX'. If the spans are large, usually it will be sufficient 
to cut one span. 

When the girder is not continuous, but rests separately as 
a single 'span: 

(a) If it consist of a single span of uniform cross-section 
throughout, as is usually the case with small bridges, cut near 
both ends, thus : 


FIG. 21. 

(6) If it consist of a truss, or strengthened beam, cut at a 
point near 'each support just before the first strengthening or 
thickening of the parts begins, thus : 


FIG. 22. 

Specific rules cannot be laid down for cutting each separate 


type of truss, but there are certain general rules, such as those 
just given, which may be taken as a guide. 

To insure complete destruction, the cut should be made 
through the entire truss. When there is not available sufficient 
explosive for cutting through a whole truss, the upper and 
lower chords should be cut. If there is not enough for both 
chords, cut the tension-chord of the panel rather than the com- 

With a solid I-beam girder, the explosive should be 
placed on both top and lower flange and against the web 

Curved girders, whether solid or built up open, should be 
cut completely through on both haunches, if possible. 

Suspension bridges should be cut through each cable, either 
at the middle of the cables or near the anchors; the former for 
large bridges and the latter for small ones. 

Large iron- truss bridges on stone piers may be most effectu- 
ally destroyed by blasting the piers, but this should be attempted 
only when there is ample time. Small girder-bridges may be 
pried by levers off their piers or abutments, if no explosives 
be at hand. 

Iron-truss bridges may be destroyed also by fires built 
against the important struts or ties; when red-hot, the heated 
members will give way and the structure will collapse. 

Suspension bridges may be destroyed by uncovering and 
destroying the anchorages of the supporting wires, by destroy- 
ing the supporting pier below the saddle, or by cutting through 
the wires at the middle. 

In blasting stone piers, charges should be at 2 L.L.R. inter- 
vals apart in the middle of the pier, computing the size of the 
charge by the following formula: 


Iron Plates. 

To cut iron plates, the charge must extend along the entire 
line to be cut. The weight of charge in pounds may be com- 
puted approximately from the following formulas : 

For wrought iron or soft steel : C = %Bt 2 . 
For cast iron: C = %Bt 2 . 

B = length to be cut in feet. 
t = thickness of plate in inches. 

Laminated plates should be treated as solid. Care should 
be taken that the contact of the charge with the plate is close 

Subaqueous Demolitions. 

The most common subaqueous demolitions are the blowing- 
up of sunken hulks, cutting down piles, and removing rocks 
from channels. 

Hulks are broken up by exploding large single charges 
inside of the hulk. For this purpose, it is necessary for divers 
to go down into the hulk to place the charge. 

Guncotton is a convenient explosive for under-water demoli- 
tion, as its explosive force is not diminished by being wet. It 
is only necessary to arrange in the charge a primer of dry gun- 

If dynamite or powder is used, it is necessary to inclose the 
charge in a water-tight case. Various common articles may be 
found to answer for a case, such as beer-barrels, iron sewer-, 
gas-, or water-pipes, lead pipes, rubber tubing, fire-hose, etc. 

Explosive gelatin is unaffected by water, and, like guncotton, 
may be detonated if a primer of the dry explosive be used. 

Single piles may be cut by using an encircling charge, in the 
form of tubing or hose, or by a single charge held in place at the 
proper height. The single charge may be fastened to a long 
beam, and the latter used to press the charge against the pile. 


If a row of piles is to be cut down, the same principle may 
be applied. Fasten an extended charge to a heavy plank; 
attach the latter to two or more beams or scantling; lower until 
the ends of the beam bite into the bottom; lash the upper ends 
of the beams to the top of the piling, pressing the charge tightly 
up against the piles. 

The charges for subaqueous demolitions may be considered 
as " tamped " charges, and the weight of charges computed for 
piles by the same formulas as given for hard-wood trees and 

Masonry Tunnels. 

Either the crown of the arch or the side-walls may be at- 
tacked. To prepare crowns of arches for demolition shafts 
may be sunk from above or galleries run from the ends, or 
openings made through the wall or arch and galleries run 
laterally from these. The side-walls may be prepared for 
demolition by opening holes through the wall, and running 
galleries laterally, or running galleries from the ends behind 
the walls, as explained for masonry revetment walls. 

If time is limited, the charges may be placed along the foot 
of each wall and tamped. 

If it is desired to break-in several yards in length of the 
tunnel, " over-charge " charges should be placed some dis- 
tance along the arch or walls behind them, reckoning the 
resistance equal to two or three times the thickness of 

The part of a tunnel selected for destruction should be, if 
possible, some distance from either end. Ventilating shafts may 
easily be destroyed, and some tunnels thereby rendered unser- 
viceable. If the subsoil is plastic, or contains water under 
pressure, great damage may be done by opening a hole through 
the foundation. 


Stockades or Barriers. 

The charge should be placed along the bottom and tamped; 
a single row of charges of dynamite or other explosive will 
usually be sufficient. The strength and character of the barrier 
must be considered. 

An ordinary stockade or barrier-gate will be broken in by 
the equivalent of 40 to 100 Ibs. of black powder fastened near 
the lock. Larger and stronger fort-gates should be attacked with 
the equivalent of 200 Ibs. of powder placed along its bottom. 

Demolition of Railroads. 

The destruction of railroads may be divided into three classes 
of operations: 

1. Those looking to the rendering of a particular 
portion of the line unserviceable for a limited time. 

2. Those looking to the total destruction of the rail- 
road, its works and rolling-stock. 

3. Hasty demolitions having in view the production 
of the maximum amount of damage at some point or 
section in a limited time. 

In classes 1 and 3, 'it is necessary to know the time limit. 
A reconnaissance should precede each, so that the precise 
nature of the work to be done may be ascertained and the neces- 
sary tools, material, and men may be determined. 

The railroad may be within the enemy's line and be in use 
by him, or it may be within our own lines and its destruction 
made advisable, in order to prevent its use by the enemy at a 
subsequent time. In the latter case, all rolling-stock and mov- 
able property should be collected at a safe interior point. 

Buildings, storehouses, workshops, etc., need not be de- 
stroyed. The machines may be rendered useless and engines 
disabled, but buildings should not be destroyed; water-supplies 
especially should be subjected only to injury that may be re- 
paired later. The demolitions should include lighting and signal 
appliances, switches, bridges, tunnels, embankments, cuts, etc. 

Apart from the removal and destruction of particular 


pieces of property, the simplest and quickest method is to 
destroy the rails by explosives. Two sticks of dynamite or one 
block of guncotton, fastened by wire or cord close to the web 
of a steel or iron rail and detonated in that position, will com- 
pletely destroy that portion of the rail. A string of cartridges 
may be applied in this manner, one charge to each rail, placed 
in series and exploded at the same time, thus destroying a 
great length of track instantaneously. 


The nomenclature and essential data connected with the use 
of explosives in land-mines are here briefly given; 

FIG. 23. 

Let AB represent the original surface of the ground; (7, the 
position of the center of the charge; CL, the line of least resist- 

After explosion, the crater will take the form cdef, with 
the crest, dbc-fgh, about it. 

The line cf is the diameter of the crater; Lf is the radius 
of the crater. 

The radius of explosion is DC, the distance through the earth 
to which the effects of the explosion extend. When a crater is 
formed, the horizontal radius of explosion is greater than the 
vertical radius; when there is no crater, these two radii are 
equal. In the former case the volume included in the effects 
of rupture is a spheroid; in the latter case it is a sphere. 

When the radius of explosion is greater than the line of 
least resistance, the mine is an " overcharged mine"; when 
less, an " undercharged mine "; when equal, a " common mine/' 

The following formulas give the charge of black powder, or 
equivalent, required to form these mine craters : 


For overcharged mine : C =^r[L.L.R. +0.9(r -L.L.R.)] 3 . 

For undercharged mine: C=^[L.L.R.-0.9(L.L.R.-r)] 3 . 

For common mine : C -^(L.L.R.) 3 . 

C = charge in pounds. 
L.L.R. =line of least resistance in feet, 
r = radius of the crater in feet. 

k =a constant depending on the nature of the soil. It 
may be given the following values : 

For very light earth 0.8 

common earth 1 . 

hard sand 1.25 

earth and stones 1 . 45 

clay i . 55 

inferior brickwork 1 . 65 

rock and good brickwork 2 . 25 

best brickwork and masonry 2 . 50 

Arrangement of Charges. 

The charge maybe applied either concentrated in one mass, 
or extended in a long line. In case the object to be demolished 
is a piece of rectangular shape and small in dimensions, like a 
beam, or round like a tree or pile or mast, a modification of the 
latter form of charge may be used by encircling the beam or 
tree with the extended charge. A piece of rubber hose is a 
convenient means of holding the explosive. 

In case a piece of hose is not available, an encircling charge 
may readily be arranged by distributing the explosive on a 
piece of canvas, or other strong cloth of suitable length and 
width, and the cloth rolled over so as to form a long cylinder; 
this should be overwrapped spirally with strong twine and 
lashed snugly about the object to be destroyed. 

In all cases, all parts of the charge should be brought into 
the closest possible touch with each other, and the whole charge 
with the surface of the object to be demolished. 

For breaching or cutting through a plane surface of any 
kind, the charge may be attached to a plank, the parts being 
lashed tightly to the plank and in close contact with each other. 



The whole plank may then be applied to the surface of the 
object to be demolished. 

Such objects as trees and wooden beams may be cut conve- 
niently by charges placed in auger-holes bored into them. The 
auger sould be about two inches across its bit. The hole should 
be bored along a diameter of the tree, or perpendicular to the 
axis of the beam. If one hole will contain the charge, only one 
should be bored; if one hole is not sufficient, others should be 
bored, meeting at the center, or parallel to the first. The 
centers of charges should be at middle of the tree or beam in 
each hole. 


Name of Explosive. 

Order of 

Explosive gelatin. 

106 17 

Nitroglycerine. . . . 

100 00 


83 12 

Dynamite No. 1. . 

81 31 


61 71 

Melinite and. other 

picric-acid explosives 

50 82 

Black gunpowder i 

n small grains 

28 13 

A stick of dynamite weighs about 6.73 ozs. (190 grms.). 
A disk of guncotton weighs about 10.63 oz. (300 grms.). 
A stick of explosive gelatin weighs about 1.42 oz. (40 grms.). 













10 2" ai 10 5060 70 SO 90 10 


Dynamic energy as represented by the average of Trauzl lead block, small 
lead block, and rate of detonation tests. 

Static energy as represented by the average of ballistic pendulum and 
pressure gauge tests. 





B= length of breach to be made in feet. 
T= thickness of object to which charge is applied in feet. 
t = thickness in inches of iron plate. 

These charges are for untamped conditions; if tamped, they may be 
reduced one-half. 

When prepared in great haste in the presence of the enemy, increase the 
charges one-half. 




Hard-wood trees round. . . . 

5T 3 

Also piles, masts, etc., encircling 


Hard- wood beam, rectangular 

3BT 2 

B= longer side of cross-section, en- 

circling charge. 

Hard-wood stockade or bar- 

3BT 2 

B= length of breach; T= maximum 


thickness of stockade; single 


Earth and wood stockade or 

4 per 

This is for breastworks 2 to 3 feet 



thick, made of earth rammed be- 

Iron-rail stockade or barrier. . 

7 per 

tween planks or railway sleepers. 
This made of iron rails touching each 


other, placed in ground on end. 

Hard- wood tree, round. ..... 

f T 2 

T= smallest diameter of tree; auger- 

(Soft-wood objects require 

hole charge. Hole bored radially, 

only one-half of the charge 

so that center of charge shall be at 

required by the same object 

center of the tree. 

in hardwood.) 

Brick and masonry revet- 

| BT 2 

Charge placed behind revetment 


against its back surface; for scarp- 

walls of forts and surfaces of 


Heavy gates 

50 Ibs. 

Gates of forts, armories, etc. 

Iron plates, wrought or steel. 

t= thickness in inches. Laminated 

plates same as solid. 

Detached masonry or brick 

BT 2 

If over 2 feet thick. 

wall, over 2 feet thick. 

Detached masonry or brick 

2 per 

Charge calculated by last formula 

wall less than 2 feet thick. 


would be too heavy, and simply 

blow a hole through the wall. 

Masonry piers of bridges. . . . 

$ BT 2 

Placed against the pier in close con 


Masonry arches of bridges. . . 

| BT 2 

Placed along the crown of haunches. 

Field- or siege-guns or R. F. 

li Ibs. 

Placed on the chase near the muzzle. 


4 Ibs. 

In bore tamped from the breech and 

muzzle with sand or earth. 

Steel rails 


Lashed tightly to the web of the rail. 

Inflammable buildings or ma- 
terials may be ignited by 

1 disk of 
dry gun- 

Disk should be simply ignited, not 


Explosive gelatin would require charges 20 per cent less than those above. 
Gunpowder would require charges 4 times greater than those above. 




The following simple experiments illustrate the chemical principles 

set forth in Principles of Chemistry, Part I: 



To illustrate the formation of a metallic oxide, and the influence of 
temperature in the action of chemical affinity (paragraphs 31 and 116). 

Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Blowpipe. 

2. Small piece of charcoal, about three inches long. 

3. Gas- or lamp-flame. 

4. Forceps. 

5. Small piece of iron. 

6. Small piece of copper. 

7. Small piece of zinc. 

8. Small quantity of mercury. 

Preparation: Make a small depression near one end of the charcoal. 
Scrape clean the surface of charcoal in this depression and the sur- 
face adjacent thereto before using the blowpipe. 


(a) Take a small piece of iron, brighten it with a file or emery-paper, 
place it in the depression in the charcoal and bring to bear on 
it the outer point of the blowpipe-flame. The bright surface 
of the iron becomes dull, due to the combination of the oxygen 
of the air with the iron under the influence of the heat of the 
flame, and the formation thereon of a film of black iron oxide. 

(&) Repeat (a), using a piece of copper; its oxide is also black. 

(c) Repeat (a), using a piece of zinc; note the coating of zinc oxide 



on the surface of the charcoal near the depression, which is 
yellow when hot and white when cold. 

(rf) Repeat (a), using a small globule of metallic mercury; note the 
coating of mercury oxide on the charcoal, which is red. 


To illustrate the formation of metallic hydroxides (paragraphs 58 
to 63). 1 

Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Small piece of metallic sodium. 

2. A porcelain surface. 

3. Distilled water. 

4. A small glass tube for use as a dropper. 

5. A small quantity of fat (unslaked) lime. 

6. A porcelain bowl. 

7. Solution of zinc chloride. 

8. Solution of potassium hydroxide. 

9. Two small beakers. 


(a) The formation of the hydroxides of the alkaline metals 
(K, Na, Li, Cs, Rb). Cut a thin slice of metallic sodium 
and place it on the porcelain surface. Add water carefully 
with a dropper. Hydrogen is liberated from the water. A 
slight explosion may occur. A crusty grayish residue of 
sodium hydroxide is left on the porcelain surface. The re- 
action is as follows: 

Na+H 2 = NaHO+H. 

(6) The formation of the hydroxides of the alkaline-earth metals 
(Ca, Ba, Sr, Mg). Place a piece of fat (unslaked) lime, about 
the size of a bean, in the porcelain bowl. Add water until 
the lime is half covered. The process of "slaking" will take 
place, the fat lime swelling and crumbling up and finally 
reducing to a fatty, pasty mass with evolution of considerable 
heat. The resultant pasty mass is calcium hydroxide. The 
reaction is as follows: 

CaO+H 2 = Ca(HO) 2 . 

Fat-lime Water 
1 See also Experiments Nos. 22, 23, and 24. 


(c) The formation of the hydroxides of metals other than the alka- 
line and alkaline-earth metals. Take a small quantity of the so- 
lution of potassium hydroxide in one of the beakers, and a small 
quantity of the solution of zinc chloride in the other beaker. 
Pour one solution into the other. The mixed solution now 
has a milky-white opaque appearance. This is caused by 
the production of the insoluble zinc hydroxide. This reaction 
also illustrates the principle of insolubility (paragraph 116). 
The reaction is written as follows: 

ZnCl 2 + 2KHO = 2KC1 + Zn(HO) 2 . 

Solution Solution of Solution of Solid precipitate 

of zinc potassium potassium of zinc 

chloride hydroxide chloride hydroxide 


To illustrate the formation of non-metallic oxides (paragraph 31). 

Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Small quantity of calcium carbonate (marble or chalk). 

2. Small quantity of hydrochloric acid. 

3. Small quantity of roll sulphur. 

4. Porcelain dish. 

5. Small quantity of alcohol. 

6. Small glass funnel. 

7. Small piece of filter-paper, colored blue by having been dipped 

in solution of indigo. 

8. Nitric acid. 

9. Small piece of tin. 

10. About 3 feet of rubber tubing to fit funnel above. 


(a) Carbon dioxide. Drop a small quantity of hydrochloric acid 
on the calcium carbonate. Effervescence will occur due to 
the escaping carbon dioxide. A piece of moistened blue litmus 
held in the escaping gas will be turned red, this being a test 
of the acidity of the escaping gas. A lighted match held in 
the gas is extinguished, exhibiting the power of carbon dioxide 
to extinguish flame. If the escaping gas is collected undeT 
the glass funnel, the rubber tube be attached to the neck of 
the funnel, and the gas conducted into some clear lime-water, 
the latter will become turbid, due to the formation of the 


precipitate of insoluble calcium carbonate. The reactions are 
as follows : 

1. CaCO,+2HCl=CaCl 2 + 


2. C0 2 + Ca(HO) 2 =CaC0 3 + H 2 O. 


(6) Sulphur dioxide. Take a piece of roll sulphur about the size 
of a bean, place it in the porcelain dish, pour a little alcohol 
in the dish, and ignite the latter. The sulphur will soon be 
ignited by the burning alcohol, and will burn with a blue 
flame, giving off an exceedingly pungent odor, due to the gas, 
sulphur dioxide, which has been formed. This gas has the 
property of extinguishing flame, and gives the acid test with 
moistened blue litmus. It also has the property of bleaching, 
as may be illustrated by moistening the blue filter-paper and 
placing it in the neck of the glass funnel while the latter is 
held over the burning sulphur. The reaction is as follows : 

S+O 2 (oxygen of the air) =S0 2 . 

(c) Nitrogen dioxide. Take a small piece of tin, about A " square, 
place it in the porcelain dish and pour on it some nitric acid. 
Nitrogen tetroxide (N 2 O 4 ) will be evolved as a gas; if the 
reaction does not readily take place, dilute the acid with 
water. The gas, in coming "off, gives rise to reddish fumes. 
The odor is very pungent. The reaction is as follows: 


To illustrate the direct combination of an acid oxide and a basic 
oxide or basic hydroxide (paragraph 32). 

Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Small piece of lime. 

2. Shallow porcelain dish. 

3. Distilled water. 

4. Filter-paper. 

5. Small glass funnel. 

6. Short piece of rubber tubing. 

7. Small beaker. 

8. Woulfe bottle. 

9. Calcium carbonate (marble, chalk). 
10. Hydrochloric acid. 



(a) Acid oxide and basic oxide. Water for this purpose may be 
considered an acid oxide, being the combination of a non- 
metal with oxygen, and lime the basic oxide. Place a small 
quantity of lime in the porcelain dish. Cover it half with 
distilled water. The phenomenon of "slaking" described in 
(6), Experiment No. 2, will take place. The experiment and 
reaction are in all respects the same as in that experiment. 

(6) Acid oxide and basic hydroxide. Take carbon dioxide as the 
acid dioxide, and calcium hydroxide as the basic hydroxide. 
Generate the carbon dioxide as follows: Place a small quan- 
tity in the Woulfe bottle. Attach the rubber tubing to one 
neck. Pour hydrochloric acid in through the other neck, 
then close the latter with a rubber stopper. Carbon- dioxide gas 
will be generated in the bottle and pass out through the rubber 
tubing. Conduct this into a beaker filled with lime-water 
(water containing calcium hydroxide slaked ^me in solu- 
tion). The clear lime-water will become turbid as soon as 
the carbon dioxide enters, due to the formation of insoluble 
calcium carbonate. The reaction is 

Ca (H0) 2 + CO 2 = H 2 O + CaC0 3 . 


To illustrate the formation of an oxyacid (paragraph 45). 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Apparatus and materials required for (6), Experiment 3. 

2. Apparatus and materials required for (6), Experiment 4. 

3. Glass funnel. 

4. Iron-ring support for funnel. 

5. Rubber tubing attached to neck of funnel. 

6. Beaker. 

7. Distilled water. 


(a) Generate SO 2 as in (6), Experiment No. 3. Support funnel with 
tubing attached over burning sulphur. Conduct SO 2 through 
tubing into distilled water in beaker. The water and S0 2 
unite, forming sulphurous acid. The reaction is 

S0 2 + H 2 0=S0 3 H 2 . 


(6) Generate C0 2 as in (6), Experiment No. 4. Conduct through 
tubing into distilled water. A certain quantity of C0 2 will 
remain in the water, this quantity depending on the pressure. 
The resulting liquid is carbonated water. It is sometimes 
called carbonic acid. 


To illustrate the formation of a hydracid (paragraph 50). 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Solution of common salt in a beaker. 

2. Sulphuric acid. 

Add sulphuric acid to solution of common salt. Hydrochloric acid 
will escape as a gas. The reaction is 

2NaCl + H 2 S0 4 = N a 2 S0 4 + 2HC1. 


To illustrate the property of an acid to exchange its hydrogen for a 
metal (paragraph 52) . 

Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Metallic zinc. 

2. Silver nitrate solution. 

3. Hydrochloric acid. 

4. Beaker. 


(a) Place a small quantity of HC1 in the beaker. Drop in smak 
pieces of zinc until effervescence ceases. The HC1 will have 
been changed to ZnCl. The gas escaping is hydrogen (H). 
The reaction is 

=ZnCl 2 + H 2 . 

(6) Place a small quantity of HC1 in the beaker. Add silver nitrate. 
The clear HC1 will turn white with insoluble silver chloride 
formed. The liquid remaining is nitric acid. The reaction is 

AgN0 3 + HC1 = HNO 3 + AgCl. 

The silver has displaced the hydrogen in the acid, and the 
hydrogen has been united with N0 3 , forming nitric acid. 



To illustrate the formation of an ous acid (paragraph 47). 
Same as (a), Experiment No. 5. 


To illustrate the formation of an ic acid (paragraph 47). 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Potassium chlorate. 

2. Manganese dioxide. 

3. Ignition-tube. 

4. Rubber tube. 

5. Beaker. 

6. Sulphurous acid from Experiment No. 8. 


Mix the KClOa and the MnO 2 and place in ignition-tube. Attach 
rubber tube to side neck of tube. Place cork lightly in top 
of tube. Apply heat gently. Oxygen will be generated and 
pass out through rubber tube. Test for O by holding a match 
that has been lighted and extinguished, but still has a spark. 
The latter will glow brightly and reignite the match in the O. 
Conduct this oxygen into sulphurous acid made as in Experi- 
ment No. 8. The oxygen will combine and produce HgSC^. 
The reaction is 

0+H 2 SO 3 =H 2 S0 4 (sulphuric acid). 


To illustrate the formation of an ite salt (paragraph 48). 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Material and apparatus for making S0 2 (a, Experiment No. 5). 1 

2. Sodium carbonate in solution in water. 

1 Instead of generating SO 2 by burning sulphur, it may be obtained from 
sulphuric acid as follows: Arrange a Woulfe bottle with rubber tube on one 
neck. Place some copper filings on the bottom of the bottle. Add H 2 SO 4 
through the other neck until the filings are well covered. Close the latter 
neck of the bottle with a rubber cork. Heat gradually and carefully. Bubbles 
of SO a will soon rise and pass out through the rubber tube. The reaction is 

Cu + 2H 2 SO 4 - CuSO 4 + 2H 2 O + SO ? . 



(a) Place a small quantity of the solution of sodium carbonate in a 
small beaker. Pass the gas S0 a into the solution of sodium 
carbonate. Sodium sulphite will be formed. The reaction is 

Na 2 CO,+H 2 +2S0 2 =2NaHSO 3 + CO.. 

Acid sodium 

(6) If more Na 2 CO s be added to the solution of acid sodium sulphite, 
the normal sodium sulphite will be formed. The reaction is 

2NaHSO 3 + Na 2 C0 3 =2Na 2 SO 3 + H 2 O + CO 2 . 

Normal sodium 

(c) If the normal sodium-sulphite solution be mixed with a solution 

of a non-alkali metallic salt, the insoluble sulphite of the latter 
metal will be precipitated. The reaction is 

Na 2 S0 3 + 2AgNO 3 = 2NaN0 3 + Ag 2 SO 3 . 

(d) Silver sulphite may be formed directly by passing the gas S0> 

into a solution of silver nitrate, the reaction is 

=Ag 2 S0 3 + 2 


To illustrate the formation of an ate salt (paragraph 49). 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Small quantity of H 2 SO 4 in a test-tube. 

2. Zinc filings. 

3. Beaker containing a little alcohol. 


Drop zinc filings into the test-tube containing H 2 S0 4 until bubbles 
cease to rise (heat gently if necessary). The H 2 SO 4 has been 
changed to ZnSO 4 . The bubbles escaping are hydrogen. 
The reaction is 

Since the sulphate of zinc is insoluble in alcohol, it will be 
precipitated as a solid if poured into the beaker containing 



To illustrate a synthetical reaction (paragraph 27). 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Piece of charcoal. 

2. Piece of sulphur. 


(a) Hold charcoal in flame of lamp or gas. It will glow and waste 
away, illustrating "combustion." The carbon of which char- 
coal is constituted combines with the oxygen of the air, 
forming C0 2 . The reaction is 

C + O 2 + heat=CO 2 . 

(6) Same as (b), Experiment No. 3. 

(c) Same as (a), (6), (c), and (d} } Experiment No. 1. 


To illustrate an analytical reaction (paragraph 27). 

Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Small quantity of CaCO 3 . 

2. Ignition-tube with rubber tubing attached to side neck. 

3. Beaker containing lime-water. 


Pulverize CaCO 3 , and fill the ignition-tube nearly half-full. Close 
top of tube. Heat gradually until gas passes out through 
rubber tube. This is CO 2 . If this gas be passed into the 
lime-water t the latter will become turbid from the reforma- 
tion of the insoluble CaCO 3 . The reactions are 

1. CaCO 3 + heat =CaO + C0 2 . 

2. C0 2 + Ca(HOX=CaC0 3 + H 2 O. 

All nitrates and all carbonates and sulphates, except those 
of the alkalies, are decomposed by heat, illustrating analytical 



To illustrate a metathetical reaction (paragraph 27). 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Solution of silver nitrate. 

2. Dropper. 

3. Solution of common salt in a test-tube. 

4. Zinc filings in a test-tube. 

5. Hydrochloric acid. 


(a) Drop HC1 on the zinc filings. The H is displaced, passing off 
as a gas and leaving ZnCl 2 . The reaction is 

ZnCl 2 + H 2 . 

(6) Drop AgN0 3 into the solution of common salt. The solution 
will be filled with the white curdy precipitate of silver chloride 
(principle of insolubility). The reaction is 

Nad + AgNO 3 = AgCl + NaNO 3 . 


To illustrate the influence of temperature on the action of chemical 

See Experiments Nos. 1 and 12. 


To illustrate the influence of the liquid state on the action of chemical 
affinity (paragraph 116). 

Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Solid iron sulphate. 

2. Solid barium chloride in a porcelain dish. 

3. Solution of iron sulphate in a test-tube. 

4. Solution of barium chloride. 


Mix the solids in the porcelain dish. 'There will be no chemical 
action, however finely the substances be pulverized and 
mixed. Mix the solutions of the same substances by dropping 
a little of the barium chloride in the test-tube containing iron 


sulphate. Instantly a reaction takes place, barium sulphate 
being formed as a white precipitate (principle of insolubility). 
The reaction is 

FeSO 4 + BaCl = BaSO 4 + FeCl 2 . 


To illustrate the influence of insolubility in producing reaction (para- 
graph 116). 

(a) See last part of last experiment; also (6), Experiment No. 14. 
(6) Apparatus and Materials: 

1. .Woulfe bottle with rubber tube attached to side neck. 

2. Small quantity of iron sulphide, FeS. 1 

3. H 2 S0 4 . (dilute). 

4. Solution of lead nitrate in a test-tube. 

5. Bottle of distilled water. 


Place a small quantity of powdered FeS in Woulfe bottle. Add 
dilute H 2 SO 4 . Heat gently. H 2 S ; sulphydric acid, is formed 
and passes off as a gas through rubber tube. Collect in bottle 
of distilled water until water will absorb no more ; this is sul- 
phydric-acid solution. Drop a little of the sulphydric in the 
lead nitrate; instantly the black insoluble lead sulphide is 
formed as a black precipitate. The reaction is 

H 2 S (solution) + Pb(N0 3 ) 2 = PbS + 2HN0 3 . 


To illustrate the influence of volatility in producing reactions (para- 
graph 116). 

Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Powdered CaC0 3 . 

