Pyrotechnics, Rocketry & Explosive Science

The Chemical and Ballistic Properties of Black Powder

The chemical and ballistic properties of black powder are described in terms of storage stability, hygroscopicity, ignition sensitivity, compatibility with other materials, and burning rate.

The advantages of black powder are great sensitivity to ignition even at-low temperature, economy, multiplicity of uses, and relative safety in handling. Perhaps the main reason that black powder is considered for new designs is its relatively high burning rate at low pressure and small pressure burn-rate exponent.  In the absence of moisture black powder is extremely stable in normal conditions.

You are going to learn about the stability, ballistic properties, uses and users of black powder and sources of supply.  Substitutes for black powder are briefly discussed. Extensive references are cited in this report.

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