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Stoichiometry of Black Powder


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https://chem.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/General_Chemistry/Book%3A_ChemPRIME_(Moore_et_al.)/03%3A_Using_Chemical_Equations_in_Calculations/3.03%3A_The_Limiting_Reagent/3.3.06%3A_Forensics-_Gunpowder_Stoichiometry

 

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Black powder is usually 75% potassium nitrate (KNO3, known as saltpeter or saltpetre), 15% softwood charcoal , and 10% sulfur (elemental S). Charcoal is made by heating wood with limited air, and is mostly carbon (elemental C), but contains trace minerals (such as potassium carbonate, K2CO3) and some partially decomposed wood chemicals like lignin C9H10O2, cellulose (C6H10O5)n.

There is no simple equation for the combustion of black powder because the products, as well as the reactants, are numerous and varied, as shown in this table:

55.91% solid products (in decending order of quantities) 42.98% gaseous products (in decending order of quantities)
K2CO3, K2SO4, K2S, S, KNO3, KSCN, C, NH4CO3, CO2, N2, CO, H2S, H2, CH4, H2O

https://www.chemistryviews.org/details/ezine/7049061/.html

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Combine 15 parts to 3 parts to 2 parts.

 

Yields Green powder. Will mechanically separate.

 

Wet with either: urine, wine or water.

 

Compress slurry into cake, allow to dry.

 

CAREFULLY grind into grains of needed size. 

 

Away from important stuff and in small lots

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16 hours ago, Subdeacon Joe said:

 

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There is no simple equation for the combustion of black powder because the products, as well as the reactants, are numerous and varied

 

This paper has extensive detail on the products (see bottom of page 62):

 

http://www.jes.or.jp/mag/stem/Vol.79/documents/Vol.79,No.3,p.59-69.pdf

 

The goal in this paper is to reduce BP smoke; lots of insight into the combustion (chemical) processes. The chemistry is a bit harder than your paper and very dense reading. But take a look if you feel like a deep dive.

 

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Dang you Joe. That's a term I haven't seen since college and hoped to never again. Don't know if you ever had to do reduction/oxidation problems or not, but they're enough to drive you to drink and maybe even lose your religion.

JHC

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29 minutes ago, Capt. James H. Callahan said:

Don't know if you ever had to do reduction/oxidation problems or not, but they're enough to drive you to drink and maybe even lose your religion.

 

 

Why do you think I posted it? :lol:

 

I had considered majoring in chemistry and still have some interest in it.  

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