gunpowder


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gunpowder,

explosive mixture; its most common formula, called "black powder," is a combination of saltpeter, sulfur, and carbon in the form of charcoal. Historically, the relative amounts of the components have varied. An increase in the percentage of saltpeter (potassium nitrate) increases the speed of combustion. In the past gunpowder was widely used for blasting and for propelling bullets from guns but it has been largely replaced by more powerful explosivesexplosive,
substance that undergoes decomposition or combustion with great rapidity, evolving much heat and producing a large volume of gas. The reaction products fill a much greater volume than that occupied by the original material and exert an enormous pressure, which can be
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. Another form of powder containing potassium chlorate instead of the nitrate is commonly used in fireworks and in matches. The origin of gunpowder was probably Chinese, for it seems to have been known in China at least as early as the 9th cent. and was there used for making firecrackers. There is evidence suggesting that it came to Europe through the Arabs. Roger Bacon was long credited with inventing it because a formula for making it is given in a work attributed to him, and some German scholars have credited its invention to the alchemist-monk Berthold Schwarz. However, it is now generally agreed that gunpowder was introduced and not invented in Europe in the 14th cent. Its use revolutionized warfare and ultimately played a large part in the alteration of European patterns of living up until modern times. Gunpowder was the only explosive in wide use until the middle of the 19th cent., when it was superseded by nitroglycerine-based explosives.

gunpowder

[′gən‚pau̇d·ər]
(materials)
A black or brown explosive mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulfur; originally, it was made in powder form, now generally in grains of various sizes.

Gunpowder

Ichabod Crane’s favorite steed. [Am. Lit.: Washington Irving “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”]
See: Horse
References in periodicals archive ?
Every schoolkid in England knows the rhyme about Remember, remember the fifth of November, and they probably know a little something about the Gunpowder Plot but not really the whole picture," Harington says.
Kit, 30, has also ventured into life behind the cameras as a producer of the BBC series Gunpowder.
TV's Gunpowder centres on the exploits of ringleaders Robert Catesby and Guy Fawkes, played by Kit Harington and Tom Cullen respectively.
They also said the methods depicted are grounded in historical fact and reflect what took place during the time of the gunpowder plot.
A priest hid in the priest hole during the tense opening sequence of Gunpowder.
Gunpowder is all about choices, and the reasons desperate men make such choices, and it makes for a really great drama.
TAKING a break from his duties as King in the North in the hit TV drama Games of Thrones, Kit Harington is plotting a different kind of coup as the mastermind behind the failed gunpowder plot of 1605.
The actor stars in explosive new BBC historical drama Gunpowder, which tells the inside story of Guy Fawkes and the plot to blow up parliament and kill the reigning British monarch, James I - and James VI of Scotland - on November 5, 1605.
Contract notice: Supply Of Gunpowder And Pyrotechnic Articles For Aviation Equipment.
Gunpowder was roughly 75 percent saltpeter, or potassium nitrate, with the rest being charcoal and sulfur.
While most people know Fawkes was a Catholic who conspired to blow up the Protestant-run House of Parliament in 1605 --and England's King James I-- there is much more to the Gunpowder Plot.