2. Powdered NH 4 C1. 

3. A large test-tube. 


Mix one part of CaC0 3 with two parts of NH 4 C1. Place mixture 
in the test-tube. Heat gently. Since the substances contain 
between them the constituents of the volatile salt, ammonium 

1 FeS may be produced by mixing and heating together iron filings and 
powdered sulphur in a strong porcelain or earthen dish or in a crucible. 


carbonate, we find the principle of volatility operating and 
this salt formed and passes off as a gas ; it may be condensed 
and collected as a solid by conducting it into a cooled recep- 
tacle. The reaction is 

CaCO 3 + 2NH 4 Cl + heat = (NH 4 ) 2 CO 3 + CaCl 2 . 


To illustrate the influence of the gaseous envelope (paragraph 116). 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Iron filings. 

2. Small still or other apparatus for generating steam. 

3. Rubber tube attached to still. 

4. Glass tube attached to other end of rubber tube. 

5. Woulfe bottle. 

(a) Set up the still with some water in it over source of heat. Place 
some iron filings in the glass tube, and connect latter with 
rubber tube. The bright iron filings will become oxidized to 
Fe 3 4 , the black oxide of iron, and hydrogen gas will pass off 
out of the free end of the glass tube. That is, iron is oxidized 
in an atmosphere of water-vapor. 

(6) Substitute for the still the Woulfe bottle, with some HC1 in the 
bottle. Drop in some zinc filings, generating H. Leave the 
Fe 3 4 in the glass tube. The H will now pass out through 
the rubber tube over the Fe 3 O 4 in the glass tube. Apply heat 
under the glass tube. 1 The H will combine with the of the 
Fe 3 O 4 , passing off as H 2 vapor, leaving Fe behind, thus 
reversing the reaction in (a). 


To illustrate catalytic action; that is, when a reaction appears to 
take place more readily, due simply to the presence of some substance, 
the latter undergoing no apparent change. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. KC1O 3 . 

2. Mn0 2 . 

3. Woulfe bottle with rubber tube attached. 

(a) Place some KC10 3 in Woulfe bottle and apply heat. Note the 
degree of heat required to decompose the KC10 3 . 

1 Care must be taken to allow the H to drive off all the O in flask and tube 
before applying heat, otherwise there may be an explosion 


(6) Place a mixture of KC1O 3 and about one-fifth its weight of 
Mn0 2 in same bottle and apply heat. Note how much more 
readily the O passes off at a comparatively low temperature. 
The reaction is 

KC1O 3 + MnO 2 4- heat = KC1 + Mn0 2 + 3 . 

This is the usual method of producing oxygen gas. Test O 
with match having a spark; its glow will be greatly increased 
when is coming off. 


To illustrate the principle of "disposing affinity"; that is, a chemical 
reaction that is due to the presence of a third substance and the latter 
is decomposed. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Nad. 

2. H 2 S0 4 . 

3. Mn0 2 . 

4. Woulfe bottle with rubber tube attached. 

Place a mixture of NaCl and Mn0 2 in the Woulfe bottle and add 
H 2 SO 4 . Chlorine gas is given off, passing out through the 
rubber tube. If the experiment is tried without MnO 2 , HC1 is 
produced instead of Cl. This is the usual method of producing 
chlorine gas. The reaction is 

2NaCl +MnO a +2H,30 4 =Na 2 SO 4 +MnSO 4 +2H 2 +C1 2 . 
If the MnO 2 is not present, the reaction is 

NaCl + H 2 SO 4 -HC1 + NaHSO c 

To produce the alkalies (paragraph 58). * 

(a) Hydroxide of Potassium. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Solution of potassium carbonate. 

2. Clear filtered solution of slaked lime. 

3. Glass funnel. 

4. Small beaker. 

5. Filter-papers. 

6. Test-tube. 

1 See also Experiment No. 2. 



Place a small quantity of the solution of potassium carbonate in a 
test-tube. Bring it to a boil over the flame. Add small 
quantity of lime-water. Calcium carbonate is precipitated as 
a white finely divided precipitate. Arrange a glass funnel 
and filter-paper over small beaker. Pour the clouded liquid 
on the filter-paper. The clear liquid that passes through is 
a solution of potassium hydroxide. It may be obtained in the 
i solid form by evaporation. 

(6) Hydroxide of Sodium. 

Hydroxide of sodium is produced in the same manner, using sodium 
carbonate instead of potassium carbonate. 

(c) Hydroxide of Ammonium. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Ammonia-gas, manufactured as explained in Experiment No. 29. 

2. Distilled water. 


Pass the ammonia-gas through a rubber tube into the distilled 
water. The water will absorb the gas, and the resulting liquid 
is ammonium hydroxide (ammonia- water). The reaction is 

NH 3 (ammonia) +H 2 O=NH 4 HO. 
This substance exists only in the state of solution. 

To produce the alkaline earths (paragraph 62). 1 

(a) Calcium Hydroxide. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Small portion of unslaked lime. 

2. Distilled water. 

3. Small porcelain bowl. 


Place lime in the bowl and about half cover it with water. The 
process of slaking will proceed, the fat lime swelling, crum- 
bling, and forming a white paste, which is the hydroxide oi 
calcium. The reaction is 

CaO+H 2 O=Ca(HO) 2 . 

1 See also Experiment No. 2. 


If sufficient water be added to the hydroxide, it will be dis- 
solved therein, forming the solution of calcium hydroxide or 

(6) Barium Hydroxide. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Solution of barium nitrate. 

2. Solution of sodium hydroxide. 

3. Arrangements for filtering. 

Add the barium nitrate to the sodium hydroxide, and filter the result- 
ing turbid liquid. The filtrate is a solution of barium hydrox- 
ide; the solid may be collected by evaporation. 

To produce the hydroxides of other metals (paragraph 63). 1 

(a) Zinc Hydroxide. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Solution of sodium hydroxide. 

2. Solution of zinc chloride. 

3. Test-tube. 

4 Filtering arrangements. 

Place a small portion of sodium hydroxide in test-tube and add a 
small quantity of zinc chloride. Zinc hydroxide will be 
formed as a white gelatinous precipitate. The reaction is 

2NaHO + ZnCl 2 =2NaCl + Zn(HO) 2 . 

(b) Iron Hydroxide. 

Method of procedure same as just explained, substituting iron chloride 
for zinc chloride. Iron hydroxide forms a white precipitate.* 

To produce oxygen. 3 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Potassium chlorate. 

2. Manganese dioxide. 

3. Test-tube with rubber tube attached. 

Heat a mixture of potassium chlorate with about one-fourth, by 
weight, of manganese dioxide in an ordinary test-tube. Oxygen 

1 See also Experiment No. 2. 

3 Changing to green from the production of ferroso-ferric oxide and ulti- 
mately brown by passing to the ferric hydroxide. 
3 See also Experiment No. 20. 


will be given off. Test for oxygen with a match with a spark at 
end. It will glow and ignite in the atmosphere of oxygen 
immediately above the test-tube. The reaction is 

2KC1O 3 + MnO 2 + heat = 2KC1 + 6 + Mn0 2 . 

To produce hydrogen. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Metallic zinc filings. 

2. Hyrochloric acid. 

3. Shallow porcelain dish. 


To a small quantity of zinc filings placed on a porcelain dish add 
hydrochloric acid. Hydrogen is evolved rapidly as a gas. It 
will burn or explode on the application of a lighted match. 
The reaction is 

Zn + 2HCl=ZnCl 2 + H 2 . 

To produce chlorine. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Manganese dioxide. 

2. Hydrochloric acid. 

3. Test-tube. 

Procedure : 

Add hydrochloric acid to small quantity of manganese dioxide 
placed in test-tube. Chlorine is given off as a greenish-yellow 
gas having a very pungent odor. It has an acid action on 
blue litmus paper. It has bleaching properties, and will bleach 
filter-paper that has been stained in indigo solution. The 
reaction is * 

Mn0 2 + 4HC1 =MnCl 2 +2H 2 + C1 2 . 


To produce carbonic-acid gas (carbon dioxide). 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Calcium carbonate. 

2. Hydrochloric acid. 

3. Small beaker. 



Add hydrochloric acid to a small quantity of powdered calcium car- 
bonate in a small beaker. Carbon dioxide will be given off 
rapidly as a gas. The reaction is 

CaCO 3 + 2HC1= CaCL + H.O + CO.. 

The gas may be detected by its taste and smell. Flame of 
lighted match introduced in the beaker is extinguished. Gas 
has acid action on blue litmus paper. 

To produce ammonia-gas. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Powdered ammonium chloride. 

2. Powdered unslaked lime. 

3. Small porcelain dish. 


Intimately mix small quantity of the two substances in the porcelain 
dish and apply heat. The odor of ammonia-gas (NH 3 ) is soon 
detected. Moistened red litmus paper is turned blue if held 
in this gas, showing its alkaline action. The reaction is 

To produce hydrogen sulphide. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Iron filings. 

2. Roll sulphur. 

3. Sulphuric acid. 

4. Porcelain dish. 


Mix a small quantity of iron filings with powdered roll sulphur in 
a porcelain dish and heat the same. Chemical combination 
takes place between the iron and the sulphur, forming iron 
sulphide (FeS). Add to this sulphuric acid, and gas is 
evolved which is hydrogen sulphide. It may be detected 
by its characteristic odor, which is that of decomposing 
flesh. The reaction is 

FeS + H 2 S0 4 = FeS0 4 + H 2 S. 


To produce nitric acid. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. A few crystals of potassium nitrate. 

2. Small quantity of sulphuric acid. 

3. Test-tube. 

Place a few crystals of potassium nitrate in the test-tube. On 
addition of sulphuric acid, strong odor of nitric-acid vapor 
(HNO 3 ) will be detected. It gives acid reaction to blue 
litmus paper. The reaction is 

KNO 3 + H 2 SO 4 = KHSO 4 + HNO 3 . 


To produce hydrochloric acid. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Sodium -chloride solution. 

2. Sulphuric acid. 

3. Test-tube. 


Place a small quantity of sodium chloride in a test-tube. On addi- 
tion of sulphuric acid, the vapor of hydrochloric acid will be 
given off (HC1), which may be detected by its strong pungent 
odor. Gives acid reaction to litmus paper. The reaction is 

NaCl + H 2 S0 4 = NaHS0 4 + HC1. 


To test any solution for a soluble chloride. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. A solution containing an unknown soluble chloride. 

2. Small quantity of silver nitrate. 

3. Test-tube. 

Place a small quantity of the supposed chloride solution in the test- 
tube ; add a drop of silver nitrate : if there be a chloride present 
in the solution, the insoluble silver chloride will be formed 
as a white curdy precipitate which turns dark in the sun- 
light, and is soluble in ammonia-water. 



To test a solution for the presence of a soluble sulphate. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. A solution containing an unknown soluble sulphate. 

2. A solution of barium chloride. 

Place in the test-tube a small quantity of the solution supposed to 
contain the sulphate; add a few drops of barium chloride 
solution: if a sulphate be present, the barium sulphate will 
be formed as a white finely divided heavy precipitate. 


To test a solution for the presence of a soluble hydroxide. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. A solution containing an unknown hydroxide (hydroxides of the 

alkaline earths are soluble). 

2. Small portion of zinc chloride in solution. 

3. Test-tube. 

Place in the test-tube a small quantity of the supposed hydroxide 
solution; add a small quantity of zinc chloride: if an hy 
droxide is present in the solution, zinc hydroxide will be 
formed as a white precipitate. 


To test a solution for the presence of a soluble carbonate. 
The carbonates of the alkalies are soluble. 
Material and Apparatus: 

1. A solution containing a soluble carbonate. 

2. Calcium chloride. 

3. Test-tube. 

Place a small quantity of the supposed soluble carbonate in test-tube, 
add a small quantity of calcium chloride. Insoluble calcium 
carbonate will be formed as a white precipitate. 


To test a solution for the presence of a soluble calcium salt. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Small quantity of a solution containing the soluble calcium salt. 

2. Small quantity of solution of ammonium carbonate. 

3. Test-tube. 



Place a small quantity of the supposed soluble calcium salt in test- 
tube ; add small quantity of ammonium carbonate in solution. 
Calcium carbonate will be produced as a white precipitate. 


To test a solution for the presence of a soluble nitrate. 
All nitrates are soluble. 

Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Small quantity of solution of any nitrate. 

2. Small quantity of solution of ferrous sulphate. 

3. Small quantity of concentrated sulphuric acid. 

4. Test-tube. 

5. Copper filings. 


(a) Place a small quantity of the acid in the, tube. Mix a small 
quantity of the ferrous sulphate and the supposed nitrate solu- 
tion in a test-tube: add, carefully, a few drops of the latter, 
allowing it to run down the side of the tube: if a nitrate is 
present, a reddish-brown or purple layer will be formed at the 
junction of the sulphuric acid and the other liquid. 
(6) Introduce, in test-tube containing a supposed nitrate solution, 
a few copper filings, and add a few drops^of concentrated sul- 
phuric acid; apply heat carefully until solution boils freely: 
dark reddish-brown pungent fumes of nitrogen peroxide (NO 2 ) 
will be evolved if a nitrate is present. 


Test for solution containing a soluble iron salt. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. A solution containing a soluble iron salt. 

2. A solution of ammonium sulphide. 

3. Test-tube. 


Place in the test-tube a small quantity of the supposed solution of 
iron salt; add a small quantity of the ammonium sulphide: 
if iron be present, the insoluble ferrous sulphide will be 
precipitated, first having a bluish color, which turns quickly 
to black. 



To make an acetone colloid. 
Apparatus and Materials: 

1. Small quantity of acetone. 

2. Small quantity of guncotton (cotton that has been dipped and 

allowed to steep for a few minutes in a mixture of nitric 
and sulphuric acid and afterwards cleansed by thorough 
washing in water). 1 

3. Small beaker. 

4. Small porcelain dish. 


Dissolve a piece of the guncotton about the size of a lima bean 
in about 55 c.c. of pure acetone; dissolve in the beaker; 
decant the solution into the shallow porcelain dish; evap- 
orate to dryness over a water bath, being careful to evaporate 
only to dryness and to avoid burning or igniting. A thin film 
of transparent colloid will be left on the porcelain dish. Note 
the difference in rate of burning by igniting first a small 
piece of raw nitrocellulose and then a piece of the dry 


To make an ether-alcohol colloid. 
Apparatus and Materials: , 

1. Small quantity of nitrocellulose, containing about 12.5 per cent 

of N. 1 

2. Small quantity of ether and alcohol, in the proportion of 60 

grams of ether to 20 grams of alcohol. 

3. Small beaker. 

4. Small porcelain dish. 

Procedure : 

Dissolve a piece of the nitrocellulose about the size of a lima bean 
in a portion of the ether-alcohol solution placed in the beaker. 
Allow the nitrocellulose to become thoroughly dissolved. De- 
cant the solution to shallow porcelain dish and evaporate 
carefully to dryness over a water-bath, avoiding igniting. A 
thin film of colloid is left on the dish. Compare the rate of 
burning of the colloid with that of unchanged nitrocellulose. 

1 See p. 140 et seq. 





Solution of sodium hydroxide 

Solution of potassium hydroxide 

Solution of calcium chloride 

Solution of barium chloride 

Solution of copper sulphate 

Solution of silver nitrate 

Solution of ammonium sulphide 

Hydrochloric acid 

Nitric acid 

Commercial sulphuric acid 

Concentrated sulphuric acid 

Pure ether 

Pure alcohol 

Pure acetone 

A solution of ammonium carbonate 

and crystals 
A solution of ammonium chloride 

and crystals 
Calcium carbonate 
Calcium oxide (fat lime) 
Metallic iron, filings and turnings 
Metallic copper, turnings 
Metallic zinc, strips 
Metallic mercury 
Metallic sodium 
Zinc chloride, solution 
Roll sulphur 
Solution of indigo 
Metallic tin 
Sodium chloride 
Manganese dioxide 
Iron sulphate 
Barium chloride 
Solution of lead nitrate 
Iron sulphide 
Potassium chlorate 
Potassium carbonate 
Sodium carbonate 

Barium nitrate, solution 

Sodium nitrate, solution 

Iron chloride 

Potassium nitrate 

Silver nitrate 

Ammonium sulphide 


A piece of charcoal about 3" long 

and 1" square cross-section 
Platinum foil l$"xl" 
Platinum wire 3" long 
1 test-tube rack 
1 test-tube cleaner 

test-tube stand 
1 glass funnel 

shallow porcelain dish 

porcelain crucible 

porcelain mortar and pestle 

Woulfe bottle 
6 test-tubes, assorted 
3 beakers, assorted 

1 iron tripod 

2 watch-crystals 
1 blowpipe 

1 pair of tongs 

1 pair of forceps 

1 spatula 

1 glass dropper 

1 glass rod 

1 test-tube holder 

1 asbestos pad 

1 water-bottle for distilled water 


Litmus papers 

Source of heat : gas or lamp 

Rubber tubing 

Iron ring-support 


Small still 



Throw all solid waste materials in the earthen crocks pro- 
vided at each desk, and not in the sinks. 

In rinsing apparatus containing acids, allow the water to 
run for a moment to dilute the acids and thereby protect the 

When through with a source of heat, extinguish it. 

Always keep the reagent-bottles in their proper places, with 
labels to the front. 

In using a liquid reagent, grasp the stopper first between 
the little finger and palm of the hand, then grasp the bottle 
between the thumb and other fingers of the same hand, 
the label of the bottle being against the palm of the hand. 
Pour out slowly and carefully the smallest amount of reagent 
possible for the reaction and, at the last, touch the lip of the 
bottle against the edge of the vessel, so that the last drop will 
not run down the sides of the bottle. Replace the stopper and 
put back the bottle at once. Neither bottle nor stopper should 
ever be put on the table. 

Dry reagents and the more unusual wet reagents should be 
kept on a separate stand for general use. 

All glass and porcelain articles should be cleansed imme- 
diately after using, and in no case left or put away dirty. 

In performing experiments which give rise to pungent or 
offensive fumes, such as N0 2 , SH 2 , etc., go to the hood and 
perform the experiment there. 

On leaving the laboratory, be careful to label distinctly any 
solution or substance which is to be further examined or used, 
and mark the slip with the word " preserve " and your name. 

Leave the desk in order so that the attendant may dust it 
and clean it. 

If a solution has to be put aside even for a few minutes, 
label it over your initials. 

Laboratory notes may be entered either in rough form on 


a pad to be entered later in the note-book, or directly in the 
note-book. The latter is the better method. Time is too 
valuable to spend it in copying. 

Lecture -notes in abbreviated form must, of course, first be 
taken down in rough and then expanded into the note-book, 
but a distinction should be drawn between mere copying and 
expansion of abbreviated notes. 

When a glass stopper sticks tightly, heat the neck gently 
and gradually, keeping the stopper entirely out of the flame. 
Then press the stopper gently from side to side. While heat- 
ing the neck, turn it round and round in the flame. 

Test-tubes are little cylinders of thin glass, closed at one 
end, in which most tests and liquid reactions are conducted. 
They vary in size from 4 to 8 inches long and from J to f inch 
in diameter. They should not be so large in diameter that the 
open end may not be closed by the thumb. They may be used 
for heating liquids in a flame, holding either in the bare fingers, 
or, if too hot, in a test-tube holder. 

Two precautions must always be observed in heating test- 
tubes and all glass vessels. 

1. The outside should be wiped perfectly dry just before 

placing in the flame. 

2. The tube should be brought gradually into the flame and 

moved in and out and rolled between the finger and 
thumb, so that the heating shall be gradual and uniform. 

The reactions which take place in test-tubes, and the boiling 
of liquids therein, often cause portions of the liquid to be 
ejected. To guard against accident from this cause, the opera- 
tor should never hold the mouth of the tube toward himself or 
another person near him. 

Test-tubes are cleaned by a test-tube cleaner, consisting of a 
bunch of bristles caught between twisted wires and a small 
piece of sponge held at the end, or a round end of bristles. 

Test-tubes are kept in racks, a set of holes being provided 
for tubes in use, and a set of draining-pegs for those not in use. 


These racks usually contain a dozen tubes. The tubes should 
be thoroughly washed before placing on the pegs. 

Flasks are bottle-shaped glass vessels having a neck and 
globe; the latter may have a round or flat bottom. They are 
used for boiling liquids in, and are often placed in iron ring 
supports over the source of heat. The same rules as to heating 
and cleaning apply to these as to test-tubes. In arranging 
flasks for experiment, be careful to allow sufficiently large exit for 
gases generated an explosion of a flask is liable otherwise. 

Beakers are thin glass, open, tumbler-shaped vessels with a 
flare edge and, often, a small spout. They are used chiefly to 
receive filtered liquids, or for reactions on a larger scale than 
in test-tubes. 

Glass funnels should be thin and light and have the throat 
cut off obliquely. Their sides incline at 60, which angle permits 
a filter-paper folded twice to fit exactly. They are used for 
transferring liquids from one vessel to another, and for holding 
filter-papers. Agate-iron, iron, and porcelain funnels are also 
furnished for rougher work. 

Some funnels are arranged with corrugations or cut channels 
specially to accelerate filtering. 

Filtering-papers are used to separate the precipitates from 
the liquids in which they were formed; the latter, after separa- 
tion, is often called the filtrate. A good filter-paper should be 
porous enough to filter rapidly and yet sufficiently close in 
texture to retain the finest powder. The paper should be strong 
enough to bear when wet the pressure of the liquid poured on 
it. Good filter-paper should be free from all salts and as near 
pure cellulose as is possible; when burned, it should leave a 
very small proportion of ash. White paper is more likely to 
fulfill these conditions than the colored varieties. 

Filter-paper comes in sheets, but cut filter-papers are sup- 
plied as a rule. The separate papers are in circular form. 

, Small papers and funnels should be used in experiments. A 
paper about three inches in diameter is the most convenient 
size, except for reactions involving large quantities of materials. 


A filter is prepared for placing in a funnel as follows: 

1. Fold across on one diameter. 

2. Fold each end of semicircle back on 45 radius. 

3. Fold each of the 45 folds in its middle. 

4. Open out between the folds. 
Or a second method is as follows : 

1. Fold across a diameter as before. 

2. Fold across the semicircle on the 90 radius. 

3. Open out 3 layers on one side and 1 on the other. 
The first method is the better, as it gives quicker filtration. 

Filter-papers are placed in funnels so as to fit closely to the 
sides, and after they are in place they are wetted down with 
distilled water, using a wash-bottle for this purpose. The rate 
of filtering may be increased by using larger filter-papers cr 
by lengthening the throat of the funnel and letting it dip down 
into the filtrate. 

Strong acid or alkaline solutions should be filtered through 
asbestos wool placed in the throat of the funnel. 

A filter-paper of less than 2 inches in diameter may be 
placed directly in the mouth of a test-tube, and those between 
2 and 3 inches may be placed in a funnel and the funnel placed 
directly in the mouth of the test-tube without other support. 

When, however, a large quantity of liquid is to be filtered, 
larger papers are necessary and larger funnels; these latter are 
supported in stands or rings independently of the vessel arranged 
to receive the filtrate. A beaker or a porcelain dish may be 
arranged to receive the filtrate. Care should be taken that the 
lowest point of the throat of the funnel touches the side or edge 
of the vessel, in order that the liquid passing through may not 
fall in drops, but run quietly down the side without splashing. 

Porcelain evaporating-dishes of various sizes are used. These 
dishes will bear the heat of a lamp- or gas-flame without 
cracking. The best are the "Berlin" dishes glazed on both 
sides. With these dishes a solution may be evaporated to dry- 
ness, or even to ignition over the open flame of a lamp- or gas- 
burner. It is well, however, to support the dishes in such cases 


on a piece of iron wire gauze; otherwise the dish may be sup- 
ported on a small wire triangle. 

Porcelain crucibles are made of very thin porcelain and 
may be subjected to even higher heat than the dishes. They 
are made with covers. They are supported over the flame by 
small wire triangles. 

Both porcelain dishes and crucibles should be brought gradu- 
ally to the full heat. 

Two kinds of lamps are used the common spirit-lamp, and 
the circular-wick lamp, also known as the Berzelius lamp. The 
former is used for ordinary heating of test-tubes, etc.; the 
latter when a higher temperature is required and a larger flame, 
especially for water- and sand-baths, for evaporation, and 
ignition of residues. Spirit-lamps, when not in use, should be 
covered over to prevent evaporation. 

Supports. Several forms of supports are used in heating: 

1. The iron tripod, consisting of a ring to which three legs 

are attached. The flask, dish, or crucible is supported 
on this ring and the lamp is placed below. The proper 
height is given by wooden blocks, either blocking up 
the tripod or the lamp. 

2. The iron-rod support consists of an iron rod attached to 

a heavy cast-iron base. Several rings of different diam- 
eters are secured to the rod by binding-screws, and 
may be adjusted vertically and laterally, like the stand 
of the Berzelius lamp. 

3. Iron-wire gauze a piece about 6 inches square. 

4. Iron-wire triangle three pieces of iron wire formed into 

an equilateral triangle, with the wires twisted together 

at the vertices for a distance of an inch or two. 

A water-bath 1 consist of a copper vessel with a set of covers 

of different diameters. It is used to evaporate at moderate 

heat, or to dry precipitates or other substances which must be 

kept below a certain temperature. This temperature is fixed 

by the boiling-point of the liquid placed in the bath. If, for 

1 Other liquids than water may be used. The bath takes its uame, in any 
case, from the liquid used. By taking liquids of different boiling-points dif- 
ferent constant temperatures may be had. 


example, an aqueous eolation is to be evaporated without 
ebullition, it must not rise above the boiling-point of water, ncr 
permitted quite to reach that point. To accomplish this, fill the 
bath two-thirds full of water, place on it those particular cover 
rings that will permit the greater part of the dish containing 
the solution to be below the cover but not in the water of the 
bath. Support the bath on either the tripod or ring support 
and apply the heat. The dish holding the solution is thus 
heated by an atmosphere of steam, and the temperature will 
not exceed 212 F. The water in the bath must never be 
allowed to boil away. There are several modifications of the 

If a gradual and uniform temperature higher than the 
water-bath be desired, this may be accomplished by the sand- 
bath. This consists simply of a shallow dish or pan in which 
sand is placed, and the body to be heated is placed in a dish 
on this sand. The thickness of the sand layer regulates the 
temperature for a given flame. 

The blowpipe is used to oxidize and deoxidize samples and 
to give a high degree of heat. Deoxidization is often called 

In using the blowpipe, the air should be forced from the 
lungs into the mouth-cavity, distending the cheeks, and the air 
then forced through the blowpipe by the muscles of the cheeks. 
A steady uniform pressure may thus be maintained. 

For oxidization purposes the sample should be held just 
beyond the tip of the outer luminous flame; for reducing pur- 
poses it should be held at the tip of the inner blue flame. The 
hottest part of the blowpipe flame is between the luminous and 
blue flame; for melting metals, and when a high degree of heat 
is desired, the sample should be held at this point. 

Specimens may be supported and held before the blowpipe 
either on charcoal, on platinum-foil, or on a platinum loop. 

(a) On charcoal : Take a piece of charcoal about 3" X V X 
V . Near the end of one of the longer faces cut with 
knife or scraper a small depression about J" diame- 
ter and J" deep. Place the sample in this depression. 


Hold the charcoal between the thumb and foref nger 
of the left hand, slanting at about 30 downward, the 
sample being at the lower end. Present the sample 
to the blowpipe in this position. 

(6) On platinum-foil: Take a piece of platinum-foil about 
1J" by 1". Clean its surface with moist sand. If 
wrinkled, rub out the wrinkles on the bottom of the 
agate mortar, using the agate pestle. Bend over 
one corner slightly. Take hold of this corner with the 
forceps. Place the sample on the foil. Present to 
the flame, holding the forceps in the left hand, 
(c) Platinum wire loop: Fuse a fine platinum wire to the 
end of a glass rod. Straighten out all kinks in the 
wire by making a single loop over a round lead-pencil 
or other similar article, and pulling the pencil along 
the wire without turning. Make a small circular loop 
at the end of the wire about T Y' in diameter. Heat 
the loop to red heat, and wipe after cooling with 
clean filter-paper. Prepare the sample with proper 
fluxes, place it on the loop and present to the blow- 

Never heat any metal or any substance from which a metal 
can be reduced on platinum, as the latter forms alloys with 
other metals, which alloys have a lower fusing-point than plati- 
num and injure its properties otherwise. The alkaline sulphides 
and hydroxides also act on platinum. It is dissolved by aqua 
regia and chlorine-water. 

Wash-bottle. This is a large bottle of distilled water for 
general use in carrying out experiments. It is used particu- 
larly for diluting specimens in test-tubes, for wetting down 
filter-papers so they will adhere closely to the sides of funnels, 
for washing down precipitates from the sides of vessels, and for 
washing precipitates. Two tubes enter the bottle through a 
rubber cork. One is straight and projects about 4" above the 
cork, and the other at a point about 1" abovs the cork is bent 
sharply downward at an angle of about 45, and terminates 


at about 4" from the bend in a pointed aperture. The first 
tube stops inside of the bottle above the surface of the water, 
the bent tube extends inside the bottle well down to near its 

The water is poured out through the straight tube, holding 
the bent tube uppermost. 

By blowing down the straight tube, using some little force 
in the act, the water is forced up through the bent tube and 
out at the pointed aperture. 

Glass Tubing. Various sizes of glass tubing are used; the 
larger sizes for joining parts of apparatus, in connection with 
rubber- tubing ; the smaller sizes for exits through corks from 
bottles and large test-tubes. A piece of small-caliber glass tube 
is used as a dropper. The tube, when used for this purpose, 
must be perfectly clean. It is inserted in the reagent-bottle, 
the reagent rises in the tube, the end of the finger is placed over 
the top and the tube then withdrawn, bringing with it the small 
quantity of reagent held in the tube. 

