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Chemistry of Guns

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Mike Burek

on 12 June 2013

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Transcript of Chemistry of Guns

The Chemistry of Guns Mike Burek
Chemistry period 2
6/1/13 Guns Guns are my topic of choice because they are a common aspect in our everyday lives, but we never really take the time to understand how they operate Over the years, many different types of firearms have been produced, often times using a different firing mechanism or source of explosion Basics The most basic and obvious application of chemistry when it comes to guns is the gun powder After many years, a good ratio of which elements create the best explosion to propel the bullet was found which is... Gunpowder Gunpowder is typically made up of 3 major components that allow there to be a flawless chemical reaction A nitrate: The nitrate in gunpowder, which is usually potassium nitrate (KNO3), supplies oxygen for the reaction Charcoal: Charcoal provides carbon and the fuel for the reaction Sulfur: Sulfur serves as a fuel in the mixture. It also does the important job lowering the temperature at which the mixture will ignite, increasing the rate of combustion There are also other other important elements added in such as graphite, which prevents the build up of electrostatic charge that could accidentally ignite the powder Reaction 2 KNO3 + S + 3 C → K2S + N2 + 3 CO2 4 KNO3 + C7H4O + 2 S —> 2 K2S + 4 CO2 + 3 CO + 2 H2O + 2 N2 A more accurate representation of the reaction is: This is the simplified equation for modern day gun powder where you can see the three components (nitrate, sulfur and charcoal) from before Reaction You can tell that this is a combustion reaction because both water (H2O) and CO2 are present in the products Mechanics The percussion cap is the modern day mechanic for all guns The hammer of the gun hits the back of the bullet, providing the spark needed to ignite the primer and gunpowder, which propels the bullet Conclusion The chemistry within guns deals with the combustion reaction that takes place to propel the bullet and make the gun work After many years of perfection gun powder ratios and mechanisms, almost all of the guns seen and used today use the percussion cap and that standard form of gunpowder Works Cited Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Gunpowder Facts and History." About.com Chemistry. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 June 2013. <http://chemistry.about.com/od/historyofchemistry/a/gunpowder.htm>. "Firearm." Chemistry -. N.p., 1 Apr. 2007. Web. 1 June 2013. <http://www.chemistrydaily.com/chemistry/Firearm>. Jim. "Chemistry Education." : Chemistry of Gunpowder. N.p., 3 Sept. 2009. Web. 10 June 2013. <http://chemistry-and-edu.blogspot.com/2009/09/chemistry-of-gunpowder.html>.
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