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(EurekAlert)   "Blowed-eth up goodly. Blowed-eth up real goodly"   (eurekalert.org) divider line
    More: Cool, Gunpowder, Nitrogen, Science, medieval gunpowder recipes, ACS Omega, West Point firing range, Potassium nitrate, gunpowder spread  
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1096 clicks; posted to STEM » on 23 Sep 2021 at 2:35 PM (3 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-09-23 4:07:08 PM  
First used for battle in China in about 900 A.D.,

In what ways was gunpowder initially used in warfare?  Cannon right off the bat?  Bombs?  Rockets?

Oh, and boobies!
 
2021-09-23 5:45:34 PM  

flondrix: First used for battle in China in about 900 A.D.,

In what ways was gunpowder initially used in warfare?  Cannon right off the bat?  Bombs?  Rockets?

Oh, and boobies!


Probably just incendiaries in the early stages, evolving into primitive rockets: https://en.wikipedia.org/wik​i/Fire_arr​ow
It's questionable how much damage they would have actually done, but they may have been useful in confusing or frightening the enemy and breaking up their formations.
 
2021-09-23 6:17:10 PM  
> Now, researchers reporting in ACS Omega have recreated medieval gunpowder recipes and analyzed the energies released during combustion, revealing that the evolution of the perfect powder was a slow, trial-and-error process.

Yeah, using modern laboratory grade chemicals.
The paper itself gives but brief lip services to chemical purity and there is no way to tell if the medieval recopies were dependent on massive impurities.

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021​/​acsomega.1c03380
> It is clear that medieval master gunners had developed, at least in some respect, a solid practical understanding of the variables that affected the effective power output obtainable from gunpowder charges, including the purity of ingredients, varieties of charcoal, grain size, and methods of mixing.(3) They understood, for example, that a cannonball was thrown by gas pressure, not flame, and that willow charcoal prepared in a closed container was far superior to oak charcoal made in a traditional pit.

Various methods of preparing and purifying saltpeter from natural sources existed before the 20th century.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassi​u​m_nitrate#History_of_production

I don't know if there have been any studies of what other salts existed in these preparations.
 
2021-09-23 7:44:05 PM  
Seems pretty clear to me that certain gunners / powder mixers discovered that claiming Brandy as a needed ingredient for the recipe was a good way to get a steady rate of combustion...  supply of Brandy.
 
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