Monday, October 11, 2021

Cool gunpowder story

Well, this is a lot cooler than baking sourdough: 
In the early days of the pandemic, Dawn E. Riegner, a chemist at an elite college, found that she had time on her hands because of the empty classrooms. So she filled her downtime with an explosive diversion.

Dr. Riegner talked three of her colleagues — and her daughter — into studying how well different kinds of gunpowder recipes from the Middle Ages performed in firing projectiles out of a replica cannon. Her ambitious plan was relatively easy to carry out because she’s a tenured professor of chemistry at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., which gave her access not only to top scholars and laboratories but world-class firing ranges.

“It’s a silver lining of the pandemic,” Dr. Riegner, whose usual research centers on better detection of explosives and chemical warfare agents, said in an interview of the gunpowder study. “It’s been one of the greatest things.”

Makes you wonder what the vinegar was used for... 

1 comment:

  1. maybe they added vinegar or brandy to control the grain size, hygroscopicity, or prevent caking.

    Gunpowder used to be an expensive commodity that was hard to produce, and it had to be made to be storable.

    KNO3 was obtained in low yields by multistep isolation from urine, human + animal excrement fermented on straw to ensure air access. The adjective "filthy rich" (it has equivalents in several languages) used to denote the gunpowder makes. They smelled of their filthy trade, and were rich indeed.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20