Organic Substitutes for Charcoal in 'Black Powder' Type Pyrotechnic Formulations
Final technical rept.
ARMY BALLISTIC RESEARCH LAB ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND MD
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A number of crystalline organic compounds have been substituted for the charcoal in black powder in an effort to probe the chemical functionality on charcoal required for combustion. Compounds studied included a large number of polynuclear aromatics and polyphenols to probe the role of electron transfer reactions as well as an aromatic diacid and some phthalein salts. It was found that polynuclear aromatics which did not contain any type of oxygen functionally would not sustain combustion. The polyphenols, diacid, and phthalein salts all produced pyrotechnics which sustained combustion and some even burned faster than charcoal-black powder. It was also found that the phenolics which contained catecholhydroquinone moieties good organic reducing agents were less reactive than other phenolics. This effect has been attributed to a deactivating reaction between sulfur and the catecholhydroquinone effect. One of the mixtures, that containing phenolphthalein, was evaluated further by determining strand-burn rates at various nitrogen pressures to one hundred atmospheres. Combustion rates and photographed features parallel those of black powder.
- Organic Chemistry