Ordinary glass tubing may be cut in the simplest way by 
placing it lengthwise in a V trough, the point to be cut resting 
just beyond the trough; passing a diamond around at the point 
with one hand, holding the tube tightly with the other, then 
grasping the tube firmly with both hands on either side of the 
cut and near it, break the tube at the cut by turning the hands 
evenly, upward and outward, using the necessary force. 

The sharp corners of the ends of glass tubing may be rounded 
by holding in the Bunsen or alcohol flame. This should always 
be done before attempting to insert a tube in corks or in rubber 
tubing, as the tube inserts much more easily if the corners are 
rounded. Care should be exercised not to change the size of 
the orifice. It will be sufficient to bring the very outer edges 
to a good red heat and rub a second heated rod gently over 
these edges. 

Very thin glass tubing, which cannot be cut as described 
above, may be cut by filing a slight cut at the point, then apply 
gradually a hot point progressively around the tube, starting 


at the file-cut. It may be necessary sometimes to chill the tube 
at the file-cut by placing it in cold water or ice for a minute or 
so ; and then wiping dry, before applying the heated point. 

Glass tubes are bent by heating them over a flame until 
plastic, then bent carefully with force applied very slowly; only 
the heat necessary should be used. 

To close a glass tube, heat the end until plastic, press together 
opposite points of circumference until they meet, make weld 
complete, then shape. 

To form a bulb in a glass tube, heat the tube in the point 
at which it is desired to have the bulb until the glass is plastic 
at that point. Blow through the tube, using sufficient force to 
cause the plastic glass to expand to the size desired. 

To make an opening in the side of a glass tube, heat the 
tube at the point until the glass there is plastic. Perforate the 
side with a pointed rod, open the perforation to the size desired, 
round off and smooth the edges. 

Rubber tubing of various sizes is used to connect the glass 
and metal parts of apparatus. There is a great advantage in 
this means of connection by reason of the pliability of the tub- 
ing, the air-tight joints that are made, and the fact that alkalies 
and dilute acids do not act on rubber. 

The cork-borer consists of a nest of metal tubes of various 
sizes, with one end bevelled to a cutting circular edge. It is 
used to bore holes through rubber and cork stoppers for glass 

In putting a glass tube through a bored stopper, see that the 
edges of the tube have been rounded by heating, grasp the 
tube firmly, close to the stopper, press in easily and directly 
along the axis of the tube with a screw motion. Wet the tube 
with alcohol or with soap-suds, if it moves with great difficulty. 
Avoid lateral pressure. Do not hold the body of a funnel in 
forcing the neck through a stopper nor a bent tube at the 

Rubber stoppers are used when absolutely air-tight closing of 
bottles is important. They may be perforated for glass tubes 


by a brass cork-borer; the latter should be moistened with 
alcohol to facilitate the process. They have a further advantage 
over cork stoppers by reason of the non-action of alkalies and 
weak acids. 

Sheet rubber is used to make tight joints between glass 
tubes of different sizes, or between the neck of a bottle or a 
flask and a large glass tube entering it. 

Cork stoppers should be softened by rolling or squeezing 
before using. There is difficulty in finding perfectly round 
corks; eccentric parts may be removed by using a fine flat 
file. The size of corks may be reduced somewhat by squeezing 
or filing or both. 

Double-neck bottles are convenient for generating gases; one 
neck being used for the reagent, and the other, with glass tube 
and rubber tubing attached, for transferring the gas generated. 

There are four kinds of mortars in common use: (1) an 
iron mortar, for heavy material requiring great strength to 
pulverize; (2) porcelain mortars, for ordinary solid reagents; 
(3) agate mortars, for minerals and reagents having high 
degree of hardness; (4) diamond mortar, consisting of small 
steel cylinder, anvil, and piston, in which very hard and tough 
materials are pulverized or broken before using the agate mortar. 

Spatulas are thin, knife-like blades made of steel, horn, or 
porcelain. They are used in handling solid reagents and samples. 

Watch-glasses are used in pairs, with a suitable metal clasp 
to hold them tightly together, in holding samples for weighing, 
drying, and for preserving them safely from loss or change 
during experimentation. 

The clothing should be covered by overalls or aprons during 
laboratory work. In case strong acid gets on the clothing or 
skin, it should be neutralized at once with ammonia- water or 
other strong base, or washed for some time in running water. 





General notice 307 

General rules 308 

Section 1 310 

Information and definitions 310 

Grouping 310 

Group 1. Forbidden explosives 310 

Group 2. Acceptable explosives 311 

Section 2 313 

Packing, marking, and certifying acceptable explosives 313 

Samples of explosives together 314 

Low explosives and black powder 314 

High explosives 315 

Smokeless powder for cannon 317 

Smokeless powder for small arms 317 

Fulminates 317 

Small-arms ammunition 318 

Ammunition for cannon 318 

Explosive projectiles 319 

Blasting caps 319 

Detonating fuses 320 

Primers, percussion and time fuses 320 

Common fireworks 321 

Special fireworks 321 

Safety fuse, cordeau detonant, and safety squibs 322 

Shipping order 322 

List of shipping names 322 

Section 3 323 

Rules for handling 323 

Loading in car 324 

Waybilling 325 

Shipments from connecting lines 327 

Disposition of injured, condemned, and astray packages .... 327 

Selection and preparation of cars 328 

Dangerous explosives 328 

Certified car placarded " Explosives " 328 

Less dangerous explosives in car placarded " In- 
flammable " 329 



Section 3. Continued. 


Relatively safe explosives in car without placards .... 330 

Placarding of cars and certification of contents 331 

" Explosive " placard 332 

" Inflammable " placard 332 

Handling cars containing explosives 333 

In case of a wreck 335 



General notice 336 

General rules 337 

Information and definitions 338 

Grouping 338 

Group 1. Forbidden articles 338 

Group 2. Acceptable explosives 339 

Definitions of acceptable explosives 340 

Packing and marking of acceptable explosives 341 

Packing and marking of small-arms ammunition, 

primers, fuses, safety fuse, and safety squibs 342 

Packing and marking of fireworks 343 

ACT OF MARCH 4, 1909, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1 ; 1910 345 


Prescribed under act of March 4, 1909. Originally formulated and published January 15, 
1910, effective 90 days thereafter. Revision formulated and published July 2, 1914, 
effective October 1, 1914, and superseding the tegulations published January 1, 1912. 


1401. (a) As the use of explosives is essential to various business 
activities throughout the country, it is the duty of the interstate railroad 
carriers to accept and transport such explosives under these regulations. 
When local conditions make the acceptance, transportation, or delivery 
unusually hazardous, local restrictions, as provided by paragraph 1429 
herein, may be imposed. 

(6) It is also the duty of carriers and shippers to make these regu- 
lations effective and to thoroughly instruct their employees in relation 

1402. The Bureau for the Safe Transportation of Explosives and 
other Dangerous Articles, hereinafter called Bureau of Explosives, organ- 
ized by the railways under the auspices of the American Railway Associ- 
ation, is an efficient bureau in charge of an expert chief inspector. This 
bureau will make inspections and conduct investigations, and will confer 
with manufacturers and shippers with a view to determining what speci- 
fications and regulations will within reasonable limits afford the highest 
degree of safety in packing and preparing these dangerous articles for 
shipment and in transporting the same. The Commission will seek to 
avail itself of the expert knowledge thus developed, and in formulating 
amendments to these regulations or specifications supplemental thereto, 
while not bound thereby, will give due weight to such expert opinions. 

1403. The Commission will make further provision as occasion may 
require for new explosives not included in or covered by the following 

1404. These regulations apply to all shipments of explosives as 
defined herein, including carrier's material and supplies. 




1421. Unless specifically authorized by these regulations, explosives 
must not be packed in the same outside packages with each other or 
with other articles. 

1422. Explosives, when offered for shipment by rail, must be in 
proper condition for transportation and must be packed, marked, loaded, 
stayed, and handled while in transit in accordance with these regulations. 
All packages of less-than-carload shipments must also be plainly marked 
on the outer covering or boxing (outside package) with the name and 
address of the consignee. 

1423. Except on through bills of lading to a foreign destination, 
shipments of dangerous explosives as named in paragraph 1661 must 
not be accepted when consigned " order notify." 

1424. Empty boxes or kegs previously used for high explosives are 
dangerous and must not be again used for shipments of any character. 
Empty boxes which have been used for the shipment of other explosives 
than high explosives must have the old marks thoroughly removed 
before being used for the shipment of other articles. Empty metal kegs 
which have been used for the shipment of black powder which was not 
contained in an interior package must not be again used for shipment 
of any explosive, and if used for the shipment of other articles must have 
the old marks thoroughly removed or obliterated. 

1425. (a) Explosives except such as are forbidden (see par. 1501) 
may be offered for transportation to railroads engaged in interstate 
commerce, provided the following regulations are complied with, and 
provided their method of manufacture, packing, and storage, so far as 
it affects safe transportation, is open to inspection by a duly authorized 
representative of the initial carrier or of the Bureau of Explosives. Ship- 
ments of explosives that do not comply with these regulations must 
not be received. 

(6) Shipments offered by the War and Navy Departments of the 
United States Government may be packed, including limitations of 
weight, as required by their regulations. 

1426. When practicable at any point, regular and separate days 
should be assigned for receiving from shippers less-than-carload lots of 
dangerous explosives named in paragraph 1661. 

1427. To enable the carrier to provide proper cars at stations where 
less-than-carload shipments of the dangerous explosives named in para- 
graph 1661 are accepted for loading by the carrier, the shipper must 
give to the carrier not less than 24 hours' notice of his intention to offer 
such shipments, and state their destinations. When a regular day to 


receive all explosive shipments offered at such a station has been appointed 
this notice may be waived by the carrier, but the explosive shipments 
must be delivered on such days in time to permit proper inspection, 
billing, and loading on that day. 

1428. Before any shipment of dangerous explosives as named in 
paragraph 1661 destined to a point beyond the lines of the initial carrier 
is accepted from a shipper, the initial carrier must ascertain that the 
shipment can go forward via the route designated. 

1429. All carriers must report to the chief inspector of the Bureau 
of Explosives for compilation and publication, full information as to 
restrictions which may be imposed as provided in paragraph 1401 (a) 
against the acceptance, delivery, or transportation of explosives over 
any portion of their lines. 

1430. (a) Forbidden explosives, as defined in paragraph 1501, and 
explosives condemned by the Bureau of Explosives (except properly 
repacked samples for laboratory examination), must not be offered for 

(b) Samples of any new explosives must be examined and approved 
as safe for transportation by the Bureau of Explosives before ship- 
ments (except samples for this examination not exceeding 5 pounds net 
in weight) can be accepted. For this purpose a new explosive is defined 
to be the product of a new factory or an explosive of an essentially new 
composition made by any factory. 

1431. Leaking or damaged packages of explosives must not be 
offered for shipment. Should any package of high explosives when 
offered for shipment show excessive dampness or be mouldy or show 
outward signs of any oily stain or other indication that absorption of 
the liquid part of the explosive is not perfect, or that the amount of 
the liquid part is greater than the absorbent can carry, it must be 
refused in every instance. The shipper must substantiate any claim 
that a stain is due to accidental contact with grease, oil, or similar sub- 
stance. In case of doubt, the package must be rejected. 

1432. Condemned or leaking dynamite must not be repacked and 
offered for shipment unless the repacking is done by a competent per- 
son in the presence of, or with the written consent of the inspector, 
or with the written authority of the chief inspector of the Bureau of 

1433. Carriers must forward shipments of explosives promptly and 
within 48 hours after acceptance at originating point or receipt at transfer 
station or at interchange point, and consignees must remove such ship- 
ments from the carrier's property within 48 hours after notice of arrival 
at destinations, Sundays and holidays not included. 


1434. (a) Serious violations of these regulations (such as defective 
packing, improper staying, rough treatment of car, broken packages, 
etc.) and accidents or explosions occurring in connection with the 
transportation or storage on carrier's property of explosives must be 
reported by the carrier to the chief inspector, Bureau of Explosives, 
30 Vesey Street, New York City. 

All violations must be corrected before forwarding the explosives. 

. (6) Consignees should report promptly to the chief inspector, Bu- 
reau of Explosives, all instances of improper staying and broken or 
defective packages of explosives in shipments received by them. 



1500. For transportation purposes, explosives are divided into the 
following groups : 

1. Forbidden explosives. 

2. Acceptable explosives. 

Group 1. Forbidden Explosives. 

1501. The following are forbidden explosives: 
(a) Liquid nitroglycerin. 

(6) Dynamite containing over 60 per cent of nitroglycerin (except 
gelatin dynamite). 

(c) Dynamite having an unsatisfactory absorbent, or one that per- 
mits leakage of nitroglycerin under any conditions liable to exist during 
transportation or storage. 

(d) Nitrocellulose in a dry and uncompressed condition, in quan- 
tity greater than 10 pounds, net weight in one exterior package. 

(e) Fulminate of mercury in bulk in a dry condition, and fulmi- 
nates of all other metals in any condition, except as a component of 
manufactured articles whose transportation is not forbidden herein. 

(/) Fireworks that combine an explosive and a detonator or blast- 
ing cap. 

(g) Explosive compositions including fireworks that ignite spon- 
taneously, or undergo marked decomposition when subjected for 48 
consecutive hours to a temperature of 75 C. (167 F.). 

(h) Firecrackers whose dimensions exceed 5 inches in length or 
three-quarters of an inch in diameter or whose explosive charges exceed 
45 grains each in weight. 


(i) Toy torpedoes exceeding 1 inches in diameter, or toy caps con- 
taining more than an average of thirty-five hundredths of a grain of 
explosive composition per cap. 

(j) Fireworks that can be exploded en masse by a blasting cap placed 
in one of the units or by the impact of a rifle bullet or otherwise. 

Such articles may be shipped when packed, marked, and certified 
in accordance with these regulations and offered for shipment as high 

(k) Fireworks containing a match tip or head, or similar igniting 
point or surface, unless each individual tip, head, or similar igniting 
point or surface is entirely covered and securely protected from acci- 
dental contact or friction with any other surface. 

(/) Fireworks or explosives containing an ammonium salt and a 

(m) New explosives (except samples for laboratory examinations) 
until approved for transportation by the Bureau of Explosives. 

(ft) Explosives properly condemned by the Bureau of Explosives 
(except properly repacked samples for laboratory examinations). Par- 
ties who are dissatisfied with the decision of the Bureau may appeal 
to the Commission, and if it is a question of chemical composition the 
Commission will arrange to have a test made by a disinterested Govern- 
ment laboratory. 

Group 2. Acceptable Explosives. 

1502. Low explosives and black powder are general names that 
may be used to describe all explosives having a composition similar 
to that of ordinary black powder, such as carbonaceous material, sul- 
phur, and a nitrate of sodium or potassium, and that cannot be deto- 
nated by a commercial blasting cap. Examples are, rifle, sporting, can- 
non, and blasting powders. 

1503. High explosives are all explosives more powerful than ordinary 
black powder, except smokeless powders and fulminates. Their distin- 
guishing characteristic is their susceptibility to detonation by a blasting 
cap. Examples of high explosives are the dynamites, picric acid, 1 
picrates, chlorate powders, nitrate of ammonia powders, dry trinitro- 
toluol, dry nitrocellulose (gun cotton,) and fireworks that can be exploded 
en masse. 

1504. Smokeless powders are those explosives from which there is 
little or no smoke when fired. They include smokeless powder for can- 

1 Picric acid for medicinal purposes, and not exceeding 4 ounces in one outside package, 
may be shipped without other restrictions when in securely closed glass bottles, properly 
cushioned to prevent breakage. 


non and smokeless powder for small arms. Smokeless powder for 
cannon used in the United States at the present time consists of a nitro- 
cellulose colloid, and is comparatively safe to handle and transport. 
Smokeless powders for small arms may consist of nitrocellulose or nitro- 
cellulose combined with nitroglycerin. Detonable picrate or chlorate 
mixtures are classed as high explosives. 

1505. Fulminates are fulminates of mercury or of other metals in 
bulk form, that is, not made up into percussion caps, detonators, blast- 
ing caps, toy torpedoes, or exploders. 

1506. Small-arms ammunition (such as is used in sporting or fowling 
pieces, or in rifle or pistol practice, etc.), consists usually of a paper or 
metallic shell, the primer, and the powder charge, with or without shot 
or bullet, the materials necessary for one firing being all in one piece. 

1507. Ammunition for cannon embraces all fixed or separate- 
loading ammunition too heavy for use in small arms. When the com- 
ponent parts are packed in separate outside packages such packages may 
be shipped as smokeless powder for cannon, explosive projectiles, empty 
(including solid and sand loaded) projectiles, primers, or fuses. Igniters 
composed of black powder may be attached to packages in shipments of 
smokeless powder for cannon. 

1508. Explosive projectiles are loaded shells for use in cannon. 
They are not liable to be exploded except by fire of considerable inten- 
sity, and the flying fragments would then be very dangerous. 

1509. Blasting caps contain from 5 to 50 grains of dry fulminate 
of mercury, or other substance similar to or in combination with ful- 
minate of mercury, packed in a thin copper shell and fired by a slow- 
burning safety fuse. When a small " bridge " of fine wire is embedded 
in a suitable priming material and arranged to fire the fulminate by 
heating the bridge by means of an electric current, the cap is called an 
" electric blasting cap." They cause explosions of a high order, or 
" detonations." This means the instantaneous conversion of the 
entire explosive into gas instead of the gradual conversion known as 
" combustion." Dynamite " detonates " and smokeless powder for 
cannon " burns." 

1510. Detonating fuses are used in the military service to detonate 
the high explosive bursting charges of projectiles or torpedoes. In 
addition to a powerful detonator they may contain several ounces of 
a high explosive, such as picric acid or dry nitrocellulose, all assembled 
in a heavy steel envelope. 

1511. Primers, percussion and time fuses are devices used to ignite 
the black powder bursting charges of projectiles, or the powder charges 
of ammunition. For small-arms ammunition the primers are usually 


called " small-arms primers " or " percussion caps." Tracer fuses 
consist of a device which is attached to a projectile and contains a slow- 
burning composition to show the flight of projectiles at night. 

1512. Safety fuse consists ordinarily of a core of granular black 
powder, which is surrounded by yarn, tape, pitch, rubber, etc. 

Cordeau detonant is a fuse containing trinitrotoluol, assembled in 
a drawn lead tube. 

Safety squibs are small paper tubes containing a small quantity 
of black powder, one end of each tube being twisted and generally 
tipped with sulphur. 

1513. Fireworks include everything that is designed and manu- 
factured primarily for the purpose of producing a visible or an audible 
pyrotechnic effect by combustion or by explosion. They consist of 
common fireworks and special fireworks. (See par. 1501 (j).) 

1514. Common fireworks include all that depend principally upon 
nitrates to support combustion and not upon chlorates; that contain 
no phosphorus and no high explosive sensitive to shock and friction; 
that produce their effect through color display rather than by loud 
noises. If noise is the principal object, the units must be small and 
of such nature and manufacture that they will explode separately and 
harmlessly, if at all, when one unit is ignited in a packing case. They 
must not be designed for ignition by shock or friction. Examples are 
Chinese firecrackers, Roman candles, pinwheels, colored fires, rockets, 
serpents, railway fuses, flash powders, etc. 

1515. Special fireworks include all that contain any quantity of 
phosphorus, a fulminate, or other high explosive sensitive to shock 
or friction, or that contain units of such size that the explosion of one 
while being handled would produce a serious injury, or that require 
a special applicance or tool, mortar, holder, etc., for their safe use, or 
that are designed for ignition by shock or friction. Examples are 
giant firecrackers, bombs, and salutes (not high explosives), toy tor- 
pedoes and caps, ammunition pellets fired in a special holder, railway 
torpedoes, etc. 


1531. (a) The construction of shipping containers purchased here- 
after and used in shipping explosives must conform to specifications 
approved by the Interstate Commerce Commission that apply, and 
excepting shipments offered by the United States Government, each 
container must be stamped, labeled, or marked " Complies with I. C. 


C. Spec'n. No. - " or equivalent marking, as stated in the speci- 

(6) In addition to standing the tests prescribed, the design and 
construction of packages must be such as to prevent the occurrence 
in individual packages of defects that permit leakage of their contents 
under the ordinary conditions incident to transportation. The results 
of experience, gained by an examination of broken or leaking pack- 
ages on arrival at destination, must be reported to and recorded by the 
Bureau of Explosives, to the end that further use of any particular 
kind of package shown by experience to be inefficient may be prohibited 
by the Commission. 

(c) Pending approval and promulgation by the Commission of 
specifications for types of shipping containers other than those for 
which specifications are published herein, containers may be used which 
after investigation made by the Bureau of Explosives or by other com- 
petent testing laboratory in the presence of a representative of the 
Bureau of Explosives, are shown to possess the general efficiency and 
the protection against leakage of contents afforded by the standard 
types of corresponding capacity described in the specifications published 
herein, provided they are labeled or marked to show compliance with 
this requirement. 

Samples of Explosives Together. 

1532. Samples of explosives (except blasting caps) in separate 
interior containers may be packed in the same outside package of gross 
weight not exceeding 50 pounds, provided the weight of any one sample 
does not exceed 8 ounces, and provided the interior packages are so 
cushioned and protected as to insure their transportation without rup- 
ture or leakage of contents. The package must be marked and described 
with the name of the most dangerous explosive included among the sam- 
ples, such as " HIGH EXPLOSIVE," " BLACK POWDER," etc. 

Low Explosives and Black Powder. 

1533. Packing. Packages containing less than 12 pounds of black 
powder or low explosives must be inclosed in a tight wooden box com- 
plying with specification No. 16. Each inside package containing less 
than 12^ pounds and more than If pounds must be so placed in the out- 
side box that the filling hole will be up. The boxes must be marked on 
top " THIS SIDE UP " and also as prescribed by paragraph 1536. 

1534. Twelve and a half pounds or over of black powder or low 
explosives must be packed in packages that comply with specification 
No. 11 or 13. Kegs less than 8 inches long must be boxed as prescribed 
by paragraph 1533. 


1535. Weight. Packages must not weigh over 200 pounds gross. 

1536. Marking. Each outside package must be plainly marked, 
stamped, or stenciled " BLACK POWDER" or "LOW EXPLO- 
SIVES," and may also show "BLASTING," "RIFLE," etc., as 
"LOW BLASTING EXPLOSIVE," etc. Additional marks, trade 
names, etc., may appear if desired by shipper, but such additional 
marking must not be more conspicuous nor must it obscure the mark- 
ing prescribed herein. 

High Explosives. 

1551. High explosives consisting of a liquid mixed with an absorbent 
material must have the absorbent (wood pulp or similar material) in 
sufficient quantity and of satisfactory quality, properly dried at the 
time of mixing; nitrate of soda must be dried at the time of mixing 
to less than 1 per cent of moisture; and the ingredients must be uni- 
formly mixed so that the liquid will remain thoroughly absorbed under 
the most unfavorable conditions incident to transportation. 

1552. Explosives containing nitroglycerin must have uniformly 
mixed with the absorbent material a satisfactory antacid which must 
be in quantity sufficient to have the acid neutralizing power of an amount 
of magnesium carbonate equal to 1 per cent of the nitroglycerin. 

1553. (a) Packing. High explosives containing more than 10 per 
cent of nitroglycerin (except gelatin dynamite) must be made into car- 
tridges not exceeding 4 inches in diameter or 8 inches in length, and must 
not be packed in bags or sacks; except that cartridges 5 inches in diameter 
and not exceeding 8 inches in length may be shipped, provided each 
cartridge of the explosive is completely enclosed in a shell made of strong 
paraffined paper, and thereafter enclosed in another such paper shell, 
the completed cartridge being dipped in melted paraffin. 

(6) High explosives containing not more than 10 per cent of nitro- 
glycerin may be shipped in bags or sacks. Each bag or sack must not 
contain more than Yl\ pounds of explosive and must be placed in a 
box with filling end up. These bags or sacks and the coverings of all 
cartridges must be strong and so treated that they will not absorb the 
liquid constituent of the explosive. 

1554. (a) All boxes in which high explosives in cartridges, bags, 
sacks, or in bulk are packed must be lined with strong paraffined paper 
or other suitable material. The lining must be without joints or other 
openings at the bottom or on the sides of the box, and must be imper- 
vious to water and to any liquid ingredient of the explosive. 

(6) In packing cartridges of nitroglycerin explosives at least one- 


quarter of an inch thickness of dry, fine wood pulp or sawdust must 
be spread over the bottom of the lined box before inserting the car- 
tridges, and all the vacant space in the top must be filled with this 

(c) All cartridges exceeding 4 inches in length, except explosive 
gelatin or gelatin dynamite, must be placed horizontally in boxes. 

1555. Inside packages containing not more than 1 pound each of 
dry uncompressed nitrocellulose, wrapped in strong paraffined paper 
or other suitable spark-proof material, will be accepted for shipment if 
securely packed in an outside package that complies with Specifica- 
tion No. 14 and is marked as prescribed in paragraph 1559. Outside 
packages must not contain more than 10 pounds of dry nitrocellulose. 

1556. (a) High explosives containing no explosive liquid ingredient 
and not having, with their normal percentage of moisture, a sensitive- 
ness to percussion greater than measured by the blow delivered by an 
8-pound weight dropping from a height of 7 inches on a compressed 
pellet of the explosive three-hundredths of an inch in thickness and two- 
tenths of an inch in diameter confined rigidly between hard steel surfaces, 
as in the standard impact-testing apparatus of the Bureau of Explosives, 
may be shipped in bulk when securely packed in authorized containers. 
These explosives may also be packed in cartridges, and must be so packed 
when their sensitiveness is greater than the above limit. Wooden boxes 
or wooden kegs provided with suitable linings to prevent leakage must 
be used for chlorate powders. 

(6) When the addition of water to any such explosive will make it 
non-explosive according to tests made by the Bureau of Explosives, 
the wet material may be shipped and handled in transit as prescribed 
by the Regulations for the Transportation of Dangerous Articles other 
than Explosives by Freight and by Express. 

1557. Containers for high explosives must comply with Specifica- 
tions Nos. 11, 14, 20, 21, and 22 as specified therein. 

1558. (a) Weights. Packages of high explosives containing an 
explosive liquid ingredient must not exceed 75 pounds gross weight. 

(6) Packages of high explosives containing no liquid explosive ingre- 
dient whose shipment in bulk is authorized by paragraph 1556 must 
not exceed 125 pounds gross weight. 

(c) The gross weight of an outside package containing not exceed- 
ing 10 pounds net of dry nitrocellulose, not compressed, packed as 
prescribed in paragraph 1555, must not exceed 35 pounds. Com- 
pressed sticks or blocks of dry nitrocellulose (guncotton) wrapped in 
strong paraffined paper may be shipped in outside packages complying 
with Specification No. 14, with a gross weight not exceeding 75 pounds. 


1559. Marking. Boxes must be plainly marked on top and on 
one side or end and kegs must be marked on one end " HIGH EX- 
PLOSIVEDANGEROUS," in letters not less than A inch in height. 
The tops of boxes must be marked " THIS SIDE UP." 

Smokeless Powder for Cannon. 

1571. Packing. Smokeless powder for cannon must be packed 
in tight wooden boxes free from loose knots and cracks, or in wooden 
barrels that comply with Specification No. 11, or in metal barrels or 
kegs that comply with Specification No. 13. Smokeless powder for 
cannon may be packed in water in metal barrels or in strong wooden 
barrels of the type used for alcohol. 

1572. Weight. Packages must not weigh over 180 pounds gross 
unless the powder is packed in water. 

1573. Marking. Each package must be plainly marked " SMOKE- 

Smokeless Powder for Small Arms. 

1575. Packing. Packages containing less than 9 pounds of smoke- 
less powder for small arms must be inclosed in a tight wooden box com- 
plying with Specification No. 16. Each inside package containing 
less than 9 pounds and more than 1| pounds must be so placed in the 
outside box that the filling hole will be up. The box must be marked 
on top " THIS SIDE UP " and also as prescribed by paragraph 1578. 

,1576. Quantities of 9 pounds or over of smokeless powder for small 
arms must be packed in tight wooden boxes free from loose knots or 
cracks, or in wooden barrels that comply with Specification No. 11, or 
in metal barrels or kegs that comply with Specification No. 13. Kegs 
less than 8 inches long must be boxed as prescribed by paragraph 1575. 
Smokeless powder for small arms may be packed in water in metal barrels 
or in strong wooden barrels of the type used for alcohol. 

1577. Weight. Packages must not weigh over 150 pounds gross. 

1578. Marking. Each outside package must be plainly marked 


1591. Packing. Fulminate of mercury in bulk must contain when 
packed not less than 25 per cent of water, and must in this wet condi- 
tion be placed in a bag made of heavy cotton cloth of close mesh, equal 
in quality and weight to the cotton twill used for pockets in high-grade 


clothing. There must be placed inside the bag and over the fulminate 
a cap of the same cloth and of the diameter of the bag, and the bag must 
be tied securely and placed in a strong grain bag, which must, in turn, 
be tied securely and packed in the center of a cask or barrel in good 
condition and of the kind used for shipment of alcohol. The grain bag 
must not contain more than 150 pounds dry weight of fulminate and it 
must be surrounded on all sides by tightly packed sawdust not less than 
6 inches thick. The cask or barrel must be lined with a heavy, close- 
fitting jute bag, closed by secure sewing to prevent escape of sawdust. 
After the barrel is properly coopered it must be rilled with water and the 
bung sealed. The barrel must be inspected carefully and all leaks 

1592. Marking. Each cask or barrel must be plainly marked 

Small-Arms Ammunition. 

