Nitro-Explosives: A Practical Treatise eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 310 pages of information about Nitro-Explosives.

and, like bellite and roburite, it is claimed to be perfectly safe to use in the presence of fire damp and coal dust.[A] The variety known as Flameless Securite consists of a mixture of nitrate and oxalate of ammonia and di-nitro-benzol.

[Footnote A:  See paper by S.B.  Coxon, North of Eng.  Inst.  Mining and Mech.  Eng., 11, 2, 87.]

Kinetite.—­A few years ago an explosive called “Kinetite"[A] was introduced, but is not manufactured in England.  It was the patent of Messrs Petry and Fallenstein, and consisted of nitro-benzol, thickened or gelatinised by the addition of some collodion-cotton, incorporated with finely ground chlorate of potash and precipitated sulphide of antimony.  An analysis gave the following percentages:—­

Nitro-benzol, 19.4 per cent. 
Chlorate of potash, 76.9 per cent. 
Sulphide of antimony nitro-cotton, 3.7 per cent.

[Footnote A:  V. Watson Smith, Jour.  Soc.  Chem.  Ind., January 1887.]

It requires a very high temperature to ignite it, and cannot, under ordinary circumstances, when unconfined, be exploded by the application of heat.  It is little affected by immersion in water, unless prolonged, when the chlorate dissolves out, leaving a practical inexplosive residue.[A] It was found to be very sensitive to combined friction and percussion, and to be readily ignited by a glancing blow of wood upon wood.  It was also deficient in chemical stability, and has been known to ignite spontaneously both in the laboratory and in a magazine.  It is an orange-coloured plastic mass, and smells of nitro-benzol.

[Footnote A:  Col.  Cundill, R.A., “Dict. of Explosives,” says:  “If, however, it be exposed to moist and dry air alternately, the chlorate crystallises out on the surfaces, and renders the explosive very sensitive.”]

Tonite No. 3 contains 10 to 14 per cent. of nitro-benzol (see Tonite).  Trench’s Flameless Explosive contains 10 per cent. of di-nitro-benzol, together with 85 per cent. of nitrate of ammonia, and 5 per cent. of a mixture of alum, and the chlorides of sodium and ammonia.

Tri-nitro-Toluene.—­Toluene, C_{7}H_{8}, now chiefly obtained from coal-tar, was formerly obtained by the dry distillation of tolu-balsam.  It may be regarded as methyl-benzene, or benzene in which one hydrogen is replaced by methyl (CH_{3}), thus (C_{6}H_{5}CH_{3}), or as phenyl-methane, or methane in which one hydrogen atom is replaced by the radical phenyl (C_{6}H_{5}), thus (CH_{3}C_{6}H_{5}).  Toluene is a colourless liquid, boiling at 110 deg.  C., has a specific gravity of .8824 at 0 deg.  C., and an aromatic odour.  Tri-nitro-toluene is formed by the action of nitric acid on toluene.  According to Haeussermann, it is more advantageous to start with the ortho-para-di-nitro-toluene, which is prepared by allowing a mixture of 75 parts of 91 to 92 per cent. nitric acid and 150 parts of 95 to 96 per cent. sulphuric acid to run in a thin stream

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