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A rapidly burning material used as a propellant in guns and rifles. Gunpowder was invented in China in the 9th century. It is composed of a mixture of Potassium nitrate (75 %), Sulfur (10 %), and Charcoal (15 %). Gunpowder burns inefficiently leaving copious residues of Soot and alkaline potassium hydroxides. If left uncleaned after firing, the residues will rapidly degrade the barrel.
Synonyms and Related Terms
black powder; propellant; smokeless powder; krudt (Dan.); Schwarzpulver (Deut.); Schießpulver (Deut.); pólvora (Esp.); krutt (Nor.); buskruit (Ned.); proch (Pol.); krut (Sven.); gun powder
Resources and Citations
- Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabulary/aat/, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 2000
- Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder (Accessed Nov. 9, 2005)