1601. Packing. Small-arms ammunition must be packed in paste- 
board or other boxes, and these boxes must be packed in strong out- 
side wooden or metal containers. 

Small-arms ammunition in pasteboard or other boxes, and in quantity 
not exceeding a gross weight of 75 pounds, may be packed with non- 
explosive and non-inflammable articles and with small-arms primers 
or percussion caps (see par. 1619), provided the outside wooden or 
metal container is marked as prescribed in paragraph 1602. 

1602. Marking. Each outside package or case must be plainly 

1603. No restrictions, other than proper packing and marking, are 
necessary for the shipment of small-arms ammunition, 

Ammunition for Cannon. 

1604. Packing. Ammunition for cannon must be well packed and 
properly secured in strong wooden or metal containers. 

1605. Marking. Each outside package must be plainly marked 
NON WITH SOLID PROJECTILES," according as the projectiles 
do or do not contain, a bursting charge, or " AMMUNITION FOR 

Empty cartridge bags having attached black-powder igniters must 



1606. No restrictions other than proper marking are prescribed for 
shipments of material relating to ammunition for cannon, but con- 
taining no explosive or other dangerous article, such as cartridge cases, 
" dummy " or " drill " cartridges, etc. 

Explosive Projectiles. 

1607. Packing. Explosive projectiles must be packed in strong 
wooden or metal boxes and each projectile must be properly secured. 
Projectiles exceeding 100 pounds in weight may be shipped without 
being boxed, if desired. When necessary, detonating fuses of an approved 
type may be assembled in explosive projectiles. 

1608. Weight. The gross weight of a box containing more than 
one explosive projectile must not exceed 250 pounds. 

1609. Marking. Each exterior package or projectile must be 

No restrictions, other than proper marking, are prescribed for the 
shipment of sand-loaded projectiles, empty projectiles, solid projec- 
tiles, or empty torpedoes, and tracer fuses of an approved type may 
be assembled in projectiles. 

Blasting Caps. 

1611. Packing. Blasting caps contain such a sensitive and danger- 
ous explosive that very efficient packing is necessary, and the outside 
of all caps must be free from fulminate. 

(a) Blasting caps must be packed in strong interior packages or 
containers, in which they must fit snugly, and the caps must be closed 
securely by teats projecting from a plate of suitable elastic material 
placed over the caps. Not more than 100 blasting caps may be packed 
in a single inside container. All inside containers must then be packed 
snugly in cartons or wrappings made of paper or pasteboard. 

(6) For not more than 5000 caps the inside containers in cartons 
or wrappings must be packed in an outside box which must comply 
with Specification No. 15, and they must be separated from the out- 
side box by at least 1 inch of tightly packed sawdust, excelsior, or equiv- 
alent cushioning material. 

(c) For more than 5000 caps the inside containers, in cartons or 
wrappings, must be packed in an inside box made of sound lumber 
or in a hermetically sealed metal box made of not less than 30-gauge 


United States standard, and this inside wooden or metal box must 
then be packed in an outside box made of sound lumber; both of these 
boxes must comply with Specification No. 15. Tightly packed sawdust, 
excelsior, or equivalent cushioning material at least 1 inch thick at all 
points must separate the inside box from the outside wooden box. 

(d) More than 20,000 blasting caps must not be placed in one out- 
side package. 

(e) Not more than five tin boxes, containing not more than 100 
blasting caps in each box, may be packed with safety fuse, each box 
to be placed in the center of a coil of fuse, and in this case the outside 
box must be made of sound lumber, complying with Specification 
No. 15. 

(/) Electric blasting caps must be packed in pasteboard cartons 
containing not more than 50 caps each. These cartons must be packed 
in a wooden box, complying with Specification No. 15. 

1612. Weight The gross weight of an outside package containing 
blasting caps or electric blasting caps must not exceed 150 pounds. 

1613. Marking. Each outside package must be plainly marked 
" (number) BLASTING CAPS HANDLE CAREFULLY/' or " (num- 
In addition, each box must bear the marking " DO NOT STORE OR 

Detonating Fuses. 

1615. Packing. Detonating fuses must be packed in strong, tight 
wooden boxes, and each fuse must be well secured. 

1616. Weight. The gross weight of one outside package must not 
exceed 165 pounds. 

1617. Marking. Each outside package must be plainly marked 

Primers, Percussion and Time Fuses. 

1619. (a) Packing. Primers, percussion and time fuses must be 
packed in strong, tight wooden outside boxes, with special provision 
for securing individual packages of primers and fuses against move- 
ment in the box. 

(6) Small-arms primers containing anvils must be packed in cellular 
inside packages, with partitions separating the layers and columns of 
primers, so that the explosion of a portion of the primers in the com- 
pleted shipping package will not cause the explosion of all of the primers. 

(c) Percussion caps may be packed in metal or other inside boxes 
containing not more than 500 caps, but the construction of the cap 


and the kind and quantity of explosives in each must be such that the 
explosion of a part of the caps in the completed shipping package will 
not cause the explosion of all of the caps. 

(d) Small-arms primers and percussion caps may form a part of 
the gross weight of 75 pounds of small-arms ammunition that may 
be packed with other articles as authorized by paragraph 1601. 

1620. Weight. The gross weight of one outside package must not 
exceed 150 pounds. 

1621. Marking. Each outside box must be plainly marked 

1622. No restrictions other than proper packing and marking are 
necessary for the shipment of primers, percussion and time fuses. No 
restrictions other than proper marking are prescribed for the ship- 
ment of " Empty cartridge shells, primed." 

Common Fireworks. 

1631. Packing. Common fireworks must be in a finished state, 
exclusive of mere ornamentation, as supplied to the retail trade, and 
must be securely packed in strong, tight, spark-proof wooden barrels 
that comply with Specification No. 11, or in boxes complying with 
Specification No. 12A. 

1632. Weight. The gross weight of one outside package containing 
common fireworks must not exceed 325 pounds, except that exhibi- 
tion set pieces when specially packed may have weight not exceeding 
400 pounds. 

1633. Marking. Each outside package must be plainly marked in 
letters not less than ^ inch in height, "COMMON FIREWORKS- 

Special Fireworks. 

1634. Packing. Special fireworks must be in a finished state, 
exclusive of mere ornamentation, as supplied to the retail trade, and 
must not contain forbidden fireworks. (See par. 1501 (/) to (7), in- 

Special fireworks must be securely packed in strong, spark-proof 
wooden barrels that comply with Specification No. 11, or in boxes 
complying with Specification No. 12. 


1635. Weight. The gross weight of one outside package contain- 
ing special fireworks must not exceed 200 pounds, and the gross weight 
of a package containing toy torpedoes must not exceed 65 pounds. 

1636. Marking. Each outside package containing special fire- 
works or a mixture of common and special fireworks must be plainly 
marked in letters not less than ^ inch in height, " SPECIAL FIRE- 

Safety Fuse, Cordeau Detonant, and Safety Squibs. 

1638. Safety fuse, cordeau detonant, and safety squibs must be 
packed in strong wooden boxes or barrels properly marked, and may 
be loaded in any car with any other kind of an explosive or inflam- 
mable substance or with other freight. Cordeau detonant must not 
be packed in the same package with blasting caps, or with any high 


1641. (a) Shipper's certificate. The shipping order for any pack- 
age containing an explosive named below must show each article under 
its proper name as specified in this paragraph, and must show the fol- 
lowing certificate in the lower left-hand corner, over the written or 
stamped facsimile signature of the shipper or of his duly authorized 
agent : 

This is to certify that the above articles are properly described by name and 
are packed and marked and are in proper condition for transportation according 
to the regulations prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Commission. 

List of Shipping Names. 

Low explosives. 
Black powder. 
High explosives. 
Smokeless powder for cannon. 
Smokeless powder for small arms. 
Wet fulminate of mercury. 

Ammunition for cannon with explosive projectiles. 
Ammunition for cannon with empty projectiles. 
Ammunition for cannon with sand-loaded projectiles. 
Ammunition for cannon with solid projectiles. 
Ammunition for cannon without projectiles. 
Explosive projectiles. 
Explosive torpedoes. 
- Detonating fuses. 


(Number) blasting caps. 

(Number) electric blasting caps. 

Common fireworks. 

Special fireworks. 

(fe) The following acceptable explosives must be described under their 
proper names as given below, but shipper's certificate is not required: 

Small-arms ammunition. 

Small-arms primers. 

Cannon primers. 

Empty cartridge shells, primed. 

Empty cartridge bags black powder igniters. 

Combination primers. 

Percussion caps. 

Percussion fuses. 

Time fuses. 

Tracer fuses. 

Combination fuses. 

Safety fuse. 

Cordeau detonant. 

Safety squibs. 

Empty projectiles. 

Sand-loaded projectiles. 

Solid projectiles. 

Empty torpedoes. 

(c) Whenever orders are placed in foreign countries for the impor- 
tation of explosives, to be forwarded from port of entry by carriers 
subject to these regulations, the importer must furnish with the order 
to the foreign shipper, and also to the forwarding agent' at the port 
of entry, full and complete information as to the necessary packing 
and* marking required by these regulations. The forwarding agent 
must file with the originating carrier a properly prepared and certified 
shipping order as prescribed herein. 


1642. In handling packages of explosives at stations and in trans- 
ferring them to and from cars the greatest care must be taken, and 
shocks or falls liable to injure the containing package must be avoided. 
Where an inclined chute is employed such chute shall be constructed 
of 1-inch planed boards, with side guards 4 inches high extending 3 
inches above top face of bottom of chute and throughout its length 


fastened with brass screws. D-shaped strips or runners, not more 
than 6 inches apart and running lengthwise of chute, must be fastened 
to the upper surface of the bottom board by means of glue and wooden 
pegs extending through the bottom board and runners. Chutes must 
be occasionally wiped down with waste moistened with machine oil 
when dynamite packages are being handled. 

A stuffed mattress, 4 feet wide by 6 feet long and not less than 4 
inches thick, or a heavy jute or hemp mat of like dimensions, must 
be placed under the discharging end of the chute. 

1643. (a) Careful men must be chosen to handle explosives, the 
platform and the feet of the men must be as free as possible from grit, 
and all possible precautions must be taken against fire. Suitable pro- 
vision must be made, outside of the station when practicable, for the 
safe storage of explosives, and every effort possible must be made to 
reduce the time of this storage. If a shipment of explosives is not 
removed within forty-eight hours after notice of arrival at destination, 
it must be disposed of by return to the shipper, or by storage at the 
expense of the owner, or by sale, or when necessary to safety by destruc- 
tion under supervision of a competent person. 

(6) Unauthorized persons must not have access to explosives or 
other dangerous articles at any time while such articles are in the cus- 
tody of the carrier. 

Loading in Car. 

1644. (a) Packages receive their greatest stresses in a direction 
parallel to the length of the, car and must be loaded so as to offer their 
greatest resistance in this direction. Boxes of dangerous- explosives 
named in paragraph 1661 when loaded in the car must rest on their 
bottoms and with their long dimension parallel to the length of the 

(6) A car must not contain more than 70,000 pounds gross weight 
of explosives. This limit does not apply to shipments of small-arms 
ammunition or ammunition for cannon. 

(c) When the lading of a car includes explosives and exceeds 5000 
pounds the weight of the lading must be distributed in approximately 
equal parts in both ends of the car. 

1645. Explosives packed in kegs, except when boxed, must be loaded 
on their sides with ends toward ends of the car; and packages of explo- 
sives must not be placed in the space opposite the doors unless the door- 
ways are boarded on the inside as high as the lading. 

Large casks, barrels, or drums may be loaded on their sides or ends 
as will best suit the conditions. 


1646. (a) Packages containing any of the explosives for the trans- 
portation of which a certified and placarded car is prescribed (see par. 
1661), must be stayed (blocked and braced) by the one who loads the 
car, by methods not less efficient than those described in Bureau of 
Explosives Pamphlet No. 6, to prevent change of position by the ordi- 
nary shocks incident to transportation. Special care must be used to 
prevent them from falling to the floor or from having anything fall on 
them or slide against them during transit. 

(b) To prevent delays to local freight trains, when there are ship- 
ments of explosives for different destinations loaded in a " peddle car " or 
" way car," the shipments for each destination must be stayed separately. 

(c) Forwarding and transfer stations for explosives must be pro- 
vided with the necessary materials for staying. 

(d) Shippers must furnish the material for staying packages loaded 
by them. 

1647. Detonating fuses or blasting caps, or electric blasting caps, 
must not be loaded in a car or stored with high explosives of any kind, 
including explosive projectiles, nor with wet nitrocellulose. 

1648. Wet fulminate of mercury must not be loaded with any ex- 
plosive or inflammable article. 

1649. Fireworks must not be loaded in the same car nor stored on 
carrier*' property with any explosive named in paragraph 1661. 

1650. Explosives named in paragraph 1661 that require a certified 
car, placarded " EXPLOSIVE," must not be transported in the same 
car with nor stored on railway property near any of the dangerous 
articles for which labels are prescribed by the Regulations for the Trans- 
portation of Dangerous Articles, other than Explosives by Freight. 

1651. In a car containing explosives all packages of other freight 
must be loaded, and when necessary must be stayed to prevent injury 
to packages of explosives during transit. When practicable, explo- 
sives should be loaded so as to avoid transfer at stations. 1 


1652. (a) The carrier must see that each shipment of explosives 
is properly described on the shipping order and on the revenue way- 
bill under one of the names in the " List of shipping names," para- 
graph 1641, and that the correct gross weight is given. 

(6) The revenue waybill or astray waybill for a shipment, and the 
card waybill and envelope containing revenue waybill when used as 
a card waybill for a car containing any of the following explosives: 

1 At stations where it is necessary to handle explosives at night it is recommended that 
incandescent electric lights be provided. 


Low explosives, 

Black powder, 

High explosives, 

Wet fulminate of mercury, 

Ammunition for cannon with explosive projectiles, 

Explosive projectiles, 

Explosive torpedoes, 

Detonating fuses, 

Blasting caps, / In quantity exceeding 1000 blasting caps 

Electric blasting caps, \ or 1000 electric blasting caps, 
must have plainly stamped or plainly written across the top, in letters 
not less than f of an inch high, the word " EXPLOSIVES." 

(c) The revenue waybill and astray waybill for a shipment, and 
the card waybill and envelope containing revenue waybill when used as 
a card waybill for a car containing: 

Ammunition for cannon with empty projectiles, 

Ammunition for cannon with sand-loaded projectiles, 

Ammunition for cannon without projectiles, 

Ammunition for cannon with solid projectiles, 

Smokeless powder for small arms, 

Smokeless powder for cannon, 

Common fireworks, or 

Special fireworks, 

must have plainly stamped or plainly written across the top, in letters 
not less than f of an inch high, the word " INFLAMMABLE." 

(d) No indorsements are required on revenue waybills, card way- 
bills, or other billing for shipments or for cars of the following explo- 

Small-arms ammunition. 

Small-arms primers. 

Cannon primers. 

Empty cartridge shells, primed. 

Empty cartridge bags black powder igniters. 

Combination primers. 

Percussion caps. 

Percussion fuses. 

Time fuses. 

Tracer fuses. 

Combination fuses. 

Safety fuse. 

Cordeau detonant. 

Safety squibs. 


Empty projectiles. 
Sand-loaded projectiles. 
Solid projectiles. 
Empty torpedoes. 
Blasting caps. 
Electric blasting caps 

> In quantity not exceeding 1000 caps. 

Shipments from Connecting Lines. 

1654. (a) Cars containing explosives named in paragraph 1661 
which are offered by connecting lines must be carefully inspected by 
the receiving line on the outside, including the roof, and if practicable 
the lading must also be inspected. These cars must not be forwarded 
until all discovered violations have been corrected. 

(6) If the car shows evidence of, or if there is any reason to sus- 
pect that it has received, rough treatment, the lading must be inspected 
and placed in proper condition before the car is permitted to proceed. 
When interchange occurs and inspection is necessary after dayligLfc 
hours, electric flash lights or other suitable covered lights should be 
provided. Naked lights must not be used. 

(c) Shipments of explosives offered by connecting lines must comply 
with these regulations, and the revenue waybill, freight bill, manifest 
of lading, card waybill, switching order, or other billing must bear the 
indorsement " EXPLOSIVES " or "INFLAMMABLES 7 ' prescribed 
by paragraph 1652 (6) and (c). 

Disposition of Injured, Condemned, and Astray Packages. 

1655. Packages found injured or broken in transit may be recoop- 
ered when this is evidently practicable and not dangerous. A broken 
box of high explosives that can not be recoopered should be reinforced 
by stout wrapping paper and twine, placed in another strong box, and 
surrounded by dry, fine sawdust, or dry and clean cotton waste, or 
elastic wads made from dry newspaper. A ruptured can or keg should be 
inclosed in a grain bag of good quality and boxed or crated. Injured 
packages thus protected and properly marked may be forwarded. 

1656. Condemned packages of leaking explosives should (1) be 
returned immediately to shipper if at point of shipment; or (2) dis- 
posed of to a person who is competent and willing to remove them from 
railway property, if leakage is discovered while in transit; or (3) removed 
immediately by consignee if shipment is at destination. 

When disposition cannot be made as above, the leaking boxes must 
be packed in other boxes large enough to permit, and the leaking box 
must be surrounded by at least 2 inches of dry, fine sawdust, or dry and 


clean cotton waste, and be stored in station magazine or other safe 
place until arrival of an inspector of the Bureau of Explosives or other 
authorized person to superintend the destruction or disposition of the 
condemned material. 

1657. When name and address of consignee or shipper are known, 
an astray shipment must be forwarded to its destination or returned 
to the shipper by the most practicable route, provided a careful inspec- 
tion shows the packages to be in proper condition for safe transportation. 

When a package in an astray shipment is not in proper condition 
for safe transportation (see par. 1655), or when name and address of 
consignee and shipper are unknown, disposition will be made as pre- 
scribed by paragraph 1656. 

Selection and Preparation of Cars. 


1661. For the transportation of carloads or less-than-carload lots 

Low explosives, 
Black powder, 
High explosives, 
Wet fulminate of mercury, 

Blasting caps, ) In quantity exceeding 1000 blasting caps 

Electric blasting caps, \ or 1000 electric blasting caps. 
Ammunition for cannon with explosive projectiles, 
Explosive projectiles, 
Explosive torpedoes, or 
Detonating fuses, 
only certified and placarded box cars may be used. 

Certified Car Placarded " Explosives." 

1662. Certified cars must be inspected inside and outside and must 
conform to the following specifications: 

(a) Box car not less than 60,000 pounds capacity with friction draft 
gear. Steel underframe cars should be used when available. On 
narrow-gauge and other railroads, all of whose freight cars are of less than 
60,000 pounds capacity, explosives may be transported in cars of less 
than that capacity, provided the available cars of greatest capacity and 
strength are used for this purpose. 

(6) Must be equipped with air brakes and hand brakes in condition 
for service. 

(c) Must have no loose boards or cracks in the roof, sides, or ends, 
through which sparks may enter. 


(d) The doors must shut so closely that no sparks can get in at 
the joints, and, when necessary, they must be stripped. The stripping 
for doors should be on the inside and be fastened to the door frame where 
it will form a shoulder against which the closed door is pressed by means 
of wedges or cleats in door shoes or keepers. The openings under the 
doors should be similarly closed. The hasp fastenings must be examined 
with doors closed and fastened and must be cleated when necessary to 
prevent door shifting. 

(e) The journal boxes and trucks must be carefully examined and 
put in such condition as to reduce to a minimum the danger of hot 
boxes or other failure necessitating the setting out of the car before 
reaching destination. The lids or covers of journal boxes must be 
in place. 

(/) The car must be carefully swept out before it is loaded. For 
less-than-carload shipments the space in which the packages are to 
be loaded must be carefully swept. 

Holes in the floor or lining must be repaired and special care taken 
to have no projecting nails or bolts or exposed pieces of metal which 
may work loose or produce holes in packages of explosives during transit. 

(0) When packages of explosives are to be loaded over exposed 
draft bolts or kingbolts, these bolts must have short pieces of solid, 
sound wood with beveled ends (2-inch plank) spiked to the floor over 
them (or empty packages of the same character may be used for this 
purpose) to prevent possibility of their wearing into the packages of 

\ (h) The roof of the car must be carefully inspected from the out- 
side for decayed spots or broken boards, especially under or near the 
running board, and such spots must be covered or repaired to prevent 
their holding fire from sparks. A car with a roof generally decayed, 
even if tight, must not be used. 

(1) The carrier must have the car examined by a competent em- 
ployee to see that it is properly prepared, and must have a " Car cer- 
tificate " signed in triplicate upon the prescribed form (see par. 1665) 
before permitting the car to be loaded. 

(j) Cars not in proper condition, as above specified, must not be 
furnished to the shipper or used for the transportation of explosives. 

Less Dangerous Explosives in Car Placarded " Inflammable." 
1663. (a) Carloads or less-than-carload lots of 
Ammunition for cannon with empty projectiles, 
Ammunition for cannon with sand-loaded projectiles, 
Ammunition for cannon with solid projectiles, 


Ammunition for cannon without projectiles, 

Smokeless powder for small arms, 

Smokeless powder for cannon, or 


may be loaded in any box car which is in good condition into which 
sparks cannot enter and whose roof is not in danger of taking fire through 
unprotected decayed wood. These cars do not require the car certificate 
but must have attached to both side doors and both ends the " INFLAM- 
MABLE " placard prescribed by paragraph 1667, and the doors if not 
tight must be stripped to prevent the entrance of sparks. 

Relatively Safe Explosives in Car Without Placards. 

(6) Carloads or less-than-carload lots of 

Small-arms ammunition, 

Small-arms primers, 

Cannon primers, 

Empty cartridge shells, primed, 

Empty cartridge bags black powder igniters, 

Combination primers, 

Percussion caps, 

Percussion fuses, 

Time fuses, 

Tracer fuses, 

Combination fuses, 

Safety fuse, 

Cordeau detonant, 

Safety squibs, 

Empty projectiles, 

Sand-loaded projectiles, 

Solid projectiles, 

Empty torpedoes, and not exceeding 1000 blasting caps, or 1000 

electric blasting caps, 

may be loaded in any box car which is in good condition, without car 
certificate or placards. 

(c) When specially authorized by the carrier, explosives in quantity 
not exceeding 150 pounds may be carried in construction or repair 
cars when the packages of explosives are placed in a " magazine " box 
made of sound lumber not less than 1 inch thick, covered on the exte- 
rior with metal, and provided with strong handles. This box must 
be plainly stenciled on the top, sides, and ends, in letters not less than 
FULLY." The box must be provided with strong hinges and with 


a lock for keeping it securely closed. Vacant space in the box must 
be filled with a cushioning material such as sawdust or excelsior, and 
the box must be properly stayed in the car to prevent movement. The 
car, when not occupied by a responsible employee, must be placarded 

Placarding of Cars and Certification of Contents. 

1664. Uniform practice is important and the prescribed forms of 
car certificate and placards must be used. 

1665. (a) Car certificate. The following certificate (prescribed by 
par. 1662 (i), printed on strong tagboard measuring 7 by 7 inches, must 
be duly executed in triplicate by the carrier, and by the shipper if he loads 
the shipment. The original must be filed by the carrier at the forward- 
ing station on a separate file, and the other two must be attached to the 
outside of the car doors, one on each side, the lower edge of the certi- 
ficate not less than 4| feet above the floor level. 

(6) At stations where explosives are loaded into a properly certified 
and placarded car received with other shipments of explosives, or car- 
load shipments are reconsigned, a record must be kept of the car, orig- 
inating point, carrier's name and date of car certificate. 


No. 1. Station, , 19 . 

I hereby certify that I have this day personally examined car No. 

and that the roof and sides have no loose boards, holes, or cracks, or unprotected 
decayed spots liable to hold sparks and start a fire; that the kingbolts or draft 
bolts are properly protected and that there are no uncovered irons or nails pro- 
jecting from the floor or sides of the car which might injure packages of explosives; 
also that the floor is in good condition and has this day been cleanly swept before the 
car was loaded ; that I have examined all the axle boxes and that they are properly 
covered, packed, and oiled, and that the air brakes and hand brakes are in condi- 
tion for service. 

Railway employee inspecting car. 

No. 2 Station, , 19. 

I hereby certify that I have this day personally examined the above car; 
that the floor is in good condition and has been cleanly swept and that the roof 
and sides have no loose boards, holes, cracks, or unprotected decayed spots liable 
to hold sparks and start a fire; that the kingbolts and draft bolts are protected, 
and that there are no uncovered irons or nails projecting from the floor or sides 
of the car which might injure packages of explosives; that the explosives in this 
car have been loaded and stayed and that the car has been placarded according 
to paragraphs 1644 to 1651, inclusive, 1661, and 1666, of the Regulations for the 
Transportation of Explosives prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Commis- 
sion; that the doors fit or have been stripped so that sparks cannot get in at the 
joints or bottom. 


Railway employee inspecting loading and staying. 

NOTE. Both certificates must be signed, Certificate No. 1 by the represen- 
tative of the carrier. For all shipments loaded by the shipper he or his authorized 



agent must sign certificate No. 2, and the representative of the carrier must 
certify as to loading and staying and general condition. When the car is not 
loaded by shipper, certificate No. 2 must be signed only by the representative of 
the carrier. A shipper should decline to use a car not in proper condition. 

" Explosive " Placard 

1666. Placard. A certified car for the dangerous explosives speci- 
fied in paragraph 1661 must be protected by attaching to each outside 
end and side door, the lower edge not less than 4| feet above the car 
floor, a standard placard 12 by 14 inches, on which appears in con- 
spicuous red and black printing on strong tag board the following 
notice : 







2. Cars containing explosives must 
center of train and may be together if desired; mut 
be at least IS car. from engine and 10 car. from 
taboo* when length of train will permit 

3. Thi> car must not be placed next to car. 
bearing the inflammable or the acid placard or 
cart containing lighted heater.. Whenever it u 
pouibie to avoid to doing it mutt not be placed next 
to tank can or flat car. or next to carloads of lumber, 
pole., iron, pipe, or other articles liable to break 
through 5 nd ofYar from rough handling. 

4. The air and hand braKes on tMs car must be 
in service. 

5. In shifting have a car between this car and 
engine whenever possible, and do not cut this car off 

fi!" Avoid"..!! shocks to this car and couple care- 

" 'j. Avoid placing it near a possible source of fire. 

8. Engines on parallel track must not be allowed 

to stand opposite or near this car when it can be 

* V01 9. This placard must be removed from car when 
the explosives are unloaded. 

NOTE. Carriers will be permitted to use their present supply of placards, 
but all new supplies must conform to the amended form. 

" Inflammable " Placard. 

1667. A placard of diamond shape printed on strong tag board 
measuring lOf inches on each side and bearing in red and black letters 
the inscription prescribed by paragraph 1913 must be placed on each 
outside end and side door of a car containing any quantity of smokeless 
powder for cannon, or smokeless powder for small arms, or ammunition 
for cannon with empty projectiles, or ammunition for cannon with sand- 
loaded projectiles, or ammunition for cannon with solid projectiles, or 
ammunition for cannon without projectiles, or fireworks. 


Handling Cars Containing Explosives. 

1680. The phrase " cars containing explosives " as used in this and 
subsequent paragraphs, excepting paragraph 1697, refers to the dan- 
gerous explosives specified in paragraph 1661, which require a certified 
car placarded " EXPLOSIVES." 

1681. Under no circumstances must a car known to require the 
" EXPLOSIVE " placard be taken from a station, including transfer 
stations or interchange points, a siding, or yard, unless it is properly 
placarded as per paragraphs 1665 and 1666, nor unless the car is in 
proper condition. The carrier must see that its representative in 
charge of a freight train makes a thorough check of the cars bearing 
" INFLAMMABLE," " ACID," and " EXPLOSIVE " placards with 
the billing to see that all placards required are attached and that those 
not required are removed. 

1682. Every possible effort must be made to expedite the move- 
ment of cars containing explosives, and no unnecessary delay must 
occur at initial, interchange, or transfer stations. 

1683. When a car containing explosives is in a train, the carrier 
must make proper provision for notifying its train and engine employees 
of the presence and location of such car in the train before leaving the 
initial station. 

1684. Such cars must be frequently inspected to see that the pla- 
cards and car certificates are intact. Whenever any of these become 
detached or lost in transit, they must be replaced on arrival at the 
next division terminal yard, if in through freight train, or at first station 
stop if in local freight train. 

1685. On lines where regular trains are operated for freight service 
only, cars containing explosives must not be hauled in a train that 
carries passengers. Where only a mixed train service is operated or 
where passengers are carried in the caboose car of a freight train, a car 
containing a freight shipment of explosives may be hauled, but it must 
not be placed next to a car carrying passengers, and whenever it is 
practicable to do so, such a car or cars must be placed between freight 
cars not bearing " ACID " or " INFLAMMABLE " placards. Cars 
containing explosives must have air and hand brakes in service. 

