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Old 21st October 2008, 08:20 PM   #18
Matchlock
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310
Default Are 500 year old incendiaries inert?

I tested small quantities of powder etc. from each of my incendiary objects, as well as powder taken out of 550 year old barrels that were still loaded (!).

My experience has shown that the old black fine powder will just sizzle and sparkle a bit but will not flash up like new black powder does.

Humidity does rarely account for it as that powder had been kept under cover and away from the air for centuries. So my theory is that the respective substances (coal, sulfur and saltpeter/nitrate), all constisting only of fine powder particles, have become de-mingled over that long period of time.

As far as I know, the first experiments with thick grained powder were made no earlier than the mid 16th century.

I would like to hear your theories on that, Gentlemen; I am not a chemist.

Michael
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