An explosive is a stable substance or device that upon detonation produces a volume of rapidly expanding gas that exerts sudden pressure on its surroundings.
An explosive is a stable substance or device that upon detonation produces a volume of rapidly expanding gas that exerts sudden pressure on its surroundings. In general, explosives are divided into two general types: propellants and detonators. Propellants, such as gunpowder and jet fuel, are used to accelerate
Explosives are further classified as blasting
Another classification of explosives separates them into chemical, mechanical, and nuclear types. Chemical
A hand grenade.
The first known explosive was black powder, also known as gunpowder. It was developed in
In 1425 the mixing process for the ingredients of black powder was greatly improved when the
By 1540 the French had become the first people to control explosive pressure in wheeled cannons by using relatively large, slow-burning powder grains of uniform size. In the seventeenth century, the English and Dutch militaries developed the
In the 1790’s Henry
In 1805 English artillerist Sir William
The development of different types of guns to propel explosive charges became critical in warfare. In the Crimean War
During the Battle of Königgrätz, Prussian soldiers were able to overwhelm the Austrians by firing six shots from their high-powered rifles for every shot discharged by the Austrian muzzle-loading rifles.
Until the discovery of fulminating gold in the early 1600’s, gunpowder was the only known explosive. Gunpowder remained in wide use until the mid-1800’s, when the first modern explosives,
Since black powder is relatively low in energy, leaves a large proportion of corrosive solids after explosion, and absorbs moisture readily, it was succeeded in the late 1800’s by smokeless
As early as 1873 picric
During the twentieth century, TNT was the most commonly used conventional military explosive. Although it had been used extensively in the dye industry during the late 1800’s, it was not adopted for use as a military explosive until 1902, when the German army used it to replace picric acid. TNT was first used in warfare during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). The U.S. Army began using it in 1912. After an economical process was developed for nitrating toluene, TNT became the chief artillery ammunition in World War I (1914-1918). The most valuable property of TNT is that it can be safely melted and cast alone or with other explosives as a slurry.
During World War
With the advent of tanks, World War II (1939-1945) saw a return to maneuver tactics, with artillery explosives continuing to provide the most destructive force on the battlefield.
Some of the most effective weapons used during World War II were
In more recent conflicts, such as the Korean War
During the 1990’s advances in onboard
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Swords, Daggers, and Bayonets
Small Arms and Machine Guns
Tanks and Armored Vehicles
Aircraft, Bombs, and Guidance Systems
Rockets, Missiles, and Nuclear Weapons
Chemical and Biological Weapons