1686. (a) In through freight trains they must be placed near the 
middle of the train, and two or more such cars may be placed together 
if desired. They must be at least 15 cars from the engine and 10 cars 
from the caboose when length of the train will permit. They must 
not be placed next to cars bearing the " INFLAMMABLE " or the 
"ACID" placard, or cars containing lighted heaters. Whenever it 


is possible to avoid so doing they must not be placed next to tank cars 
or wooden-frame flat cars or next to carloads of lumber, poles, iron, 
pipe, or other articles to break through end of car from rough handling. 
(b) These requirements apply also to local freight trains except 
that to avoid the danger of otherwise unnecessary switching at way 
stations, cars containing explosives may be placed not closer than the 
second car from caboose or the second car from engine. They must 
be placed between cars that do not bear the " INFLAMMABLE " or 
" ACID " placards, if such cars are in the train. 

1687. (a) If shipments of explosives are accepted at nonagency 
stations, provision must be made for the proper certification and pla- 
carding of cars, examination of shipments, and loading and staying 
of packages in cars. 

(b) Shipments of explosives must not be unloaded at nonagency 
stations unless the consignee is there to receive them, or unless proper 
storage facilities are provided at that point for their protection. 

1688. When handling cars containing explosives in yards or on 
sidings, they must, if it is practically possible, be coupled to the engine, 
protected by a car between, and they must never be cut off while in 

Cars containing explosives must not be handled in switching or 
in trains, with doors open. 

1689. They must be coupled carefully and all unnecessary shocks 
must be avoided. Other cars must not be cut off and allowed to strike 
a car containing explosives. They must be so placed in yards or on 
sidings that they will be subject to as little handling as possible, and be 
removed from all danger of fire. They must not be placed on tracks 
under bridges, and, when avoidable, engines on parallel tracks must 
not be allowed to stand opposite or near them. 

1690. At points where trains stop and time permits, cars contain- 
ing explosives and adjacent cars must be examined to see that they 
are in good condition and free from hot boxes or other defects liable 
to cause damage. If cars containing explosives are set out short of 
destination for any cause the carrier must arrange that proper notice 
be given to prevent accident. 

1691. Whenever a car containing explosives is opened for any pur- 
pose and in every instance after such a car has received rough treat- 
ment, inspection must be made of the packages of explosives as soon as 
practicable without unnecessary disturbance of lading to see that they 
are properly loaded and stayed and in good condition. Upon the 
discovery of leaking or broken packages, they must be carefully removed 
to a safe place. Loose powder or other explosives must be swept up and 


carefully removed. If the floor is wet with nitroglycerin, the car is 
unsafe to use and a representative of the Bureau of Explosives should 
be immediately called to superintend the through mopping and washing 
of the floor with a warm, saturated solution of concentrated lye or sodium 
carbonate. If necessary, the car must be placed on an isolated siding 
and proper notice given. 

1692. Removal of Placards. The certificates and placards pre- 
scribed in paragraphs 1665, 1666, and 1667 must be removed from 
the car as soon as the explosives are unloaded. 

In Case of a Wreck. 

1697. In case of a wreck involving a car containing explosives, the 
first and most important precaution is to prevent fire. Before begin- 
ning to clear a wreck in which a car containing explosives is involved all 
unbroken packages should be removed to a place of safety and as much 
of the broken packages as possible gathered up and likewise removed, 
and the rest saturated with water. Many explosives are readily fired 
by a blow or by the spark produced when two pieces of metal or a piece 
of metal and a stone come violently together. In clearing a wreck, 
therefore, care must be taken not to strike fire with tools, and in using 
the crane or locomotive to tear the wreckage in pieces the possibility of 
producing sparks must be considered. With most explosives thorough 
wetting with water practically removes all danger of explosion by spark 
or blow; but with the dynamites wetting does not make them safe from 
blows. With all explosives mixing with wet earth renders them safer 
from either fire, spark, or blow. In case fulminate has been scattered 
by a wreck, after the wreck has been cleared the wet surface of the 
ground should be removed, and, after saturating the area with oil, be 
replaced by fresh earth. If this is not done, when the ground and ful- 
minate become dry small explosions may occur when the mixed material 
is trodden on or struck. 



Prescribed under act of Mar. 4, 1909, and sec. 15 of the act to regulate commerce as amended 
June 18, 1910. Originally formulated and published Jan. 1, 1912, effective Mar. 31, 
1912. Revision formulated and published July 2, 1914. Effective on October 1, 
1914, and superseding the regulations published Jan. 1, 1912. 


A. Special precautions are necessary in preparing for shipment by 
express packages of explosives and other dangerous articles. Any 
failure of the shipper or of a carrier to perform the duties imposed upon 
him in this respect may be the actual or contributory cause of a serious 
accident or fire. 

B. Sections 235 and 236 of the act of March 4, 1909, require the 
shipper of explosives or other dangerous articles to describe and mark 
his package properly, and to inform the agent of the carrier of the true 
character of the contents. Heavy penalties are provided for the shipper 
who knowingly offers for transportation a dangerous article without 
complying with these requirements, as well as for the carrier that know- 
ingly transports it. 

C. To promote the uniform enforcement of the law and to provide 
for the safe transportation by express service in interstate commerce 
of such explosives and other dangerous articles as can be transported 
legally and safely on* passenger trains, the following regulations are pre- 
scribed to define these articles for express transportation purposes, to 
state the precautions that must be observed by the shipper in prepar- 
ing them for shipment and by the express carrier in handling them 
while in transit. 

D. The Bureau for the Safe Transportation of Explosives and Other 
Dangerous Articles, hereinafter called Bureau of Explosives, organized 
by the railways under the auspices of the American Railway Association, 
is an efficient bureau in charge of an expert chief inspector. This bureau 
will make inspections and conduct investigations, and will confer with 
manufacturers and shippers and express carriers with a view of deter- 
mining what specifications and regulations will, within reasonable limits, 
afford the highest degree* of safety in packing and preparing dangerous 
articles for shipment and in transporting the same. The Commission 
will seek to avail itself of the expert knowledge thus developed and in 
formulating amendments to these regulations, while not bound thereby, 
will give due weight to such expert opinions. 


E. These regulations apply to all shipments of explosives or other 
dangerous articles as defined herein, including carriers' material and 

F. Shipments of dangerous articles which under these regulations 
may be transported by express, and which under individual carriers' 
regulations are transported as baggage on passenger trains, must be 
packed, marked, and labeled as prescribed herein for express ship- 

G. Express carriers that are subject to the act to regulate com- 
merce and shippers must make these regulations effective, and must 
provide for the thorough instruction of their employees therein. Ex- 
press carriers must not receive shipments of articles defined as dangerous 
by these regulations when the shipments are not packed, marked, labeled, 
described, and certified as prescribed herein. 

H. Explosives and other dangerous articles the transportation of 
which by passenger trains is prohibited by law must not be offered 
for shipment. The method of manufacturing and packing articles 
defined as dangerous by these regulations, so far as it affects safe trans- 
portation, must be open to inspection by a duly authorized representa- 
tive of the initial carrier, or of the Bureau of Explosives, 


1. All shipments of articles subject to these regulations offered for 
transportation by express in interstate commerce must be properly 
described by the shipper, and the proper and definite name of the dan- 
gerous article must be marked on the outside of the package, in addition 
to the labels required herein. 

2. (a) Articles for which detailed instructions for packing are not 
given herein must be securely packed in containers strong enough to 
stand without rupture or leakage of contents a drop of 4 feet to solid 
brick or concrete. 

(6) Whenever orders are placed in foreign countries for the importa- 
tion of dangerous articles to be forwarded from port of entry by express, 
the importer must furnish with the order to the foreign shipper and 
also to the forwarding agent at the port of entry, full and complete 
information as to the necessary packing, marking, and labeling required 
by these regulations. The forwarding agent must see that the packages 
are properly packed, marked, and labeled. 

(c) Unless specifically authorized by these regulations, acceptable 
explosives must not be packed in the same outside package with each 
other or with other articles. 


Information and Definitions. 

3. For transportation by express, explosives and other dangerous 
articles are divided into the following groups : 

1. Forbidden articles. 

2. Acceptable explosives. 

3. Acceptable dangerous articles. 

Group 1. Forbidden Articles. 

4. Except when shipped by the War or Navy Department of the 
United States Government in time of war or of threatened war, the 
following articles must not be shipped by express, except as provided 
in section 232 of the act of March 4, 1909. (See par. 5 (a) ): 

(a) Low explosives or black powder. 

(6) High explosives, including nitroglycerin explosives, chlorate 
powders, nitrate of ammonia powders, dry picric acid, 1 dry picrates, 
dry nitrocellulose (gun cotton, negative cotton), dry nitrostarch or dry 

(c) Smokeless powder for cannon. 

(d) Smokeless powder for small arms, except in ammunition for 
small arms. 

(e) Fulminate of mercury or of any other metal, except in manu- 
factured products not forbidden. 

(/) Blasting caps, including electric blasting caps. 

(g) Ammunition for cannon, with or without projectiles. 

(h) Detonating fuses. 

(i) Explosive projectiles. 

0') Liquid nitroglycerin. 

(k) Fireworks that combine an explosive and a detonator or blast- 
ing cap. 

(/) Fireworks containing a match tip or head, or similar igniting 
point or surface, unless each such individual tip, head, igniting point, 
or surface is entirely covered and securely protected from accidental 
contact or friction with any other surface. 

(m) Fireworks that ignite spontaneously or undergo marked decom- 
position when subjected for forty-eight consecutive hours to the tem- 
perature of 75 C. (167 F.). 

(n) Firecrackers whose dimensions exceed 5 inches in length or 

1 Picric acid for medicinal purposes, and not exceeding 4 ounces in one outside package, 
may be shipped without other restrictions .when in securely closed glass bottles, properly 
cushioned to prevent breakage. 


f inch in diameter, or whose explosive charges exceed 45 grains each 
in weight. 

(o) Toy torpedoes exceeding 1 inches in diameter, or toy caps 
containing more than an average of thirty-five-one hundredths of a 
grain of explosive composition per cap. 

(p) Fireworks that can be exploded en masse by a blasting cap 
placed in one of the units, or by impact of a rifle bullet, or otherwise. 

(q) Explosives or other dangerous articles properly condemned by 
the Bureau of Explosives (except properly repacked samples for labora- 
tory examination). 

(r) Outside packages ' containing in the same compartment interior 
packages the mixture of whose contents would be liable to cause a danger- 
ous evolution of heat, gas, or corrosive materials. 

(a) Cylinders containing gases capable of combining chemically. 

00 Packages containing a dangerous article in a leaky condition, 
or in such an insecure condition as to make leakage probable during 

(u) Rags or cotton waste oily with more than 5 per cent of animal 
or vegetable oil, or wet rags. 

(v) Boxes or kegs that have been previously used for high explosives 
must not be again used for shipments of any character. 

(w) Carbon bisulphide, pyroxylin scrap (celluloid, fiberloid, pyra- 
lin, viscoloid, zylonite, etc., scrap), charcoal screenings, and white 
or yellow phosphorus except as provided in paragraph 42 (6). 

Group 2. Acceptable Explosives. 

5. The following explosives may be accepted for transportation 
by express, when offered in compliance with these regulations: 

(a) Samples of explosives for laboratory examination, when prop- 
erly packed and riot exceeding a net weight of \ pound for each sample, 
and not exceeding twenty such samples at one time in a single vessel or 
vehicle. (See pars. 4, 6, and 14.) 

(6) Small-arms ammunition. 

(c) Small-arms primers. 

(d) Cannon primers. 

(e) Percussion fuses, including tracer fuses. 
(/) Time or combination fuses. 

(g) Safety fuse. 

(h) Cordeau detonant. 

(0 Safety squibs. 

(f) Common fireworks and special fireworks except when forbid- 
den. (See par. 4.) 



6. The only samples of explosives that can lawfully be shipped by 
express are those intended for examination in a laboratory and not 
intended for use or demonstration. 

7. Small-arms ammunition (such as is used in sporting or fowling 
pieces or in rifle or pistol practice, etc.) consists usually of a paper or 
metallic shell, the primer, and the powder charge with or without 
shot or bullet the materials necessary for one firing being all in one 

8. Percussion and time fuses and primers are devices used to ignite 
the black-powder bursting charges of projectiles or the powder charges 
of ammunition. For small-arms ammunition the primers are usually 
called " small-arms primers " or " percussion caps." Tracer fuses 
consist of a device which is attached to a projectile and contains a slow- 
burning composition, to show the flight of projectiles at night. 

9. (a) Safety fuse consists ordinarily of a core of granular black 
powder, which is surrounded by yarn, tape, pitch, rubber, etc. 

(6) Cordeau detonant is a fuse containing trinitrotoluol assembled 
in a drawn lead tube. 

10. Safety squibs are small paper tubes containing a small quantity 
of black powder, one end of each tube being twisted and generally 
tipped with sulphur. 

11. Fireworks include everything that is designed and manufac- 
tured primarily for the purpose of producing a visible or audible pyro- 
technic effect by combustion or by explosion. They consist of com- 
mon fireworks and special fireworks. 

12. Common fireworks include all that depend principally upon 
nitrates to support combustion, and not upon chlorates; that contain 
no phosphorus and no high explosive sensitive to shock or friction; 
that produce their effect through color display rather than by loud 
noises. If noise is the principal object, the units must be small and 
of such nature and manufacture that they will explode separately and 
harmlessly, if at all, when one unit is ignited in a packing case. They 
must not be designed for ignition by shock or friction. Examples are 
Chinese firecrackers, Roman candles, pin wheels, colored fires, rockets, 
serpents, railway fusees, flash powders, etc. 

13. Special fireworks include all that contain any quantity of phos- 
phorus, a fulminate, or other high explosive sensitive to shock or fric- 
tion; or that contain units of such size that the explosion of one while 
being handled would produce a serious injury; or that require a spe- 
cial appliance or tool, mortar, holder, etc., for their safe use; or that 


are designed for ignition by shock or friction. Examples are giant 
firecrackers, bombs, and salutes not forbidden by paragraph 4, toy 
torpedoes and caps, ammunition pellets fired in a special holder, rail- 
way torpedoes, etc. 


14. Packing. Samples of explosives for laboratory examination 
must be placed in well-secured metal cans or glass bottles, or in strong 
waterproof paper or cardboard packages, containing not more than 
^ pound each, and the interior package must be placed in dry sawdust 
or similar cushioning material in a strong and tight wooden box, with 
ends not less than 1 inch thick, and top, bottom, and sides not less 
than \ inch thick when a nailed box is used, or with ends, top, bottom, 
and sides not less than f inch thick when of lock-cornered construction. 

15. Weight. Not more than 20 half-pound samples of explosives 
for laboratory examination may be placed in one outside box or trans- 
ported at one time. 

16. Marking. Each outside package containing samples of ex- 
plosives for laboratory examination must have securely and conspicu- 
ously attached to it a square, red. certificate label measuring 4 inches 
on each side and bearing in black letters the following; 

4 Inches 


Sample for Laboratory 


THU I* to certify tfcat tfi. a* artletaa r prprfy tfcMrik* 
I nm nd mrm peeked and marked and are In prpar oentfltla* far 
transportation, aeeerdlnf to th* rag ulatlona pr..ori.d ky the later* 
UU e*mmoroe Commission. 

Red label for samples of explosives. (Reduced size.) 



17. Small-arms ammunition must be packed in pasteboard or other 
boxes, and these pasteboard or other boxes must be packed in strong 
outside wooden or metal containers. Small-arms ammunition, in 
pasteboard or other boxes and in quantity not exceeding a gross weight 
of 75 pounds, may be packed with nonexplosive and noninflammable 
articles, and with small-arms primers or percussion caps, provided the 
outside wooden or metal package is plainly marked " SMALL-ARMS 

18. Primers and percussion and time fuses must be packed in 
strong, tight, wooden or metal containers, with special provision for se- 
curing individual packages of primers and fuses against movement in 

19. Small-arms primers containing anvils must be packed in cellu- 
lar packages with partitions separating the layers and columns of 
primers, so that the explosion of a portion of the primers in the com- 
pleted shipping package will not cause the explosion of all of the 

20. Percussion caps may be packed in metal or other boxes con- 
taining not more than 500 caps, but the construction of the cap and 
the kind and quantity of explosives in each must be such that the explo- 
sion of a part of the caps in the completed shipping package will not cause 
the explosion of all of the caps. 

21. Small-arms primers and percussion caps may form a part of 
the gross weight of 75 pounds of small-arms ammunition that may be 
packed with other articles as authorized by paragraph 17. 

22. Safety fuse, cordeau detonant, and safety squibs must be 
packed in strong, tight wooden boxes or barrels. 

23. Weight. The gross weight of one outside package containing 
small-arms ammunition, primers, percussion caps, or percussion or 
time fuses must not exceed 150 pounds. 

24. Marking. Each outside box must be plainly marked " SMALL- 


SQUIBS," etc. 


25. (a) Common fireworks must be in a finished state, exclusive 
of mere ornamentation, as supplied to the retail trade, and must be 
securely packed in strong, tight, spark-proof wooden barrels com- 
plying with specification No. 11, or in wooden boxes complying with 
specification No. 12A. 

(6) Special fireworks must be in a finished state, exclusive of mere 
ornamentation, as supplied to the retail trade, and must not contain 
forbidden explosives. (See par. 4.) They must be packed in strong, 
spark-proof wooden barrels that comply with specification No. 11 or 
in wooden boxes that comply with specification No. 12. 

26. Weight. The gross weight of one outside package containing 
common fireworks must not exceed 200 pounds, and the gross weight 
of one outside package containing special fireworks must not exceed 
100 pounds; the gross weight of an outside package containing only 
toy torpedoes must not exceed 65 pounds. 

27. Marking. All outside boxes or barrels containing common 
fireworks must be plainly marked "COMMON FIREWORKS- 
KEEP FIRE AWAY," and all outside boxes or barrels containing 
special fireworks or a mixture of common and special fireworks must 
FULLYKEEP FIRE AWAY," in letters not less than & inch in 

28. Label. Each outside package containing common or special 
fireworks must have securely and conspicuously attached to it a square, 
red certificate label measuring 4 inches on each side and bearing in 
black letters the following: 



4 Inches 




This package must not be loaded OP 

stored near steam pipes or 

other source of heat 

This tUertlfy that tho above articles are , 

<c rlb. 

y Ham* and arc packed and marked and are In proper condition for 
transportation, according to the regulations prescribed j the Inter* 
tate Commerce Commission. 

Red label for fireworks. (Reduced size.) 


NOTE For information covering transportation of dangerous in- 
flammable articles other than explosives, and for specifications for 
shipping containers, etc., consult latest complete Interstate Commerce 
Commission Regulations for Transportation of Explosives and Other- 
Dangerous Articles by Freight and Express, 



By an act entitled " An act to codify, revise, and amend the penal 
laws of the United States," approved March 4, 1909, to take effect 
and be in force on and after the 1st day of January, 1910, the act 
entitled " An act to promote the safe transportation in interstate com- 
merce of explosives and other dangerous articles, and to provide penal- 
ties for its violation," approved May 30, 1908, is repealed, and the 
following sections of said act to codify, revise, and amend the penal 
laws of the United States are substituted therefor: 

SEC. 232. It shall be unlawful to transport, carry, or convey, any 
dynamite, gunpowder, or other explosive, between a place in a foreign 
country and a place within or subject to the jurisdiction of the United 
States, or between a place in any State, Territory, or District of the 
United States, or place noncontiguous to but subject to the jurisdiction 
thereof, and a place in any other State, Territory, or District of the 
United States, or place noncontiguous to but subject to the jurisdiction 
thereof, on any vessel or vehicle of any description operated by a common 
carrier, which vessel or vehicle is carrying passengers for hire: Pro- 
vided, That it shall be lawful to transport on any such vessel or vehicle 
small arms ammunition in any quantity, and such fuses, torpedoes, 
rockets, or other signal devices, as may be essential to promote safety 
in operation, and properly packed and marked samples of explosives 
for laboratory examination, not exceeding a net weight of one-ha 
pound each, and not exceeding twenty samples at one time in a single 
vessel or vehicle; but such samples shall not be carried in that part of a 
vessel or vehicle which is intended for the transportation of passengess 
for hire: Provided further, That nothing in this section shall be con- 
strued to prevent the transportation of military or naval forces with 
their accompanying munitions of war on passenger equipment vessels 
or vehicles. 

SEC. 233. The Interstate Commerce Commission shall formulate 
regulations for the safe transportation of explosives, which shall be 
binding upon all common carriers engaged in interstate or foreign com- 
merce which transport explosives by land. Said commission, of its own 
motion, or upon application made by any interested party, may make 
changes or modifications in such regulations, made desirable by new 
information or altered conditions. Such regulations shall be in accord 
with the best known practicable means for securing safety in transit, 
covering the packing, marking, loading, handling while in transit, and 
the precautions necessary to determine whether the material when 


offered is in proper condition to transport. Such regulations, as well 
as all changes or modifications thereof, shall take effect ninety days after 
their formulation and publication by said commission and shall be in 
effect until reversed, set aside, or modified. 

SEC. 234. It shall be unlawful to transport, carry, or convey liquid 
nitroglycerin, fulminate in bulk in dry condition, or other like explo- 
sive, between a place in a foreign country and a place within or sub- 
ject to the jurisdiction of the United States, or between place in one 
State, Territory, or District of the United States, or a place noncon- 
tiguous to but subject to the jurisdiction thereof, and a place in any 
other State, Territory, or District of the United States, or place non- 
contiguous to but subject to the jurisdiction thereof, on any vessel or 
vehicle of any description operated by a common carrier in the trans- 
portation of passengers or articles of commerce by land or water. 

SEC. 235. Every package containing explosives or other dangerous 
articles when presented to a common carrier for shipment shall have 
plainly marked on the outside thereof the contents thereof; and it 
shall be unlawful for any person to deliver, or cause to be delivered, 
to any common carrier engaged in interstate or foreign commerce by 
land or water, for interstate or foreign transportation, or to carry upon 
any vessel or vehicle engaged in interstate or foreign transportation, 
any explosive, or other dangerous article, under any false or deceptive 
marking, description, invoice, shipping order, or other declaration, or 
without informing the agent of such carrier of the true character thereof, 
at or before the time such delivery or carriage is made. Whoever 
shall knowingly violate, or cause to be violated, any provision of this 
section, or of the three sections last preceding, or any regulation made 
by the Interstate Commerce Commission in pursuance thereof, shall be 
fined not more than two thousand dollars, or imprisoned not more than 
eighteen months, or both. 

SEC. 236. When the death or bodily injury of any person is caused 
by the explosion of any article named in the four sections last preced- 
ing, while the same is being placed upon any vessel or vehicle to be 
transported in violation thereof, or while the same is being so transported, 
or while the same is being removed from such vessel or vehicle, the 
person knowingly placing, or aiding or permitting the placing, of such 
articles upon any such vessel or vehicle, to be so transported, shall be 
imprisoned not more than ten years, 




The human race is living at the bottom of an ocean of atmosphere 
some 6 or 7 miles deep. Although it is not always realized by the un- 
scientific mind, this aerial sea has weight and exerts a pressure upon all 
bodies of approximately 15 pounds to the square inch. Roughly speak- 
ing, and disregarding a small amount of rare gases and impurities, the 
air consists of about one-fifth oxygen and four-fifths of the inert gas 

Every intelligent person knows that oxygen is the breath of life, 
and that nitrogen serves the purpose of just sufficiently diluting the 
oxygen so that the combustion of waste carbon conveyed by the blood 
to the body tissues goes on at the steady rate which conforms to the life 
processes of all animals. With this general knowledge in regard to the 
element nitrogen, the ordinary, well-informed, non-technical man rests 

Educated people are, of course, aware that fixed nitrogen in com- 
bination with carbon, hydrogen, and some few other minor elements 
is built up by vegetable life and, in turn, assimilated into the bodies 
of animals, thus supplying our food of almost every variety. It is 
also fairly well understood that in the processes of digestion the complex 
nitrogenous bodies built up by plant life are broken down to simpler forms, 
in part supplying animal life energy and in part being voided by the 
animal, the manurial nitrogen products going back to the soil, thus com- 
pleting what is known as the nitrogen cycle, caught in the wheel of which 
all material life, including the much-vaunted culture and progress of 
modern civilization, hangs suspended. 

One thing that is not very generally apprehended by educated 
people, however, is that without fixed nitrogen in great abundance 
mankind could not wage war upon one another under modern con- 
ditions. Ever since gunpowder replaced the bow and arrow fixed nitro- 
gen has been used by man to hurl destructive missiles at his adversaries. 
In fact, it should be stated that no explosive substance has ever been 
used in peace or war which did not depend for its activity on the extraor- 
dinary properties of the element nitrogen, which, as the major con- 
stituent of the air we breathe, could almost be said to content itself 
with the inert and pacific role of toning down the activities of its rest- 
less neighbor, oxygen. 

1 Communicated by the author, Reprinted from the Journal of the Franklin Insti- 
tute, February, 1916. 





It becomes evident, from what has been said, that there must be 
some vital and important difference in character or quality between 
what may be termed fixed and unfixed nitrogen. In other words, it 
should be understood that all life and phenomenal existence, on this 
planet at least, depend upon the simple fact that the element nitrogen 
is able to assume two roles, in one of which it is unfixed, inert, sluggish, 
and slow to enter into combination with other elements, and in the other 
of which it is active, reactive, restless, ever ready to break down into 
new combinations, absorbing and giving out enormous energy as the 
restless changes take place. Whether the changes take place in a meas- 
ured and orderly fashion, as in plant-cell growth and animal digestion, 
or with the most sudden and terrible violence, as in the case of high 
explosives,, the energies either absorbed or released are equally potent 
and measurable. The celebrated chemist Berzelius once said of the ele- 
ment nitrogen as it occurs in the air, " It is difficult to recognize by any 
conspicuous property, but can only be recognized by means of properties 
which it does not possess." 

Before pursuing our subject further it will be necessary to make 
quite clear what is meant by inert, unfixed nitrogen and active or fixed 
nitrogen. This explanation must be made in such a way that all appar- 
ent contradictions will immediately disappear. Gaseous nitrogen as it 
exists in the atmosphere has been proved by scientific methods to consist 
of a molecule made up of two atoms bound together by the equivalent 
of three bonds of affinity. What is meant is made clearer if we write 
a sort of alphabetical expression of the inert nitrogen molecule, as follows: 


It should not be supposed that the three bonds are actually arms or 
linkages holding the atoms together; they simply represent actually 
existent atomic forces, so that we may say that the element nitrogen 
is trivalent. In the same way we know that the element hydrogen is 
univalent, and we may express this by writing H H, for the mole- 
cule of hydrogen is also known to be diatomic. 

Now, suppose that by some means it is desired to combine or fix 
nitrogen to hydrogen; it is at once apparent that we should have to 
expend energy to tear apart the molecular bonds before we can fix 
the two elements together. In other words, the N^N would have 


to pass through the condition N= and !=N. Similarly, the H H 
would have to split up into H and H. Subsequently the two ele- 
ments might combine to form ammonia. 

N H. 


For the purpose of this paper it is not necessary to go deeper into 
the combining valences of the different elements which it will be neces- 
sary to discuss. Only the simplest combination of nitrogen and hydro- 
gen, viz., ammonia, has been mentioned in order to show the differ- 
ence between fixed nitrogen and the inert or unfixed state of this gas 
as it exists in the air, with all its chemical affinities self-satisfied; in 
short, in the condition N=N. If, however, this union is torn apart, 
N^ is in an actively unsatisfied state and is prepared to fix itself into 
myriads of combinations with other elements. In other words, the mole- 
cule of nitrogen is quiet and well behaved, whereas the free atom of 
nitrogen is dynamically and even, in some combinations, very terribly 
reactive. It is this underlying chemical fact that has enabled men to 
slaughter and destroy each other on the gigantic scale now being demon- 

Those who have followed this explanation will readily see that it 
is not possible to maintain nitrogen in the condition of free unsatisfied 
atoms (N=), for the simple reason that these atoms would return to 
the stable, quiescent molecule (N=N), possibly with explosive energy. 
In order to take advantage of the reactive condition, it is necessary 
to lightly fix the nitrogen atom to some other atoms or groups of atoms 
in such a manner or in such a combination that the nitrogen at a blow 
can be suddenly released. Let us take the simplest example of what is 
meant. By an experiment so simple that the merest tyro in chemistry 
can perform it, ammonia can be made to react with the univalent element 
iodine to form the compound known as nitrogen iodide, in which iodine 

H I 

is made to replace the hydrogen, so that N H becomes N I. Now, 

-H I 

this nitrogen iodide is a brown powder which, when carefully dried, will 
remain innocently enough, resting quietly unchanged. If, however, 
we even so much as tickle this brown substance with a feather, or even 
if a door in the building in which it lies is rudely slammed, a terrible 
detonating explosion will occur, and the air will be filled with the stifling, 
violet-colored fumes of iodine. A quantity of this powder which could 
be heaped on the surface of a small silver coin would be sufficient to 
wreck everything in its neighborhood. 


