Compressed dry guncotton is easily detonated by an initiative detonator such as mercuric fulminate.
The explosive wave from the dry guncotton primer is in fact better responded to by the wet compressed material than the dry, and its detonation is somewhat sharper than that of the dry.
It is not necessary for the blocks of wet guncotton to be actually in contact if they be under water, and the peculiar explosive wave can also be conveyed a little distance by a piece of metal such as a railway rail.
A small charge of dry guncotton will, however, detonate the wet material, and this peculiarity is made use of in the employment of guncotton for blasting purposes.
Immediately after the discovery of guncotton SchOnbein proposed its employment as a substitute for gunpowder, and General von Lenk carried out a lengthy and laborious series of experiments intending to adapt it especially for artillery use.
The gaseous mixture obtained by burning guncotton in a vacuum vessel contains steam, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, nitric oxide, and methane.
The first step in the history of guncotton was made by T.
The employment of guncotton as a propellant was possible only after the discovery that it could be gelatinized or made into a colloid by the action of so called solvents, e.g.
A characteristic difference between guncotton and collodion cotton is the insolubility of the former in ether or alcohol or a mixture of these liquids.
A charge of compressed wet guncotton may be exploded, even under water, by the detonation of a small primer of the dry and waterproofed material, which in turn can be started by a small fulminate detonator.