Whence this extraordinary energy? The thermodynamics of this 
and similar reactions are too complicated and mathematical to discuss 
here, but it is easy to see that the atomic forces at work in the sudden 
liberation of free nitrogen and iodine atoms, and their instantaneous 
rearrangement into inert molecules, involve enormous energy effects. 
Of course, nitrogen iodide is too treacherous a substance to be used 
as a high explosive, for in the dry condition the merest jar would cause 
it to detonate. It is obvious, therefore, that it has been the task of the 
chemist to find ways of locking nitrogen to other elements or groups 
of elements, with the result that it will be fixed tightly enough so that 
premature explosion will be avoided, but not so tightly but that it can 
be exploded by small quantities of more reactive nitrogen compounds 
made up in the form of percussion caps or detonators. All modern 
high explosives are just such chemical combinations of nitrogen as this, 
and we have, among others, nitroglycerin (dynamite), nitrocellulose 
(guncotton), trinitro-phenol (picric acid), nitrogelatine, trinitro-benzene, 
trinitro-toluene, etc. Masked under such trade names as lyddite, 
melinite, turpenite, cordite, etc., these nitrogen compounds are products of 
modern chemistry known and used by the armies and navies of the world. 

In a later paragraph we shall have occasion to return to the consti- 
tutions of these more complicated nitro-substitution products. For 
the present, it will be necessary to inquire into the source and supply 
of the combined or fixed nitrogen on which modern warfare depends. 

On the western coast of South America, in Chile and Peru, there 
occur vast natural deposits of nitrate of sodium, commonly known as 
Chile saltpeter. These deposits, with certain exceptions which will 
be noted later, constitute the world's supply of fixed or combined nitro- 
gen, and in times of peace set the price for all combined nitrogen from 
whatsoever source derived. In sodium nitrate the nitrogen is linked 
to oxygen. Treated with sulphuric acid, which is cheap and abundant, 
sodium nitrate yields nitric' acid. Various organic substances treated 
under certain conditions with nitric acid yield nitro-substitution bodies 
which are used as dyes, while other of these bodies are the high explo- 
sives referred to above. But sodium nitrate, for reasons that will now 
be apparent to the reader, is necessary as a fertilizer to keep up the 
fertility of the soil and thus make it possible for mankind to work out his 
destiny through the nitrogen cycle to which he is linked. It is indeed 
a curious thought that these natural deposits in a more or less remote 
corner of the world should exercise so great an influence on man and in 
so diverse a manner on his life in the growth of the food he eats, and 
on his death in the production of destructive explosive agents, capable 
of killing thousands at a single blow. 


In spite of the vastness of the Chilean nitrate beds, thoughtful 
scientific men have for many years given warning of the danger of their 
exhaustion. In 1898, Sir William Crookes, in his presidential address 
before the British Association for the Advancement of Science, dwelt 
in the most earnest manner upon the importance of this problem, and 
urged upon the attention of chemists and physicists the necessity for 
developing methods for fixing the inexhaustible supply of nitrogen in the 

The present annual output of the Chilean fields amounts to about 
2,500,000 tons. A recent scientific article x on this subject states: 

While there are a few scattered natural deposits other than those in Chile, 
there is none which has at the present time a chance of competing, most of them 
being of limited extent and situated in inaccessible regions. In Chile the deposits 
are easily worked, and even after years of careless mining, with no effort to effect 
economies, the present cost of producing nitrate is not excessive, varying from 
$10 to $20 per ton and selling in Liverpool for about $45 per ton. This leaves 
a profit of from $5 to $10 a ton on the operation, after paying the Government 
of Chile an export tax of about $12.25 per ton. In the past thirty years this 
export tax has netted the Chilean Government about $500,000,000. Of the 
total production of Chile, the United States imports about 600,000 to 700,000 
tons per annum, the balance being practically all shipped to European countries. 
Chile saltpeter has sold for as high as $60 a ton, but since 1909, when the agree- 
ment among the producers expired, the price has approximated $45 per ton 
f. o. b. Liverpool, making a price of from $35 to $40 per ton f. o. b. Chile. 

According to the same authority quoted above, 50 per cent of all the 
Chile saltpeter imported into the United States is used in the manu- 
facture of explosives, while an additional 25 per cent is utilized in the 
arts requiring nitric acid. The balance, or 25 per cent, presumably 
finds its way to the soil as an intensive nitrogen fertilizer. 

Let us now see what statistics will show in regard to the proportion 
of the two and one-half million tons of nitrate produced in Chile which 
is yearly imported into this country. The foreign commerce reports 
of the United States Department of Commerce have made the follow- 
ing figures available : 

Nitrate of soda imported into the United States for the 12 
months ending June 


Tons 589,136 

Value $20,718,968 


Tons 564,049 

Value $17,950,786 


Tons 577,122 

Value $16,355,701 

1 " Fixation of Atmospheric Nitrogen," Leland L. Summers, Trans. Amer. Electrochem. 
Soc., xxvii, 340-341, 1915. 


These figures are interesting and can be interpreted in their rela- 
tion to world conditions during the years included. They at once 
suggest a number of questions which will be interesting to note down. 

1. Since the United States normally has taken about one-fifth of 
the world supply of nitrate, and since 75 per cent of this goes for the 
manufacture of explosives and nitric acid, what would happen to the 
United States if it were attacked by a strong naval power which would 
be able to blockade the western coast of South America and the entrance 
to the Panama Canal? 

2. What reserve supply of fixed nitrogen have we in the United 
States in case we were called upon to wage a defensive war, and does 
anyone in authority in the United States show any indication of car- 
ing at all about this important matter? 1 

3. Since Germany and Austria have lost command of the sea, where 
are they getting the enormous supplies of fixed nitrogen necessary for 
their war against the world? 

4. Assuming that England, France, Russia, Italy, and Japan are 
between them using 2,000,000 tons of Chilean nitrate for the manu- 
facture of explosives, is the quantity adequate to the task they have 

The answers to these questions, though not treated seriatim, will 
be discussed in the following paragraphs. 

In the great iron and steel industries of the world vast quantities 
of coal have to be partially burned to coke. In this process large quan- 
tities of valuable by-products are driven off and can be collected and 
used for many purposes, both in the peaceful arts and in war. To our 
everlasting shame be it said that we have for the most part, by the use 
of the open beehive-shaped coke ovens, allowed these valuable by- 
products to escape into the air and be lost. One at least of the good 
things that the present war has accomplished is in showing us the folly 
of such insane waste of valuable material. The substitution of the open 
type of coke oven by the inclosed by-product recovery oven is now 
at last going on apace. Our coking coals contain about 1 per cent of 
fixed nitrogen, and this can all be saved and converted into ammonia 
or the sulphate of ammonia. It will be remembered that once we have 
our nitrogen fixed we can use it as fertilizer or convert it by chemical 
processes into useful products, including high explosives. 

1 Since this article went to press, announcements have appeared in the daily press, 
stating that Brig. Gen. William M. Crozier, Chief of Ordnance of the United States Army, 
in his annual report has urged that the Nation take steps to be independent of the Chilean 
beds for the nitrates used in making gunpowder. In addition to this, it is reported that 
Mr. James B. Dukes announces that his company will turn out 4 tons daily at once of 
nitric acid made from nitrogen of the air. If these press reports are correct, answers to 
some of the questions considered in this paper are already in hand. 


Among the coke recovery products we get coal tar, which in turn 
yields such valuable intermediates as benzene, toluene, and aniline, 
used in the manufacture of an infinite number of dyes, medicines, and 
explosives. The annual world's production of sulphate of ammonia 
from gas works and by-product coke ovens now amounts to about 
1,250,000 tons, and the Liverpool price approximates that of sodium 
nitrate, varying from $45 to $60 per ton. 

It will be seen from the above figures that while by-product recovery 
from coke-making offers an opportunity to eke out the needed supply 
of fixed nitrogen, taken by itself this source is insufficient to fill the 
demand in time of peace, and in tune of war and embargo it would be 
quite inadequate, especially in the United States, where we are compara- 
tively young in the application not only of by-product recovery but also 
in the chemical processes required to oxidize ammonia to the condition 
of nitric acid necessary for the manufacture of explosives. 

Within the last fifteen years, or since Sir William Crookes sounded 
his note of warning to the world, chemists have paid especial attention 
to the problem of the fixation of the inexhaustible supply of nitrogen 
in the air. There are three lines of attacking this problem along which 
substantial success has been attained: First, the nitrogen can be made 
to combine directly with the oxygen of the air to form nitric acid; 
second, the nitrogen can be induced to combine with carbon to form 
cyanamide (C 2 N 2 ), which can be used directly as a fertilizer or by sub- 
sequent treatment changed into ammonia and hence to nitric acid ; and 
third, nitrogen can be directly linked tc waste or by-product hydrogen 
from other chemical industries to form ammonia. There are also other 
indirect processes which have been proposed for fixing atmospheric 
nitrogen, but these need not be discussed here. 

It is apparent from what has been said in an earlier part of this 
article that enormous energy is called for in breaking up the linkage 
N=N and fixing the nitrogen atoms to other atoms, such as oxygen, 
carbon, and hydrogen. It will not be surprising, therefore, to learn 
that the success of such industries must hang, for the most part, on 
the successful harnessing of great water powers to this end. We have 
our Niagara and many other great potential water powers in North 
America; let us inquire, therefore, what we have done in this country 
toward the solution of this problem with which the future of the human 
race is so inevitably bound up. 

Perhaps it might be permitted to begin this portion of the discus- 
sion with the statement that we in the United States have accom- 
plished practically nothing at all along this line. It is a curious fact, 
often made a subject of comment, that in America have been made 


nearly all the inventions on which modern warfare depends, all of which, 
for lack of public interest and financial backing, have passed for their 
development to foreign countries. This is true of the aeroplane, the 
dirigible, the submarine, and it is equally true of the nitrogen-fixation 
processes. In 1902 two American pioneers, Love joy and Bradley, 
established at Niagara Falls 'their first industrial apparatus for fixing 
the nitrogen to the oxygen of the air by means of the electric arc and 
thereby directly producing nitric acid. These pioneers were on the 
right track, but nobody cared, least of all our Government, and so the 
infant industry died of inanition. I shall now dare to say that it is the 
development of this pioneer work in the hands of foreign scientists and 
engineers that made it possible for Germany to challenge a world at arms. 
Dr. L. H. Baekeland, in the Chandler lecture for 1914, has so excellently 
summed up the status of nitrogen fixation that no one could improve 
upon his brief capitulation, nor can Dr. Baekeland's summary be too 
often printed for the instruction of our countrymen. This eminent 
authority says: 

The development of some problems of industrial chemistry has enlisted the 
brilliant collaboration of men of so many different nationalities that the final 
success could not, with any measure of justice, be ascribed exclusively to one 
single race or nation; this is best illustrated by the invention of the different 
methods for the fixation of nitrogen from the air. 

This extraordinary achievement, although scarcely a few years old, seems 
already an ordinary link in the chain of common, current events of our busy 
life; and yet the facts connected with this recent conquest reveal a modern tale 
of great deeds of the race an epos of applied science. 

Its story began the day when chemistry taught us how indispensable are the 
nitrogenous substances for the growth of all living beings. 

Generally speaking, the most expensive foodstuffs are precisely those which 
contain most nitrogen; for the simple reason that there is, and always has been, 
at some time "or another, a shortage of nitrogenous foods in the world. Agri- 
culture furnishes us those proteid- or nitrogen-containing bodies, whether we 
eat them directly as vegetable products, or indirectly as animals which have 
assimilated the proteids from plants. It so happens, however, that by our ill- 
balanced methods of agriculture we take nitrogen from the soil much faster than 
it is supplied to the soil through natural agencies. We have tried to remedy 
this discrepancy by enriching the soil with manure or other fertilizers, but this 
has been found totally insufficient, especially with our methods of intensive 
culture our fields want more nitrogen. So agriculture has been looking anxiously 
around to find new sources of nitrogen fertilizer. For a short time an excellent 
supply was found in the guano deposit of Peru; but this material was used up 
BO eagerly that the supply lasted only a very few years. In the meantime the 
ammonium salts recovered from the by-products of the gas works have come 
into steady use as nitrogen fertilizer. But here again the supply is entirely 
insufficient, and during the later period our main reliance has been placed on the 
natural beds of sodium nitrate, which are found in the desert regions of Chile. 
This has been of late our principal source of nitrogen for agriculture as well as for 
the many industries which require saltpeter or nitric acid. 

In 1898 Sir William Crookes, in his memorable presidential address before 
the British Association for the Advancement of Science, called our attention to 
the threatening fact that at the increasing rate of consumption the nitrate beds 
of Chile would be exhausted before the middle of this century. Here was a 
warning an alarm raised to the human race by one of the deepest scientific 
thinkers of our generation. It meant no more nor less than that before long 
our race would be confronted with nitrogen starvation. In a given country, all 


other conditions being equal, the abundance or the lack of nitrogen available 
for nutrition is a paramount factor in the degree of general welfare or of physical 
decadence. .The less nitrogen there is available as foodstuffs the nearer the popu- 
lation is to starvation. The great famines in such nitrogen-deficient countries 
as India and China and Russia are sad examples of nitrogen starvation. 

And yet nitrogen as such is so abundant in nature that it constitutes four- 
fifths of the air we breathe. Every square mile of our atmosphere contains 
nitrogen enough to satisfy our total present consumption for over half a century. 
However, this nitrogen is unavailable so long as we do not find means to make 
it enter into some suitable chemical combination. Moreover, nitrogen was 
generally considered inactive and inert because it does not enter readily into 
chemical combination. 

William Crookes's disquieting message of rapidly approaching nitrogen star- 
vation did not cause much worry to politicians they seldom look so far ahead 
into the future. But to the men of science it rang like a reproach to the human 
race. Here, then, we were in possession of an inexhaustible store of nitrogen 
in the air, and yet, unless we found some practical means for tying some of it 
into a suitable chemical combination, we would soon be in a position similar to 
that of a shipwrecked sailor, drifting around on an immense ocean of brine, and 
yet slowly dying for lack of drinking water. 

As a guiding beacon there was, however, that simple experiment, carried 
out in a little glass tube as far back as 1785 by both Cavendish and Priestley, 
which showed that if electric sparks were passed through air the oxygen thereof 
was able to burn some of the nitrogen and to engender nitrous vapors. 

This seemingly unimportant laboratory curiosity, so long dormant in the 
textbooks, was made a starting point by Charles S. Bradley and D. R. Love- 
joy, in Niagara Falls, for creating the first industrial apparatus for converting 
the nitrogen of the air into nitric acid by means of the electric arc. 

As early as 1902 they published their results, as well as the details of their 
apparatus. Although they operated only one full-sized unit, they demonstrated 
conclusively that nitric acid could thus be produced from the air in unlimited 
quantities. We shall examine later the reasons why this pioneer enterprise 
proved a commercial failure; but to these tw T o American inventors belongs, 
undoubtedly, the credit of having furnished the first answer to the distress call 
of Sir William Crookes. 

In the meantime many other investigators were at work at the same prob- 
lem, and soon from Norway's abundant waterfalls came the news that Birke- 
land and Eyde had solved successfully, and on a commercial scale, the same 
problem by a differently constructed apparatus. The Germans, too, were work- 
ing on the same subject, and we heard that Schoenherr, also Pauling, had evolved 
still other methods, all, however, based on the Cavendish-Priestley principle of 
oxidation of nitrogen. In Norway alone the artificial saltpeter factories use now, 
day and night, over 200,000 electric horse-power, which will soon be doubled; 
while a further addition is contemplated which will bring the volume of electric 
current consumed to about 500,000 horse-power. The capital invested at present 
in these works amounts to $27,000,000. 

Frank and Caro, in Germany, succeeded in creating another profitable indus- 
trial process whereby nitrogen could be fixed by carbide of calcium, which con- 
verts it into calcium cyanamide, an excellent fertilizer by itself. By the action 
of steam on a cyanamide, ammonia is produced, or it can be made the starting 
point of the manufacture of cyanides, so profusely used for the treatment of gold 
and silver ores. 

Although the synthetic nitrates have found a field of their own, their utiliza- 
tion for fertilizers is smaller than that of the cyanamide; and the latter industry 
represents to-day an investment of about $30,000,000, with three factories in 
Germany, two in Norway, two in Sweden, one in France, one in Switzerland, 
two in Italy, one in Austria, one in Japan, one in Canada, but not any in the 
United States. The total output of cyanamide is valued at $15,000,000 yearly and 
employs 200,000 horse-power, and preparations are made at almost every exist- 
ing plant for further extensions. An English company is contemplating the 
application of 1,000,000 horse-power to the production of cyanamide and its de- 
rivatives, 600,000 of which have been secured in Norway and 400,000 in Iceland. 

But still other processes are being developed, based on the fact that certajn 
metals or metalloids can absorb nitrogen, and can thus be converted into nitrides; 
the latter can either be used directly as fertilizers or they can be made to produce 
ammonia under suitable treatment. 


The most important of these nitride processes seems to be that of Serpek, 
who, in his experimental factory at Niedermorschweiler, succeeded in obtain- 
ing aluminum nitride in almost theoretical quantities with the use of an amount 
of electrical energy eight times less than that needed for the Birkeland-Eyde 
process and one-half less than for the cyanamide process, the results being calcu- 
lated for equal weights of " fixed " nitrogen. 

A French company has taken up the commercial application of this process 
which can furnish, besides ammonia, pure alumina for the manufacture of alumi- 
num metal. 

An exceptionally ingenious process for the' direct synthesis of ammonia by 
the direct union of hydrogen with nitrogen has been developed by Haber in con- 
junction with the chemists and engineers of the Badische Aniline und Soda 

The process has the advantage that it is not, like the other nitrogen-fixation 
processes, paramountly dependent upon cheap power; for this reason, if for no 
other, it seems to be destined to a more ready application. The fact that the 
group of the three German chemical companies, which control the process have 
sold out their former holdings in the Norwegian enterprises to a Norwegian- 
French group and are now devoting their energies to the commercial installation 
of the Haber process has considerable significance as to expectations for the future. 

The question naturally arises: Will there be an overproduction and will 
these different rival processes not kill each other in slaughtering prices beyond 
remunerative production? 

As to overproduction we should bear in mind that nitrogen fertilizers are 
already used at the rate of about $200,000,000 worth a year, and that any de- 
crease in price, and, more particularly, better education in farming, will prob- 
ably lead to an enormously increased consumption. It is worth mentioning here 
that in 1825 the first shipload of Chile saltpeter which was sent to Europe could 
find no buyer and was finally thrown into the sea as useless material. 

Then, again, processes for nitric acid and processes for ammonia, instead of 
interfering, are supplementary to each other, because the world needs ammonia 
and ammonium as well as nitric acid or nitrates. 

It should be pointed out also that ultimately the production of ammonium 
nitrate may prove the most desirable method, so as to minimize freight, for this 
salt contains much more nitrogen to the ton than is the case with the more bulky 
calcium salt, under which form synthetic nitrates are now put into the market. 

Before leaving this subject let us examine why Bradley and Lovejoy's efforts 
came to a standstill where others succeeded. 

First of all, the cost of power at Niagara Falls is three to five times higher 
than in Norway, and although at the time this was not strictly prohibitive for 
the manufacture of nitric acid it was entirely beyond hope for the production 
of fertilizers. The relatively high cost of power in our country is the reason 
why the cyanamide enterprise had to locate on the Canadian side of Niagara 
Falls, and why up till now, outside of an experimental plant in the South (a 
4000-horse-power installation in North Carolina, using the Pauling process), the 
whole United States has not a single synthetic-nitrogen fertilizer works. 

The yields of the Bradley-Lovejoy apparatus were rather good. They suc- 
ceeded in converting as much as 2| per cent of the air, which is somewhat better 
than their successors are able to accomplish. 

But their units 12 kilowatts were very much smaller than the 1000 to 
3000 kilowatts now used in Norway; they were also more delicate to handle, 
all of which made installation arid operation considerably more expensive. 

However, this was the natural phase through which any pioneer industrial 
development has to go, and it is more than probable that in the natural order of 
events these imperfections would have been eliminated. 

But the killing stroke came when financial support was suddenly withdrawn. 

In the successful solution of similar industrial problems the originators in 
Europe were not only backed by scientifically well-advised bankers, but they 
were helped to the rapid solution of all the side problems by a group of specially 
selected scientific collaborators as well as by all the resourcefulness of well- 
established chemical enterprises. 

That such conditions are possible in the United States has been demonstrated 
by the splendid teamwork which led to the development of the modern tungsten 
lamps in the research laboratories of the General Electric Co., and to the devel- 
opment of the Tesla polyphase motor by the group of engineers of the Westing- 
house Co. 


True, there are endless subjects of research and development which can be 
brought to success by efforts of single independent inventors, but there are some 
problems of applied science which are so vast, so much surrounded with ramify- 
ing difficulties, that no one man, nor two men, however exceptional, can fur- 
nish either the brains or the money necessary for leading to success within a 
reasonable time. For such special problems the rapid cooperation of numerous 
experts and the financial resources of large establishments are indispensable. 

So much for the role of chemistry in the war in so far as it is affected 
by the nitrogen-fixation problem. Those who have read thus far will be 
able to formulate their own answers to the questions set down in an 
earlier paragraph and will understand how Germany, although cut off 
from the South America nitrate fields, has been able to assemble and use 
more high explosives in a shorter time than anyone would have believed 
possible previous to the year of grace (sic) 1914. 

If we assume that the nations at war have provided themselves 
with adequate supplies of fixed nitrogen in the condition of nitric acid, 
let us now return to a more detailed discussion of the materials and 
methods which modern chemistry uses for the production of high explo- 
sives, without an abundant supply of which modern warfare must imme- 
diately come to an end. We have seen in what manner the nations are 
in fact fighting with fixed nitrogen. Indeed, it may be said that out of 
the atmosphere comes the power of making war, for there are geological 
reasons for believing that the' nitrogen of the Chile nitrate beds was 
originally fixed by natural process from atmospheric nitrogen. We 
must now consider something of the chemistry of the element carbon 
and the wonderful role which it also plays in war. 



The element carbon, unlike nitrogen, does not appear in nature in 
the gaseous form. It is familiar to every one in an impure form as 
coal, as charcoal, and graphite, and in its pure crystallized form as 
the diamond. Considered as an atom in its chemical sense it is highly 
reactive and every ready to combine with other atoms and groups of 
atoms to form the endless variety of organic forms which make up 
the visible universe. The most characteristic attribute of the carbon 
atom is its power and tendency to link up with other carbon atoms, 
thus permitting an infinite variety of molecular architecture. It will 
be necessary to follow this statement a little further, on account of its 
bearing on the role of chemistry in the war. 

We have seen that the free atom of nitrogen is called trivalent and 


is written N=. Similarly, the free atom of carbon is known to be 
quadrivalent and might be written CEEE. As a matter of fact, how- 
ever, the quadrivalence of the carbon atom is expressed in the following 

Really the carbon atom with its four bonds is thought of spacially 
as being at the center of a pyramid or tetrahedron. For our present 
purpose, however, we need not confuse ourselves with this concep- 
tion, but think or it as written above. The point to be understood is 
that the free affinities of the carbon atom are easily saturated with 
other atoms or groups of atoms, as, for instance, in the following com- 
pounds : 

H H Cl Cl 

I I I I 

H C H H C OH Cl C Cl Cl C H 

I I I I 

H H Cl Cl 

Marsh gas (methane) Methyl alcohol Carbon tetrachloride Chloroform 

But the most interesting characteristic is the ability of carbon to 

ii ill 

link up as in C C and C C C and so on until we reach 

ii ill 

a string or nucleus of six atoms, when in many cases the string acts 
as though it were unwieldy and, like a snake with its tail in its mouth, 
links up into form of a ring known as the benzene ring, and written: 

i i i 

/S f~* _ r^ (~^ /-i 

i, | or further into double or i , . | 

even tri P le rin S s: __ c C 

i i i 

It may appear to the layman that we are involving ourselves pretty 
deeply in advanced chemistry, but we must be patient, because we are 


getting close to the secret of modern warfare as it is controlled by high 
explosives. We are also getting close to the secrets of the dye industry 
and modern medicinals, which subjects have been much discussed in 
this country since the outbreak of the war. 

Benzene has already been referred to in an earlier paragraph as a 
by-product of the coke and gas industry. It is a limpid liquid sub- 
stance which closely resembles gasoline in odor and properties. If 
cheap enough, it could be used in automobile engines, but its price before 
the war in this country was about 30 cents a gallon, which was pro- 
hibitive of its use for this purpose. It is an important raw material 
for the manufacture of high explosives, dyes, synthetic medicines, 
phonographic records, etc. Benzene has the chemical formula C 6 H 6 , 
and is to be considered as a ring of six carbon atoms attached as shown 
above, with one hydrogen atom fixed to each carbon. For the sake 
of brevity and simplicity, chemists no longer take the trouble to write 
in the carbon or hj^drogen atoms into their ring formula?, these being 
assumed, only the significant substituting atoms being placed and 
written in. Thus, for instance, the benzene, or, as the Germans call it, 
the benzol ring, is expressed by writing: 


TT _ /-I /S _ TT 

instead of the more , . . 

cumbersome TT _ Q A _ TT 


Now, suppose by treating benzene with certain chemicals, we replace 
one of the hydrogens by the group of atoms OH, we get 


This body is carbolic acid, known to chemists as phenol. It was this 
substance that we have read in the newspapers Thomas A. Edison 
needed for making phonograph records after the German supplies ceased, 


and which he was able to make as soon as the recovered benzene began 
to be available from the American gas and coke plants. Now, if we 
start again with phenol and treat it with nitric acid in a special manner, 
we make trinitro-phenol, or picric acid, an intensely yellow substance 
which is used as a dye base and is also one of the most deadly of the high 
explosives, We write the formula of picric acid 


N0 2 


N0 2 

and designate it as a 2, 4, 6 substitution product, for the group or radical 
NO 2 must fix to just the right points in the carbon ring, or we should 
not get picric acid, but something else. Perhaps we have now succeeded 
in getting a glimpse into the wonderful molecular architecture that has 
been patiently worked out by chemists for the use of man in the arts of 
peace and war. Untold numbers of tons of picric-acid mixtures under 
the names of melinite and turpenite are being shot off on the European 

Looking at the graphic representation of the picric-acid molecule 
written above, it requires but a slight effort of the imagination to picture 
what takes place when this molecule is suddenly shattered into its 
elements. Large quantities of hot nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen 
atoms are instantly set free, seeking to expand and satisfy their various 
affinities. The chemical forces of disruption and rearrangement are 
titanic and when directed to that end scatter death and destruction 
round about. 

Picric acid, when dry, melts down quietly at a little above the water- 
boiling temperature, with little danger of explosion unless it is detonated 
by something else. It is usually melted down with rosin or some other 
body which is used to dilute it. It is these other bodies which are partly 
responsible for the dense clouds of black smoke formed when shells loaded 
with picric-acid mixtures explode, and which on the European battle- 
fields have earned for them the name of " Jack Johnsons." 

Toluene l is a near relative of benzene; it is a liquid slightly less 

1 It is interesting to note that the price of benzene has risen from 30 cents to 90 cents 
a gallon since the war began. Toluene has risen in the same time from 40 cents to $5 
per gallon. 


volatile than the latter substance, and is also a by-product of the coke 
and gas industry. From it we can obtain trinitro-toluene 

CH 3 

N0 2 

This product is also used as a modern high explosive, under the abbre- 
viated name of T. N. T. 

The German chemical industries are said to have accumulated vast stores 
of these and similar by-product nitro-substitution products from their great dye 
industries. The well-known blue dye, indigo, which used to be extracted from 
a plant grown in India, is now made synthetically in Germany, and the by-prod- 
ucts from the synthesis furnish some of the raw material for the nitrp bodies 
used in explosives. It is said to have taken the patient German chemists over 
twenty years to work out the synthesis of indigo, but when this was finally accom- 
plished the natural indigo soon disappeared from the markets of the world: 

Glycerin is a by-product from the manufacture of soap. By nitration we get 
nitroglycerin, which, when soaked up in an inert earthy powder, we call dyna- 
mite. Cotton consists mainly of cellulose. When cotton is nitrated, nitro- 
cellulose or guncotton is obtained. When compressed into blocks or other forms, 
this guncotton is a detonating explosive of terribly high power, and is frequently 
used for loading torpedoes and mines. When made in a different way, how- 
ever, nitrocellulose does not detonate, but burns rapidly, giving off large quantities 
of hot expanding gases. When in this form nitrocellulose is known as " smoke- 
less powder." It is generally not used as a powder, however, but in the form of 
sticks (cordite) or short cylinders through which holes are bored to facilitate 
combustion. If cotton can not be obtained, as is probably now the case in Ger- 
many, wood-pulp cellulose may be substituted. It is said that gelatine made 
from slaughterhouse refuse or dead horses can in like manner be used in the pro- 
duction of nitrogelatine. The chemistry of these substances is more complicated 
than in the cases of nitrobenzene and toluene, so that we need not attempt to go 
more deeply into the subject in this place. Enough has been said to show the 
role of the chemistry of carbon and nitrogen as this applies to modern warfare. 



Hydrogen is the lightest gas known, being about seven times lighter 
than air, bulk for bulk. The manufacture of caustic alkali on an 
enormous scale is necessary to every civilized nation for the manufacture 
of paper, soap, and many other necessities of life. This alkali is in part 
manufactured 'by an electric water-power process which yields hydrogen 
as one of its by-products. At present about 30,000 electrical horsepower 
are employed in this branch of industry in the United States. In Ger- 
many all waste hydrogen is conserved for filling the balloons of Zep- 
pelins and presumably for making synthetic ammonia by the Haber 


process, as well as for other industrial purposes. In this country 
practically all the hydrogen is allowed to escape into the air, to seek the 
outermost reaches of the atmospheric sea. It is probable, however, 
that the day is not far distant when we, too, will meet the necessity 
of conserving our hydrogen as well as our other useful industrial 

The story of the development of the Haber process for fixing the 
nitrogen of the air to by-product hydrogen reads like a fairy tale of 
science wedded to patience. About twenty-five years ago American 
students of chemistry at a certain German university were surprised 
to find their professors carrying on patient researches on methods for 
oxidizing ammonia to nitric acid. Since in those days nitric acid cost 
less than ammonia, and as no methods for fixing the nitrogen of the air 
had even been proposed, so much patient work seemed at best to be 
premature. The fact is, however, that it was to come about that the 
great European war was to await the word " Go! " not alone from the 
statesmen and militarists, but also from the distinguished chemist- 
privy councillors (Geheimraths) of the German Empire. At the meeting 
of the Eighth International Congress of Applied Chemistry held in 
New York in September, 1912, the German professor, H. A. Bernthsen, 
in the course of his address, 1 said: 

1 propose, however, to-day to deal, from my own direct experience with 
the development of the problem for the synthetical manufacture of ammonia 
from its elements. A few years ago the solution of this problem appeared to 
be absolutely impossible. It has recently been the object of very painstaking 
investigations by Prof. Haber and the chemists of the Badische Anilin und Soda- 
Fabrik, and numerous patents have been taken out with reference to the manu- 
facture. Apart from what is already published in this way, however, we have 
refrained from any other announcements until we were in a position to report 
something final with reference to the solution of the technical question. 

This moment has now arrived, and I am in the agreeable position of being 
able to inform you that the said problem has now been solved fully on a manu- 
facturing scale, and that the walls of our first factory for synthetic ammonia 
are already rising above the ground at Appau, near Ludwigshafen-on-Rhine. 

So much for the accomplishment of Germany's independence of 
Chile saltpeter up to 1912. The fact that the contact process for chang- 
ing synthetic ammonia to nitric acid had already been worked out tells 
us something of the vision that was in the minds of German scientists 
at least a quarter of a century ago. 

But let us hear further from Prof. Bernthsen on some of the diffi- 
culties that had to be surmounted before this method of nitrogen fixa- 
tion was an accomplished fact. He goes on to say: 2 

i " Synthetic Ammonia," H. A. Bernthsen, Trans. Eighth Internat. Cong. Applied 
Chem., vol. xxviii, pp. 185 and 186. 

2 Ibid., pp. 193-194, 199-200. 


The problems to be solved were quite new and strange and demanded the 
mastery of very unusual difficulties. Although working with compressed gases 
under pressure at very low temperatures was already known in the industry, 
the problem here was the totally different one of constructing apparatus which 
should be large enough and at the same time able to withstand the high pressure 
with temperatures not far from a red heat. How well founded were the doubts 
as to the possibility of a solution of this task can be gathered from the instance 
of the wrought-iron autoclaves commonly used in the color industry. There, 
in spite of a very low range of temperature of at most 280 C., only pressures of 
from 50 to 100 atmospheres at the utmost come into consideration. But above 
400 C. iron loses its solidity to a very extraordinary degree. 

There is, further, the circumstance that the metals which come into con- 
sideration for the construction of the apparatus, and especially iron, are chem- 
ically attacked above certain temperatures by the gas mixture under pressure. 
Although the formation of iron nitride from iron and ammonia, which could 
have been expected according to the work of Fremy and others, can be avoided, 
yet it is found, for example, that steel containing carbon loses its carbon at the 
temperatures in question, owing to the action of the hydrogen, so that its capa- 
bility of withstanding pressure is reduced to a minimum. It was further found, 
when using iron itself, that it is completely changed in its qualities, chiefly by 
taking up hydrogen. Again, at such high temperatures iron is pervious to quite 
a remarkable degree to hydrogen under high pressures. The question of materials 
for the apparatus therefore raised at once considerable difficulties, but at length 
these were more than overcome by suitable construction, details of which, I 
am sure, you will not expect from me to-day. The danger of serious explosions 
or of great, sudden flames of hydrogen, if the apparatus happens to become de- 
fective, can be guarded against by setting it up in bombproof chambers. 

Great care must naturally be taken that oxygen or air does not get into the 
apparatus or the piping, for at the high pressure obtaining the explosion range is 
reached with merely a slight percentage of oxygen. Special devices are used 
to watch over this content of oxygen, and immediately a definite percentage is 
touched the alarm is automatically, raised. Besides this, the proper constitution 
of the gas mixture in circulation is controlled by analysis from time to time. 

The ammonia can be removed either by being drawn directly from the appa- 
ratus in liquid form, or an absorption agent can be suitably introduced into the 
apparatus. The simplest absorbent, water, has been found to be suited for 
this purpose; under the pressure used a concentrated solution of ammonia is 
secured. Any ammonia that may remain in the gas after the bulk has been 
removed by one or other of these methods can be further removed by special 
chemical means, if it is not preferred simply to leave it in the circulating gases. 

* * * 

The question has not yet been touched upon in the foregoing, how the elements 
nitrogen and hydrogen which are requisite for the new ammonia process can 
best be produced on a technical scale. Theoretically, the task would be unusually 
simple. If you remember that the terrestrial atmosphere, according to the studies 
of A. Wagener and others, consists of practically pure hydrogen at a height of 
about 120 kilometers indeed, at a height of about 70 kilometers consists of 
almost exactly one volume of nitrogen and three volumes of hydrogen, besides a 
trace (about one-half per cent) of oxygen you will understand that all the con- 
ditions were given for an ammonia factory according to Jules Verne; for it would 
then merely be necessary to suck down the gases from the higher strata of the atmos- 
phere by a sufficiently long pipe line. 

For us, poor mortals, matters are not so ideally simple, for, as the poet says: 

Hart im Raume stossen sich die Sachen. 

Fortunately, however, there is no great difficulty in separating nitrogen from 
the air, either by physical means, according to Linde's process or chemically, 
by removing the oxygen with glowing copper, burning hydrogen, or the like. 
And lor the preparation of hydrogen in recent times a great deal of useful work 
has been done, too, owing to the extensive growth of its field of application. In 
certain works it is at disposal in large quantities as a by-product of the elec- 
trolysis of common salt. Besides this, it can be produced, for example, by pass- 
ing steam over red-hot iron, or from water gas, for instance, by separating its 
constituents, hydrogen and carbon monoxide, by cooling to a very low tern- 


perature. All the methods of preparation which come into consideration we 
have, of course, minutely examined ; owing to the comparatively trifling differ- 
ences in the cost of production various methods can be employed. At all events, 
both elements, nitrogen and hydrogen, are at the disposal of the new industry 
to any extent and sufficiently cheap. 

As the production of these elements is not confined to the presence of cheap 
water power, all those countries where the manufacture of calcium nitrate, owing 
to the want of such power, is not practicable, as, for instance, in Germany, are 
now in a position to profit by the new industry. 

The above-quoted matter makes interesting reading, in the light 
of the history of the past three years. The synthesis of ammonia by 
the Haber process takes place by heating a mixture of hydrogen and 
nitrogen gas under enormous pressures in great alloy-steel bombs buried 
in bombproof cellars and then rapidly withdrawing and cooling the 

synthetic ammonia (N H) which is formed. But this is not all of 

the story. 

Even when all these titanic arrangements have been made the syn- 
thesis of ammonia does not take place unless a catalyst is present. 

Is this fairy tale of science getting too deep for ordinary compre- 
hension, and is it time, as Lewis Carroll's walrus said, to talk of other 
things, such as ships and shoes and sealing wax and cabbages and kings? 

But, as a matter of fact, could a world war be declared or waged 
without every one of those four things or the things they stand for 
that the walrus wanted to talk about? 

And now we are also to learn that a world war cannot be waged 
without a catalyst. And what on earth is a catalyst? 

Those who wish to follow this monster to its lair must be referred 
to the dictionaries and encyclopedias; but, after all, it is not so fright- 
ful as it sounds. In a few words, the meaning is this: A number of 
important and difficult chemical reactions v,ill not take place, or only 
very slowly, unless some substance is present in such a manner that 
it can come into contact with the reacting bodies and thus act the role 
of a go-between promoter or introducer. Such a substance is not changed 
or necessarily wasted while the action is going on, but acts merely by 

Chemists have called this kind of action catalysis. Some one has 
said that the industrial development of a nation can be measured by the 
"quantity of sulphuric acid that it produces, and it is interesting to note, 
in passing, that catalysts or contact agents have, in modern times, 
revolutionized the production of this most important substance. Cata- 
lysts consist usually of some metal or compound of a metal in finely 
powdered or subdivided form. As they are not used up or wasted in 


doing their work, and only comparatively small quantities are needed, 
the rarest and most expensive metals, such, for instance, as platinum, 
can be used even in very large-scale operations. Haber found that such 
rare and unusual metals as molybdenum and tungsten made excellent 
catalysts for promoting the synthesis of ammonia. But here we have to 
refer to one of the most curious facts that has been developed by modern 
chemical research. It has been found that these catalysts can be poisoned 
by certain things very much in the same way as though they were living 
cells. That is to say, there are substances which hinder or prevent 
or kill the 'activity of these catalysts, although the contact mass does 
not suffer a noticeable chemical change, envelopment, or destruction. 
For instance, traces of arsenic mixed with the sulphur from which sul- 
phuric acid is made will poison the platinum catalyzer, whereas it has 
been found that, on the contrary, the presence of arsenic will act 
favorably (or medicinally, as it were) when iron oxide is used as a catalyst. 
We are now prepared to hear Prof. Bernthsen 1 on this subject 
and to admire and marvel at the persistence and painstaking efforts 
made by modern science to overcome the obstacles with which Nature 
seems to surround her most profound secrets: 

It has now been ascertained that some of the poisons in the synthesis of 
ammonia are of quite a different nature from those of the sulphuric-acid process; 
they are, for instance, sulphur, selenium, tellurium, phosphorus, arsenic, boron, 
or the compounds of these elements, such as sulphuretted hydrogen, arsenic 
hydride, phosphorus hydride, as also many carbon compounds and certain metals 
of low melting-point which can readily be reduced by hydrogen from their com- 
pounds; for example, lead, bismuth, and tin, which do not act catalytically. 
Oxygen-sulphur compounds such as SCh, which acts directly and smoothly in the 
sulphuric-acid catalysis, are very poisonous. Extremely minute quantities of 
these bodies, which are almost always present, even in the purest commercial 
products or in the so-called pure gases, suffice to render the catalysts absolutely 
inactive, or at least to diminish their action very seriously. Thus iron, for example, 
prepared from ordinary iron oxide with a content of one per thousand of sodium 
sulphate, is, as a rule, inactive. Iron containing one-tenth per cent of sulphur 
is generally quite useless, and even with one-hundredth per cent is of very little 
use, although in appearance and when examined with the ordinary physical and 
chemical methods no difference at all can be detected as compared with pure iron. 

The recognition of these facts gave rise to tw r o problems: 

(a) The preparation of contact masses free from poison or the removal of 
such poisons from them; and 

(6) Freeing the gases to be acted on catalytically from all contact poisons. 

In order to free the contact bodies from these harmful substances the ordi- 
nary methods for removing them can, of course, be applied. The contact action 
can also be improved by heating contact metals which are inactive or of little 
use, owing to the presence of contact poisons, in the presence of oxygen or of 
bodies yielding oxygen. Or the metals can be heated, for instance, in the pres- 
ence of oxygen, with the addition of suitable compounds, such as bases, and 
the resulting products reduced. These operations can be repeated if neces- 
sary. If more of such a body as mentioned is added than is necessary, it may 
act not merely by removing the poisons, but promote the yield, as I have already 
described to you. 

On the other hand, it is necessary, as I remarked, to take the greatest care 
that nitrogen and hydrogen are free or freed completely from all contact poisons. 

1 " Synthetic Ammonia," H. A. Bernthsen, Trans. Eighth Internat. Cong. Applied 
Chem.. vol. xxviii, pp. 197-199. 


Thus a trace of sulphur, one prt per million, in the gas mixture can under cer- 
tain conditions be injurious, so that even electrolytically prepared hydrogen 
must generally be further specially purified. The minute purification of the gases 
is even more important when hydrogen prepared, for example, from the water 
gas is used. The impurities, too, taken up from iron piping play sometimes an 
important part, and impurities which get into the gases during the compression, 
such as machine oil, often have a harmful effect. 

The best method of removing impurities from the gas mixture depends, in 
turn, on the nature of these impurities and consists, for instance, according to 
the case, in filtering, washing, conducting over solid absorption agents, and 
so on. One good method is to bring the gases into contact with the material 
of which the contact mass is prepared at a raised temperature before passing 
them over the actual catalyst. The material takes up the impurities, and must, 
of course, be renewed from time to time. The negative results of earlier inves- 
tigators in the formation of ammonia when using base contact metals (Wright, 
Ramsay, and Young, and more recently again, 1911, Neogi and Adhicary), 
according to which nitrogen and hydrogen do not combine in the presence of 
iron, are, in my opinion, probably due for the most part at least, to the use 
of metals or gases not free from contact poison. That previous inquirers had 
not the remotest idea that sulphur in the contact metal could be injurious is 
evident from the fact that they passed the gases without hesitation through 
concentrated sulphuric acid in order to dry them. The sulphuric acid thus 
taken up and the sulphur dioxide often contained in it can poison even the best 
catalyst very speedily and render it unfit for use. Or the contact metals were 
sometimes prepared directly from the sulphates, although a metal sufficiently 
free from sulphur can scarcely be obtained by this method. 

A painstaking study, for which we are indebted principally to Dr. A. Mittasch 
and which involved literally many thousands of experiments, has afforded an 
insight into the importance of substances of the most varied nature as promot- 
ers and poisons, and thus a sure foundation has been prepared for a reliable con- 
tinuous manufacture with a good yield of ammonia. 

This is a wonderful story that has been here set forth, and should 
show very clearly that modern warfare depends not alone upon the 
work of a general military and naval staff or upon the drilling and mar- 
shalling of millions, but, first and foremost, upon the systematic and 
painstaking researches of scientists, who, to use a homely expression, 
might be said to be twisting reluctant Nature's tail in the effort to make 
her march in the desired path. 



No description of the role of chemistry in modern warfare would be 
quite complete without some reference to the poisonous gases and flames 
with which modern armies seek to ruin and devastate one another. 
A vast amount of terrifying descriptive matter has appeared in the press 
accounts of the great war, but very little accurate scientific information 
on this awful contribution of chemistry has as yet been made available. 

We may safely discount as untrue the extraordinary stories of 
soldiers asphyxiated and left standing or sitting rigidly in the posi- 
tions in which they were overcome. It is possible that bombs have 
been hurled that set free prussic acid or the deadly cyanogen gas (CN), 


another form of fixed nitrogen. It is more probable, however, that 
the most deadly effects have been produced by the use of a group of 
very active chemical elements known as the halogens. By the name of 
" halogens," meaning salt-formers, chemists distinguish the group of 
closely allied elements, chlorine, bromine, and iodine. At ordinary 
temperatures and pressure, chlorine, is a greenish-colored gas, bromine 
is a dark-red fuming liquid, and iodine is a beautiful violet-colored solid. 
At temperatures slightly above the ordinary bromine and iodine turn 
to heavy red and violet vapors. Chlorine is found in nature fixed to the 
element sodium in common salt (sodium chloride). Sodium and other 
bromides are found accompanying common salt, while the principal 
source of iodine is seaweed, as marine growths have the power of collect- 
ing and concentrating iodides from salt water. It is characteristic of 
the halogens that they are among the most active chemical agents known. 
When in a free state they seem anxious to combine with anything they 
can take hold of, and the mucous membrane of the human throat, lungs, 
and eyes is peculiarly sensitive to their corrosive action. Chlorine 
gas, the most active of the family, is obtained in enormous quantities 
in the same way that hydrogen is, as a by-product from the electric 
process of manufacturing caustic alkali from common salt. 

In the arts of peace chlorine has an important use as a bleaching 
agent in the paper and other industries. When compressed into steel 
cylinders, it can be liquefied and thus shipped from one point to another, 
or it can be absorbed in lime to form the well-known chloride of lime 
or bleaching powder. In war liquefied chlorine contained in steel 
shells can be burst among the enemy, and when the conditions are 
favorable terrible effects can thus be produced. 

Bromine has never found any extended use in the peaceful arts, 
in spite of the fact that it has been stated that the German Govern- 
ment has been for a number of years offering a prize for the discovery 
of a practical use for it. Bromine is also a by-product material which 
has been largely allowed to escape in this country, but which in Germany 
has been saved in increasing quantities for years. 1 In war bromine 

1 BROMINE. Both technical and U. S. P. descriptions of this commodity continue in 
scanty supply and strongly held at a minimum of $5 by leading manufacturers, while 
maintained at $6 and even at $6.50 by second hands. Reports to the effect that the recent 
sha-p uplift of prices for this article has been due to the operations of a syndicate of 
makers in Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia, are not credited by those in a 
position to know, as it is obvious that the growing shortage, due to recent heavy sales on 
contracts to European users, is alone responsible for this upward movement of prices. 
Seemingly this extensive export movement of bromine can not be forbidden by the United 
States Government authorities or virtually prohibited by a high export tax, without enact- 
ment to this effect by Congress. Efforts to prevent further heavy shipments of this com- 
modity to foreign countries have recently been made in vain by manufacturers of bromide 
who complained of this export movement to the Secretary of Commerce, only to be referred 
to a special investigator in New York City, who informed him that the- Government was 
powerless to interfere with this business. Oil, Paint, and Drug Reporter, New York 
Dec. 20, 1915, p. 44. 


is even more terrible than chlorine, for it possesses the property of espe- 
cially attacking the eyes, even producing blindness in large doses. If 
it -comes in contact with the skin it produces horrible burns which are 
slow to heal. When chlorine gas is allowed to come in contact with 
bromine under certain controlled conditions, they combine together to 
form a limpid fuming liquid, known as chlorine of bromine, which 
combines the properties of both elements. It is said that this awful 
substance is the material that the warring nations have been hurling at 
each other in shells, bombs, and hand grenades, although exact facts 
regarding these dreadful practices will probably not be available until 
after the war is over. 

The role of iodine in the war is probably of a more kindly nature; 
it is not nearly so active an agent as the other two members of its fam- 
ily, and when dissolved in alcohol to make a tincture it has saved 
many lives on the battlefield when used as an antiseptic on open 

Some of the newspaper accounts have described gas bombs which 
exploded with dense violet fumes. If true, this points to the use of 
iodine also for this destructive purpose, but it is not probable that such 
a use is common, owing to the higher cost, greater scarcity, and limited 
activity of iodine as compared with the other halogens. 

Much has also been written in regard to the masks or breathers 
resorted to for protection from these dangerous gases. There are a 
number of chemical substances which are absorbents of chlorine and 
bromine and with which they can combine or fix themselves. Such 
chemicals spread between layers of fabric or liquids in which fabric 
masks .can be soaked probably furnish such means as are available 
for protection. 


Besides the role of chemistry in war, the allied art of metallurgy 
plays an important part. New steels and alloys have to be devised, 
tested, and finally manufactured, suitable for the varied needs of war. 
Aeroplanes, dirigibles, and submarines all require materials with special 
physical characteristics. It is said that the metallurgists of Germany 
had to devise a new steel alloy before the Haber process for fixing nitro- 
gen could be successfully worked on the large scale of operation. Space 
here does not permit of a description of these special metals, but per- 
haps enough has been said to give the reader a general purview of the 
role of chemistry in war. 


Although it has been shown that chemistry is the handmaiden of 
war, and that this last great struggle is indeed a chemists' war, as Dr. 
L. H. Baekeland has recently so happily phrased it : l 

Do not imagine that this is the first chemical war. The art of killing and 
robbing each other became chemical the day gunpowder was invented; at that 
time, however, the existing knowledge of chemistry was just of pinhead size. 
Napoleon knew very well how to use adroitly exact knowledge and chemistry 
for furthering his insatiable ambition to dominate the world; so he surrounded 
himself with the most able chemical advisers and scientists. Ever since then 
science, technology, and chemistry in particular have played a role of increas- 
ing importance in the armament of nations. . . . 

Do not reproach chemistry with the fact that nitrocellulose, of which the first 
application was to heal wounds and to advance the art of photography, was 
stolen away from these ultrapacific purposes for making smokeless powder and 
for loading torpedoes. Do not curse the chemist when phenol, which revolu- 
tionized surgery, turned from a blessing to humanity into a fearful explosive 
after it had been discovered that nitration changes it into picric acid. 

Let us hope, in the meantime, that war carried to its modern logical grue- 
someness, shorn of all its false glamour, deceptive picturesqueness, and rhetor- 
ical bombast, exposed in all the nakedness of its nasty horrors, may hurry along 
the day when we shall be compelled to accept means for avoiding its repetition. 

Americans, North or South, probably without exception will join 
eagerly in the hope thus eloquently expressed, but in the meantime 
and under present conditions a strong, rich nation can no more exist 
without adequate means of self-defense than a modern city could exist 
without a trained police force and fire department. This paper has 
shown that fixed nitrogen is the first and most important element of 
national defense. The paper will have well served the author's purpose 
in preparing it if it should succeed even to a slight extent in calling atten- 
tion to the necessity for purchasing and storing at a central point 
an adequate supply of Chilean nitrate. As an alternative, arrangements 
should be made which would have the effect of inducing capital to exploit 
in this country the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. ' The fact that fixed 
nitrogen will become an increasingly important factor in the production 
of food simply means that, come peace or war, foresighted preparation 
will not under any circumstances be unprofitable or in vain. 

1 " Chemical Industry," address by Dr. L. H. Baekeland before the American, Chemical 
Society, Seattle, Wash., Aug. 31, 1915. 














120 2 



144 Q 






20 9 










Niton (radium emanation) 


14 01 






190 9 



79 92 



16 00 

Cadmium . . . 


112 40 



106 7 






31 04 






195 2 



12 . 005 



39 10 






140 9 

Chlorine . 











102 9 




Rubidium. . . ; 


85 45 



93 1 



101 7 



63 57 



150 4 



162 5 



44 1 



167 7 



79 2 






28 3 






107 88 

Gadolinium. . 





23 00 






87 63 






32 06 

Glucinum . 





181 5 



197 2 



127 5 



4 00 



159 2 



163 5 






1 008 



232 4 






168 5 



126 . 92 



118 7 






48 1 



55 84 






82 92 



238 2 









207 20 

Xenon. . . 


130 2 



6 94 

Ytterbium (Neoytterbium) 


173 5 





88 7 



24 32 



65 37 



54 93 



90 6 




See Report of the International Committee on Atomic Weights, 1917. 



ABBOT, 159 

Abel, 77, 80, 138, 141, 161 

Acceptance of powder, 130 

Acetates, 49 

Acetic acid, 82, 89 

Acetone, 51, 82, 84, 132 

Acetyl, 64 

Acetylene, 65 

Acid anhydrides, 12 

Acid color, 231 

Acids, 9-14, 16; fortifying, 124; on 

clothing, 302; nitrating, 124; spent, 


^Etna powder, 158 
Affinity, chemical, 5, 96; conditions 

influencing, 35 
Alcohol, 51, 65, 810, 82, 83, 108, 129, 

132, 191 
Alkalies, 16 
Alkaline earths, 16 
Alloys, 23, 24 
Amalgams, 24 
Amidogen, 17 
Ammonal, 50, 56 
Ammonium nitrate, 55-7 
Ammonium picrate, 80 
Ammunition, transportation of, 307, 

308, 317, 339, 340, 342 
Amyloid, 89 
Analytical reactions, 8 
Anhydrides, 12, 15 
Apparatus (for laboratory experi- 
ments), 292 

Appendix, 271, 305, 349 
Arrangement of explosive charges for 

demolitions, 266, 267 
Artiad, 19 

Ash, nitrocellulose, 197 
Atlas powder, 156, 158 
Atom, 2, 3, 5, 19, 28, 35 
Atomic heat, 35 
Atomic mass, 32 
Atomic properties, 3 
Atomic space, 29, 39 
Atomic weights, 3, 4, 29, 31-36, 38; 

International, 372 

Austen, Dr. Peter T., 161 
Avidity, 14 
Avogadro's Law, 28, 32 

BALLISTIC efficiency of powder, 133 

Ballistite, 136 

Barium nitrate, 57 

Barriers, 264 

Base, chemical, 9-10, 15-16; of 
dynamites, 152; of nitrocellulose 
110, 123; of nitroglycerine, 158 

Basicity, 13, 14 

Bath, sand, 298; water, 297 

Beaker, 295 

Benzene hydroxides, 74, 75 

Benzenes, 65, 67; nitro-, 68; mono- 
nitro-, 68; dinitro-, 70; trinitro-, 

Bernadou, 112, 120 

Berthelot, 141, 143, 144, 152, 159 

Binary compounds, 9, 11 

Binary rule, 13 

Black powder, 98; manufacture of, 
98-103; ingredients of, 98; prep- 
aration of ingredients, 98; sifting, 
99; mixing, 100; incorporation, 
100; mill-cake, 101; press-cake, 
102; granulation, 102; dusting, 
.103; glazing, 103; drying, 103; 
packing, 103; transportation of, 
314, 322, 338 

Blasting, 253-257 

Blasting caps, 175, 176; transporta- 
tion of, 312, 319, 323, 338 

Blasting gelatin, 159 

Blending, 130, 139 

Blow-pipe, 298 

Bloxam, 148, 168 

Blue fire, 58 

BN powder, 132 

Body, 2 

Boiling, effect of, on nitrocellulose, 
119, 193 

Boiling-point, 25 

Bores of guns, increase of lengths of, 




Bottles, double-neck, 302 

Breaking-down machine, 101 

Brick wall, demolition, 268 

Bridges, demolition of, 257-261; ma- 
sonry, 257; wooden, 259; iron, 
259; suspension, 261 

Bromine, role of, in war, 90, 369 

Brown powder, 104; manufacture of, 
104; ingredients of, 104 

Brugere, 77, 80, 161 

Bruley, 110, 112-119; table, 116; 
general results, 117 

Buildings, demolition of, 253 

Butyric acid, 89 

By-products, nitro-, 110, 119, 139, 179 

CALORIFIC intensity, 92-3, 96 

Calorific value, 92-93, 96 

Cap composition, 174 

Caps, 167, 178, 241 

Caps, blasting, transportation of, 312, 
319, 323, 338 

Carbohydrates, 67 

Carbolic acid, 74 

Carbon, 61; role of in war, 359 

Carbonate of soda, 192 

Carbonates, 13, 49 

Carbonyl, 17, 64 

Carboxyl, 64 

Cars for shipment of explosives, in- 
spection, selection and prepara- 
tion, placarding and certification 
of contents, loading, handling, see 
Appendix II, page 305 

Cartridges, ball, powder for, 209 

Cavendish, 55 

Cellulose, 51, 81fc, 86-90, 190; an al- 
cohol, 81/i, 107; structural formula 
of, 88-9; nitration of, 110 

Certificates of shipment of explosives, 

Chambers in guns, 107 

Chance -Glaus, 59 

Charcoal, 61-64; function of, in ex- 
plosives, 61; source of, 62; cylin- 
der-, 62; pit-, 62; charring-, 62; 
mixture of, with sulphur, 63; mix- 
ture of, with nitrates, 63; absorp- 
tion of gases by, 63; spontaneous 
combustion of, 63; from rye straw, 
63; analysis of, 64; powders, 98 

Charges for demolition, arrangement 
of, 266; weights of, 255, 261, 262, 
266, 267, 268 

Charging shell and torpedoes, 241 

Chemical affinity, 5 

Chemical properties, 22 

Chemical reactions, 8 

Chemical tests, 10 

Chemistry, principles of, 1; organic, 
21; inorganic, 21; objects, 22; 
role of in war, 38, 349 

Chili saltpeter, 54, 55 

Chlorates, 49, 51, 58 

Chlorides, 13 

Classification of explosives, 91, 98, 
214, 215; for transportation, 310 

Cleaning of raw material before ni- 
trating cellulose, 123 

Collodion, 112, 121 

Colloiding, 127 

Colloidization, 122, 127 

Colloids, 121, 209; ether-alcohol 
series of, 122, 132, 133; acetone 
series of, 122, 132, 133 

Color tests, 10, 76, 180, 236 

Combination, chemical, 10 

Combustibles, 51 

Combustion, 92 

Commercial explosives, energy of, 267 

Composite colloids, 133, 134 

Composite powders, 130-134, 161 

Composition cap, 174 

Compound explosive, 107 

Compounds, 3; binary, 9, 11; qua- 
ternary, 15; ternary, 15; of or- 
ganic origin, 64 

Condensation, 25; law of, 30-31, 39; 
of moisture in magazines, 221 

Connecting up lead wires, 246 

Cope, W. C., 176 

Cordite, 48, 132, 134 

Cork-borer, 301 

Cork dynamite, 157 

Corpuscle, 2 

Corpuscular theory of matter, 2 

Crucibles, 297 

Cundill, 161, 162 

Curves, " dry-house," packed, loss, 
189, 198 

Cushman, Allerton S., Ph.D., 38, 

Cyanogen, 17 

DEAD oil, 72 

Decomposing explosives, powder, 
231, 232; guncotton, 138; nitro- 
glycerine, 151 

Decomposition, 27, 95 

Definitions of explosives, 310 

Dehydrating, 127, 199 

Deliquescence, 25 

Delivery of powder, 130 

Demolitions, 252-268; classification 
of, 252; of revetment walls, 252, 
268; of buildings, 253; of masonry 



bridges, 257-259, 268; of wooden 
bridges, 259; of iron bridges, 259; 
of suspension bridges, 261; of 
masonry piers, 261, 268; of iron 
plates, 262, 268; subaqueous, 262; 
of tunnels, 263; of stockades and 
barriers, 264-268; of railroads, 264; 
of trees and beams, 267-268; of a 
brick wall, 268; of field guns, 268; 
of siege guns, 268; of sea-coast 
guns, 263; of steel rails, 268; ar- 
rangement of charges for, 266, 267; 
safety precautions in handling 
charges, 242-243; firing charges, 
244; weights of charges for, 255, 
261, 262, 266, 267, 268 

Designolles, 80, 161 

Detonating explosives, 135-166 

Detonating fuses, transportation of, 
312, 322, 328, 338 

Detonating primers, 175 

Detonation, 95 

Dichlorides, 48 

Die-press, 128 

Dimensions of powder grains, 201 

Dimethyl-ketone, 83 

Dinitrobenzene, 69, 70, 71 

Dinitrocellulose, 109 

Dinitroglycerine, 145 

Dinitronaphthalene, 74 

Dissociation, 26, 94, 95, 96, 106, 173 

Distillation, 25 

Dope, 152 

Double-neck bottles, 302 

Drowning, 125, 146 

Drying powder, 103, 129, 196, 200; 
cotton, 124 

Dulong, 35 

Dunn, Col. B. W., 238 

Dusting, 103 

Dynamites, 152-158, 182, 230, 265; 
general and special meaning of, 152, 
153; base, 152; dope, 152; kinds 
of bases, 152; classification of, 152; 
inert bases, 152; active bases, 152; 
modification of bases, to suit work, 
152; kieselguhr, 153, 155; No. 1, 
153, 155, 156; No. 2, 153, 155, 156; 
No. 3, 153; manufacture of, 153, 
154; sensitiveness of, 154; igniting 
point of, 154; effect of heat on, 154, 
157; "leaking" of, 154; freezing 
of, 155; thawing of, 155; use of, 
155; limiting per cent of nitro- 
glycerine in, 155; physical prop- 
erties of, 155; explosive force of, 
155; examples of, 156; effect of 
light on, 157; storage stability of, 

157; effect of water on, 157; means 
of exploding, 157; table of dyna- 
mites, 158; gelatin, 161; heat test 
of, 182; storage regulations for, 
230; transportation of, 309, 310 

E. C. powder, 134 

Ecrasite, 77 

Eder, 110; series of nitrations, 111 

Efficiency of powders, 131 

Eissler, 154 

Electric primers, 174-178 

Elements, 3-4, 9, 372 

Empirical formula, 41 

Endothermic, 26, 65 

Energy of commercial explosives, 267 

English magazine regulations, 213 

Equivalent weight, 21 

Ether, 51, 65, 810, 83, 108, 132, 191, 


Ethyl, 64 

Ethyl alcohol, 810, 82, 83, 133 
Ethyl ether, 810, 81ft, 83, 108, 191 
Evaporation, 25 
Evaporation dishes, 296 
Even numbers, law of, 19 
Exothermic, 26 

Experiments, laboratory, 271-302 
No. 1. Formation of metallic ox- 
ide, 271 

No. 2. Formation of metallic hy- 
droxide, 272 
No. 3. Formation of non-metallic 

oxide, 273 
No. 4. Combination of acid and 

basic oxides, 274 
No. 5. Formation of an oxyacid, 

No. 6. Formation of a hydracid, 

No. 7. Exchange of hydrogen for 

a metal, 276 
No. 8. Formation of an ous acid, 

No. 9. Formation of an ic acid, 

No. 10. Formation of an ite salt, 

No. 11. Formation of an ate salt, 


No. 12. Synthetical reaction, 279 
No. 13. Analytical reaction, 279 
No. 14. Metathetical reaction, 


No. 15. Influence of temperature 

on chemical action, 280 

No. 16. Influence of liquid state 

on chemical action, 280 



Experiments, laboratory (continued) 
No. 17. Influence of insolubility 

in reactions, 281 
No. 18. Influence of volatility in 

reactions, 281 

No. 19. Influence of gaseous en- 
velope in reactions. .282 
No. 20. Catalytic action, 22 
No. 21. Disposing affinity, 283 
No. 22. Production of the alka- 
lies, 283 
No. 23. Production of the alkaline 

earths, 284 
No. 24. Production of other me- 

tcllic hydroxides, 285 
No. 25. Production of oxygen, 

No. 26. Production of hydrogen, 

No. 27. Production of chlorine, 


No. 28. Production of carbon di- 
oxide, 286 
No. 29. Production of ammonia 

gas, 287 
No. 30. Production of hydrogen 

sulphide, 287 
No. 31. Production of nitric acid, 


No. 32. Production of hydro- 
chloric acid, 288 
No. 33. Test for soluble chloride, I 

No. 34. Test for soluble sulphate, 


No. 35. Test for soluble hydrox- 
ide, 289 

No. 36. Test for soluble carbon- 
ate, 289 
No. 37. Test for soluble calcium 

salt, 289 

No. 38. Test for a nitrate in solu- 
tion, 290 
No. 39. Test for a soluble iron 

salt, 290 
No. 40. Production of an acetone 

colloid, 291 
No. 41. Production of an ether 

alcohol colloid, 291 
Experiments, trinitrotoluol, 81a 
Exploders, 167-178; ingredients of, 
167; associated materials, 167; 
necessary to vary exploding com- 
positions, 167; different primer 
compositions for different explo- 
sives, 167, 177; fulminates, 168; 
fulminate mercury, discarded from 
small-arm percussion compositions, 

U. S. A. service, 167; chlorate mix- 
ture substituted for, 167; fulminic 
acid, 168; manufacture of mer- 
cury fulminate, 170; physical prop- 
erties of mercury fulminate, 171; 
means of exploding mercury ful- 
minate, 171; volume of gases, 171; 
heat of combination, 172; heat 
of combustion, 173; temperature 
of explosion, 173; explosive reac- 
tion, 173; pressure of explosion, 
173; cap composition, 174; sand 
test, 176 

Exploding machine, 243, 251 

Explosion by influence, 143 

Explosions, 91-97; classification of, 
91; low order, 92; high order, 95; 
progressive, 92. 

Explosive compound, 50, 107 

Explosive D, explosive force of, 8 la, 

Explosive gelatin, 159-161, 267; 
chemical principle involved in, 
159; proportion of ingredients of, 
159; manufacture of, 159; color 
of, 160; stability of, 160; special 
primer for, 160; effect of camphor 
in, 160; effect of benzene in, 160; 
sensitiveness of, 160; effect of 
freezing on, 160; effect of high 
temperatures, 160; gelatin dyna- 
mite, 161; stability of, heat test 
for, 160, 184; liquefaction test for, 
184; exudation test for, 185 . 

Explosive mixture, 50, 107 

Explosive molecule, 50, 107 

Explosive projectiles, see Projectiles. 

Explosive reaction, 46-7, 91 ; for gun- 
powder, 46; for mercury fulminate, 
173; for guncotton, 144; for nitro- 
glycerine, 150; for cordite, 48; for 
picric acid, 48 

Explosives, general remarks on, 91-7; 
substances used in manufacture of, 
50-90; classification of, 91; pro- 
gressive, 98-134; detonating, 135- 
166; service tests of, 179-90; pro- 
tection, 212; storage, 212; stor- 
age regulations for, 229-230; table 
of relative strengths of, 267; ar- 
rangement of charges for firing, 
266; weights of charges for demo- 
litions, 255, 261, 262, 266, 267, 268; 
energy of commercial, 267; trans- 
portation of, 307-345; forbidden 
and condemned transportation, 
310, 338; acceptable, for shipment 
by express, 341 



Explosive wave, 96, 97, 142 
Express, regulations for transporta- 
tion of explosives by, 336-344 

FILTERING paper, 295 
Fire-cracker composition, 59 
Fire-damp, 55 
Fireworks, transportation of, 313, 

321, 339, 340, 343 

Firing a charge of explosive for demo- 
litions, 241-243 

" Firing " in manufacture of nitro- 
glycerine, 146 

Fixed proportions, law of, 27 

Flasks, glass, 295 

Forbidden explosives, transportation 
of, 310, 338 

Forcite, 158 

Formic acid, 89 

Formulas, molecular, 7, 42; graphic, 
18, 21; structural, 18, 21; empiri- 
cal, 41 

Fortifying acid, 124, 147 

Fossano powder, 105 

Free-acid test, 180 

Friction composition, 58, 174 

Fulminates, 91, 167-178; of gold, 
168; of silver, 168; mercury, dis- 
carded from small-arms percussion 
composition, in U. S. A. service, 
167; chlorate mixture substituted 
for, 167-174; manufacture of ful- 
minate of mercury, 170; trans- 
portation of, 317, 325, 328, 338 

Fulmination, 96 

Fulminic acid, 168-169 

Funnels, 295 

Fuses, transportation of, 312, 320, 

322, 326, 328, 339, 342 
Fusing-point, 25 
Fusion, 25 

GELATIN dynamite, 161 

German heat test, 180, 187 

Giant powder, 156, 158 

Ginite, 56 

Glazing, 103 

Glycerides, 85 

Glycerine, 51, 810, 85 

Glyceryl hydroxide, 85 

Grains, powder, 102, 106, 201 

Granulation of black powder, 102; 

of smokeless powder, 128, 200, 201 ; 

of powder for cartridges for small 

arms, 209 

Graphic formulas, 18-21 
Graphite, 192 
Gravity, 5 

Green, Prof. Arthur G., 77 

Green fire, 58 

Grenades, hand, charges for, 90 

Guncottpn, 121, 135-144, 265-266; 
explosive reaction for, 47, 144; 
manufacture of, 135; primer, 136, 
243; physical properties of, 136; 
decomposing reagent, 137; use of, 
137; safety of, 137; stability in 
storage, 137-138; evidences of de- 
composition of, 138; treatment of 
decomposing, 138; effect of light 
on, 138; effect of water on, 139, 
140; effect of NaCO 3 on, 140; ef- 
fect of freezing on, 140; effect of 
variation of temperature on, 141; 
means of exploding, 141; rate of 
.burning of, 141; specific heat of 
gases resulting from explosion of, 
141; heat of explosion of, 141, 143; 
temperature of explosion of, 141; 
pressure of gases resulting from ex- 
plosion of, 141-142, 143; explosive 
wave of, 96, 142; primers for, 142; 
induced or sympathetic explosions 
of, 143; products of explosion of, 
144; potassium-iodide-starch test 
for, 185; storage regulations for, 
230; transportation of, 345 

Gunpowder, explosive reaction for, 

Guns, increase of lengths of bores of, 
106; demolition of, 268 

Guttmann, 121, 139, 140, 148, 168,212 

HALOGENS, role of in war, 368 

Hand grenades, charges for, 90 

Handling explosives, 240-251; pre- 
cautions to be taken in, 240; in 
transportation, 307-345 

Haussermann, 81a 

Heat, in chemical actions, 25; unit of, 
34, 92; effect of, on nitromole- 
cules, 139, 179; general effects of, 
26, 36, 95; of combustion, 93; tests, 
179, 182, 184, 186, 187, 197, 209, 
233, 234 

Hecla powder, 157 

Hercules powder, 157 

Heterogeneous bodies, 2, 3 

Hexagonal powder, 102, 106 

High explosion, 91, 95 

High explosive, 91; 135-166; ship- 
ment of, 311, 315, 338; storage of, 

High nitration, 120 

Homogeneous bodies, 2, 3 

Humidity of magazines, 219-228 



Hydracids, 13, 16 
Hydrocarbons, 51, 64 
Hydrocellulose, 89, 120 
Hydrogen, role of in war, 363 
Hydroxides, 15, 16, 17, 49, 81 
Hydroxybenzene, 74 
Hydroxyl, 15, 17, 64 

INDUCED explosions, 143 

Indurite, 70, 123 

Ingredients of charcoal powders, 
black, 98; brown, 104 

Insolubility, principle of, 36 

Insoluble nitrocellulose, 120, 121 

Inspection of powder, 231-234; of 
cars for transportation of explo- 
sives, 328 

International atomic weights, 372 

Interstate Commerce Commission 
regulations for the transportation 
of explosives by freight and by ex- 
press, 307-345 

Iodide, nitrogen, 351 

Iodine, role of in war, 370 

JOINTING wires, 246-248 
Judson powder, 157, 158 

KEKULE, 168 
Ketones, 66, 810, Slh 
Kieselguhr, 153, 155 

LABELS for explosives, 341, 344 

Laboratory experiments, 271-292 
(see "Experiments"); apparatus 
and materials, 292; notes, 293 

Laflin & Rand exploder, 248-251 

Lamps, 297 

Law, of even numbers, 19; Avoga- 
dro's, 28; of fixed proportions, 27; 
of multiples, 27; of condensation, 
30-1, 39; U. S., regulating trans- 
portation of explosives, 345 

" Leaking " dynamite, 154 

Length of bores of guns, 106 

Light, effects of, 138, 234 

Light oil, 72 

Lighting magazines, 228-229; 234 

Limit state of nitrocellulose, 119 

Litharge, 79 

Litmus, 10, 231; test, 180 

Lodge, Oliver, 213 

Lot of powder, 124 

Low explosion, 92 

Low explosive, 91 

Low nitration, 120 

Lunge, 110 

Lyddite, 77, 80, 162 

MACARONI press, 128 

Magazines, 212-239; storage, 212; 
service, 212; English, regulations, 
213; heating of, 213; classification 
of explosives for storage, 214-215; 
conditions, 214-215, 239, 241; 
limiting temperatures for, 216; 
arrangement of packages in, 218; 
ventilation of, 219; lighting of, 
228; special regulations for high 
explosives, 229-231; distances from 
inhabited buildings, 238,239; reg- 
ulations for powder, 231-236; rec- 
ord book, 233; regulations of Ord- 
nance Dept., U. S. Army, 235 

Magneto-exploder, 243-248 

Mallet, Dr. J. W., Slh, 86 

Mammoth powder, 105 

Marking of explosives for shipment, 
313, 317-322, 341, 344 

Marks, 130 

Masonry demolitions, 252; tunnels, 

Maas, 1, 2, 32 

Materials for laboratory desk, 292 

Matter, forms of, 1 

Maximite, 166 

Maxim-Schupphaus powder, 133, 134 

Maximum pressures in bores of guns, 

Meal powder, 102 

Mean nitration, 120 

Melinite, 77, 161, 162 

Mendeleefs Vumo relation, 46, 48; ex- 
periments, 131; pyrocollodion, 111, 
112 131133 

Mercury fulminate, 167, 170, 177 

Metallurgy, role of in war, 350 

Metals, 3^, 9 

Metathetical reactions, 8 

Methyl, 17, 64 

Methyl-violet test, 236 

Microcrith, 34 

Mill-cake, 101 

Mines, Bureau of, 176, 177, 178 

Mines, land, 265-266 

Mirbane oil, 68, 89 

Misfire, 241 

Mixtures, 3, 23, 50, 107 

Moisture, 219 

Molded powders, 106 

Molding-press, 134 

Molecular formula, 7, 42 

Molecular weight, 32 

Molecule, 1,2, 5, 6,17, 19, 24, 28, 50, 107 

Monochlorides, 48 

Mononitrobenzene, 69, 70 

Mononitrocellulose, 109 



Mononitroglycerine, 145 
Mononitronaphthalene, 73 
Mortars, 302 
Mowbray, 151 
Multiples, law of, 27 
Monroe, 70, 142, 148, 155, 174 


Nascent state, 37, 96 

Navy powder, 133 

Navy primer, 174 

Nitrates, 13, 48, 51, 133 

Nitrating acids, 124 

Nitre, 51 

Nitre-bed, 51 

Nitrites, 13 

Nitrobenzene, 68, 69 

Nitrocellulose, 98, 107-122, 125, 133, 
134; Army Ord. test, 186; man- 
ufacture, 192; testing, 194-197; 
Bruley's experiments with, 1 12-1 19 ; 
nitro by-products associated with, 
119; cause affecting the nitration 
of cellulose, 118; time of steeping 
of, 118; Will's experiments with, 
119; nomenclature of, 120; dry 
transportation of, 310, 338 

Nitroglycerine, 144-152, 267; man- 
ufacture of, 145; " firing " of, 146; 
physical properties of, 147; effect 
of cold on, 148; solubility of, 148; 
decomposing reagent, 148, 151, 
152; color test of, 148; physical 
tests'of, 148; thawing of, 148-149; 
stability of, 149; evidences of de- 
composition of, 149, 151; tem- 
perature limits for storage of, 150; 
means of exploding, 150; danger of 
empty receptacles, 150; explosive 
reaction of, 47, 150; gaseous 
products of explosion of, 151 ; tem- 
perature of explosion of, 151; 
force of explosion of, 151; danger 
of transporting, 151; storage of, 
151; heat test of, 182; storage reg- 
ulations for, 229-230; transpor- 
tation of, 310, 315, 338 

Nitrogen, oxidation of N of air, 54; 
content, 110, 117, 197, 199, 202; 
iodide, 351 ; role of in war, 350 

Nitrohydrocellulose, 120, 160 

Nitroxyl, 17 

Nitryl, 17, 50, 64 

Nobel, 141, 150, 151, 153, 159 

Nomenclature, chemical, 9-16; of 
nitrocellulose, 120 

Non-metals, 3, 4, 9 

Notation, chemical, 6-7 

Notes, laboratory, 293-302 
Notodden process of oxidizing nitro- 
gen of the air, 55 


Orthoparadinitrotoluene, 81a 
Oxidation of nitrogen of the ah*, 54, 55 
Oxides, 9-12, 16, 49 
Oxyacids, 12, 13 
Oxygen, 51, 53, 57 

PACKING of explosives for shipment, 
308, 309, 313-321, 323-325, 341, 
342, 343 

Paraffins, 65 

Parchment paper, 89 

Percentage composition, 41 

Percolation of water in magazines, 

Percussion caps, 174 

Perforated prism powder, 106 

Perissad, 19 

Permitted explosives, see Explosives. 

Peruvian saltpetre, 54 

Petit, 35 

Phenic acid, 74 

Phenol, 51, 74; trinitro-, 76 

Phenolphthalein, 76, 180 

Phenomena, physical and chemical, 

Phenyls, 64, 66 

Phosphates, 49 

Physical properties, 22; of powder, 

Physical tests of powder grains, 202 

Picker machine in manufacture of 
nitrocellulose, 123 

Picrates, 79, 80; ammonium, 80 

Picric acid, 76; manufacture of, 77, 
derivatives, 161 

Piers, bridge, demolition of, 259 

Placards on cars containing explo- 
sives, 328-332, 335, 341, 343 

Plastomenite, 134 

Poacher, 126 

Poaching, 193 

Potassium-iqdide-starch heat test, 180 

Potassium nitrate, 51 

Powder B, 133 

Powder BN, 132, 134 

Powder, delivery and acceptance of, 

Powder grains, dimensions of, 201 

Powders, charcoal, 98-106; nitro- 
cellulose, 98, 107; Army Ordnance 
test, 188; black, 98, 265-266; 
brown, 98, 104; meal, 102; spe- 
cial, 105; prismatic, 105; mam- 

3 8o 


moth, 105; pebble, 105; Fossano, 
105; navy, 133, 134; army, 133, 
134; ballistic efficiency of, 133; 
U. S. Service specifications, 190, 
211; finished, 209; magazine ex- 
aminations, 231; transportation, 
311, 312, 314, 315, 317, 322, 326, 
328, 338 

Precautions, 240-244 

Precipitate, 37 

Preparing a charge for firing, 244 

Press-cake, 102 

Pressures, 94, 131, 173, 204, 207 

Primer cartridge, 245 

Primers, 167, 177, 241-242,245; com- 
mercial, 175; navy, 174; army, 
176; primer cartridge, 245; trans- 
portation of, 312-313, 320-321, 323, 
326, 330, 339, 342 

Problems, stoichiometrical, 40-8 

Products, 8 

Progressive explosives, 91, 98 

Projectiles, transportation of, 312, 
319, 338 

Propelling explosives, 91 

Propenyl alcohol, 85 

Properties, general, of important sub- 
stances, 48 

Propionic acid, 89 

Pulp, wood, nitrification of, 123 

Pulper, 126 

Pulping, 193 

Pure colloid powders, 130, 132, 133 

Purification, 119, 125 

Pyrocellulqse, 121, 133 

Pyrocollodion, 112 

Pyrogallol, 75 

Pyrotechnic composition, 58 

QUATERNARY compound, 15 
Quinone, 66, Slh, 87 

RACKAROCK, 77, 267 

Radicals, 17, 64 

Railroads, demolition of, 264 

Rails, steel, demolition of, 268 

Railways, transportation of explo- 
sives on, 307-345 

Raw materials, 190 

Reactions, chemical, 7-9, 39, 91 

Reagents, chemical, 8, 292 

Red fire, 58 

Regulations, Interstate Commerce 
Commission, for transportation of 
explosives, 307-345 

Rendrock, 156 

Revetment walls, demolition of, 252 

Rifleite, 133 

Robinson, Capt., 104 

Rodman, Gen. T. J., experiments of, 


Role of Chemistry in the War, 38, 349 
Roux, 141 

Rubber sheeting, 302 
Rubber stoppers, 301 
Rubber tubing, 301 

SAFETY explosives, 56 

Safety fuse, see Fuse. 

Safety nitro powder, 156 

Safety precautions, 240-244 

Safety squibs, see Squibs. 

Saltpetre, 51, 54, 352 

Salts, 10, 14, 16 

Samples of explosives for laboratory 
examination, transportation of, 340 

Samples of powder for test, 194-197, 
201, 209 

Sand-bath, 298 

Sand test method of blasting powder, 

Sarrou, 141, 143 

Saturated molecule, 19 

Schaw, R. E., 259 

Schultze powder, 134 

Schweitzer's reagent, 88 

Shell fillers, 67, 161-166; conditions 
prescribed by Army Ordnance 
Board, 162-166; charging of, 241 

Shimose shell-filler, 77 

Shipment of explosives, 307-345; 
from connecting car lines, 327; 

Shipping names, 322 

Small-arms ammunition, transporta- 
tion of, 318, 326, 330, 339, 342 

Small arms, powder for ball car- 
tridges for, 209 

Smokeless powder, explosive reac- 
tion for, 47; manufacture of, 123, 
198; quality, 198; tests, 186, 198, 
201-211; specifications and tests, 
207; for ball cartridges for small 
arms, 209; examination of, in mag- 
azines, 231; regulations of Ord- 
nance Dept., U. S. Army, 235-236; 
handling, 240-241 ; transportation 
of, 311, 312, 317, 322, 326, 330, 338 

Sodium carbonate, 140 

Sodium nitrate, 54 

Solubilities, general, of substances, 48 

Solubility of nitrocellulose, 110, 119, 
120, 121, 122 

Solutions, 23, 36 

Solvent, 23; recovery, 129 


Solvents, 82, 89, 120, 122, 199, 209, 
210; ether-alcohol, 122; acetone, 

Spatulas, 296 

Special powders, 105, 106 

Specifications for U. S. nitrocellulose 
and smokeless powders for cannon, 
190, 207 

Specific gravity, 29, 30 

Specific heat, 34-35, 93, 94, 141 

Spent acids, 124 

Spontaneous combustion, 59, 63 

Squibs, safety, transportation of, 313, 

Stability of nitrocellulose, 119 

Stability tests, 179, 209 

Stillman, Dr. Thomas B., 156, 161 

Stockades, demolition of, 264, 268 

Stoichiometry, 38-40; problems in, 

Stoppers, cork, 302; rubber, 301 

Storage of explosives, temperature, 
141-150; regulations for, 212-239 

Storm, C. G., 176 

Strengths of explosives, 267 

Structural formulas, 18-21 

Stuff-chest, 135 

Subaqueous demolitions, 262 

Sublimation, 25 

Substances, chemical classification of, 
11, 16 

Sulphates, 13, 48 

Sulphides, 13, 49 

Sulphites, 13 

Sulphur, 59-61 

Sulphuric acid, effect on dry cellu- 
lose, 89, 90 

Sulphuric ether, 84 

Sulphur solution, 152, 229 

Sunlight, 138, 200, 234 

Supports, iron, 296, 297 

Swiss normal powder, 133 

Symbols, chemical, 6, 38-9 

Sympathetic explosion, 143 

Synthetical reactions, 8 

TEMPERATURE, 25, 94; of magazines 

216, 219, 234 
Ternary compounds, 15 
Test, samples, 196, 204, 208, 231 
Tests, chemical, 10; heat, 179, 180, 
182, 184, 186, 187, 194-195, 209, 232- 
233; physical, 202; methyl violet, 

Tests, service, 135 C. German, 180, 
187; 115 C. Army Ordnance, 
180, 188-190; potassium-iodide- 
starch, 180; litmus, 180; free 

acid, 180; free alkali, 180; mer- 
curic chloride, 180; dynamite, 
182; nitroglycerine, 182; explo- 
sive gelatin, 184, 185; guncotton, 
185; liquefaction, 184; exudation, 
185; ballistic, 189; color, 10, 76, 
236; trinitrotoluol, solidifying point, 
softening point, specific gravity, 
softening test, 81e; staining and 
heat tests, ash, acidity, SI/; nitro- 
cellulose, Army Ordnance, 188; 
" dry-house " condition curve of 
residual solvent, " packed " con- 
dition curve of total volatiles. 
curve of loss, Ordnance 115 C. 
189; sampling heat, 194; Ger- 
man, nitration, 196; soluble and 
insoluble, 197; smokeless powder, 
186, 198; sampling, 201; physical 
test, 202; German, 203, 210; Ord- 
nance, 203; surveillance, 198, 203; 
ballistic, 204; velocity and pres- 
sure, loading, 211 

Test-tubes, 294; cleaner, 294; racks, 
294; draining-pegs, 294 

Tetranitromethylanilin, 178 

Thawing nitroglycerine or dynamite, 
148-149, 155, 241 

Thompson, J. J., 2, 21 

Time-fuse train, 244 

Tolite, see Trinitrotoluol, 81 

Toluene, Sla 

Torpedoes, 241-242 

Transportation of explosives, 307- 
345; lawregulating, 345-246; hand- 
ling, 323; loading in cars, 324; 
cars containing, 333; in yards, 334; 
shifting cars, 334 

Trees, demolition of, 267 

Trilite, see Trinitrotoluol, 81 

Trinitrobenzene, 71 

Trinitrocellulose, 109 

Trinitroglycerine, 145 

Trinitromethylbenzene, see Trinitro- 
toluol, 81 

Trinitromethylnitramine, 178 

Trinitrophenol, 76 

Trinitrotoluene, see Trinitrotoluol, 81 

Trinitrotoluol, structural formula, 
relation to benzene series, chemical 
similarity to picric acid and the 
picrates, 81; explosive force, 8 la, 
Sid; experiments, Sla; manufac- 
ture, 81a; properties, 81 c; chem- 
ical specifications for military tri- 
nitrotoluol, 8 la", tests, 81e 

Trinol, see Trinitrotoluol, 81 

Tritone, see Trinitrotoluol, 81 



Trotol, see Trinitrotoluol, 81 
Trotyl, see Trinitrotoluol, 81 
Tubing, glass, 300; rubber, 301 
Tunnels, demolition of, 263 

UNIT of heat, 34, 92 
Units for use in stoichiometry, 40 
U. S. Army powder, 133, 134, 188-211 
U. S. Navy powder, 133, 134 

VALENCY, 3-4, 5, 18-21 

Vaporization, 25 

Velocity and pressures, 131, 204; 

tests 211; and lengths or bases of 

guns, 131 

Ventilation of magazines, 219-228 
Vielle's experiments, 110; series of 

nitrocelluloses, 111, 121; powder, 

133; guncotton, 141, 143 
Vinic alcohol, 82 
Volatiles, 202, 209 

Volatility, 37 

Volume, standard, 28-9, 39 

Vulcan powder, 157 

WALKE, Slh, 86, 148 

Wash-bottle, 299 

Washer, 123 

Washing, 119, 123, 125, 126, 127, 194 

Watch-glass, 302 

Water, in nitric and sulphuric acids, 
114; in guncotton, 136; effect of, 
on storage of guncotton, 139 

Water-bath, 297 

Wave, explosive, 96, 97, 142 

Web of powder grains, 106, 209 

Weight, 5; equivalent, 21 

Will, experiments of, 110, 119 

Wires, jointing of, 246-8 

Wood pulp, nitrification of, 123 

Wrecks of cars containing explosives, 

Wringer, centrifugal, 123 







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