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Thread: New kind of explosive low-velocity round.

  1. #1 New kind of explosive low-velocity round. 
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    Wondering what would happen if you had a glass container with two cavities, containing glycerin and nitric acid, both commercially available and perhaps more economically feasible than gunpowder. The nitric acid may react with glass, most acids don't, but things can be played with, you get the idea. When the glass container, as a grenade or very slow bullet, hits and shatters (so it can't be shot out of any normal gun, but maybe a slingshot, air compressing mechanism instead of gunpowder like paintballs, or for maximum awesomeness, a crossbow), the glycerin and nitric acid mix, creating nitroglycerin, and in large amounts depending on bullet size, which would optimally be quite large. Like 4 or 6 inches. The nitroglycerin is very explosive and will explode upon mixing, and a round that size might just take a head off if it hit the neck. Heck, two inches might, and they can be tipped with a metal nosecone to shatter easier, if that helps in rigidifying impacts, and be more accurate. It also sprays either shards of glass or glass powder if it's tempered, both very irritating if they get under clothes and exploded at high velocities. Does this sound like a weapon you would use? You can also throw clips as grenades, presumably. The chemicals are not explosive separately, but nitric acid is a strong acid. It sounds like a great idea to me. I'd go with a crossbow, too.


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    High explosive rounds generally start at about 20mm. I'm thinking there's probably a point of diminishing returns as you scale down where it's better to relay on the kinetic energy than try to fit explosive capability into a small volume.


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    An interesting idea. Glass would be annoying, though, and with thiker/more durable mterials you ccould shppt at higher velocities, which would make themore durable material shatter. Also, it would make the rounds safer to handle.
    Would the glycerin and acid mix after shattering?
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    Yes, that's the point. The nitric acid and glycerin make nitroglycerin together, which is extremely explosive. Tempered glass would shatter into glass dust, which is very irritating and rubs skin off especially if it fell into your clothing or sprayed onto your gun, and the shells would be easy to mass-produce, as well as the chemicals. It's also pretty strong, and wouldn't break if you dropped it. If you had a graphite mold with a suspended block in the middle, you could make shells by pouring in liquid glass, which would cool and make tempered glass under high tension. You could then pour the fluids into their cavities via the two supports, and clog them with wax or whatever is necessary.
    I suppose it would make a much better grenade than a bullet depending on the strength of the tempered glass, but nontheless, it would be a very effective bullet.
    You could have a rubber plunger and lead weight on opposite ends, and then you could make it extemely high-velocity, especially if it were tempered. Think spud cannon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    High explosive rounds generally start at about 20mm. I'm thinking there's probably a point of diminishing returns as you scale down where it's better to relay on the kinetic energy than try to fit explosive capability into a small volume.
    This may be due more to the rules of war than to a practical limitation.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Pet...ration_of_1868
    The bullets used in the Reagan assassination attempt were "Devastator" exploding bullets which contained small aluminum and lead azide explosive charges designed to explode on contact.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reagan_...nation_attempt
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pomegranate Cameron
    Yes, that's the point. The nitric acid and glycerin make nitroglycerin together, which is extremely explosive. .
    Right, but the question is: do they just mix on their own at room temperature, or is it necessary to help them along?

    You've peaked my curiosity, and so now I've been looking into this.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogl...#Manufacturing

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycero...l_intermediate

    (I can't tell from these articles. I'm just posting them.)

    If your thinking is right, maybe this could spell the demise of the small arms industry. The slingshot would once again rule the battlefield!! Rebel factions in the third world would no longer need the endorsement of a major industrial power (one with steel working infrastructure sufficiently advanced to produce rifles) in order to assert themselves against their leaders.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by Pomegranate Cameron
    Yes, that's the point. The nitric acid and glycerin make nitroglycerin together, which is extremely explosive. .
    Right, but the question is: do they just mix on their own at room temperature, or is it necessary to help them along?

    You've peaked my curiosity, and so now I've been looking into this.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogl...#Manufacturing

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycero...l_intermediate

    (I can't tell from these articles. I'm just posting them.)

    If your thinking is right, maybe this could spell the demise of the small arms industry. The slingshot would once again rule the battlefield!! Rebel factions in the third world would no longer need the endorsement of a major industrial power (one with steel working infrastructure sufficiently advanced to produce rifles) in order to assert themselves against their leaders.
    Nitroglycerine for explosives is manufactured in a continuous mixed-acid process. NG manufacture is not for amateurs. Not only do you habve to manufacture NG, you have to deal with the waste products and handle and transport the material afterward.

    It is fairly sensitive stuff, but not as sensitive as portrayed on TV. Nevertheless, if handled by your average "rebel" the problem is likely to be self-correcting.

    As far as small arms go, current double-base gun propellants have a pretty high NG content. NG is not likely to lead to a demise of the industry -- the industry makes the stuff.
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    If slingshots or crossbows ruled the battlefield, that would be awesome. Nitroglycerin sure does seem pretty sensitive, though, when you consider it explodes if you add the glycerin to the nitric acid, and not vice versa (Do as you oughta, add acid to watta). The mixture of these chemicals would pretty much ignite instantly when you consider they're being propelled at intentionally lethal speed... So that's not much of a problem.
    As for rebel weaponry, not too sure they could mass produce these rounds, what with the glass-molding and nitric acid-using. I sort of agree with Dr. Rocket on their usage of them in general, but remember, they're supposed to be grenades too. And tempered glass is tough stuff. We might not want these in the hands of militias like those in Darfur, either. Assuming they work.
    Somewhat on topic, but very much worth sharing:
    I have also found an advertisement for "Barne's Varmint Grenades", which are bullets with a hollow cavity and are pretty much explosive because of how they fragment. The video on youtube is flagged as inappropriate and cannot be viewed without an account because it features prairie dogs "exploding into vapor," however. The empty space in the cavity is filled with air, but as long as it's filled with a fluid, like nitric acid or glycerin, the impact should not be affected greatly, as its effect revolves around fragmentation, which is going to happen at >800 fps, especially if it worked, and upon impact NA and G mixed... But the point is, it's an awesome bullet on the military thread, regardless of its NG content.
    I found a video of it in action, unblocked, blowing up prairie dogs, on Cracked, which is a humor website, granted. They have the video at the bottom entry on the first page. Some language, and pretty funny in general. Not necessarily the prairie dogs. RIP.
    http://www.cracked.com/article_19038...g-weapons.html
    http://www.barnesbullets.com/product...rmint-grenade/
    It's an article about absurd hunting gear, and I think this forum, being Military technology, might enjoy some of the weapons on it. Including invisibility shields (well, mirrors, but they work excellently).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pomegranate Cameron
    If slingshots or crossbows ruled the battlefield, that would be awesome. Nitroglycerin sure does seem pretty sensitive, though, when you consider it explodes if you add the glycerin to the nitric acid, and not vice versa (Do as you oughta, add acid to watta)
    That is not explosive sensitivity, it is heat generation.

    NG is sensitive, but not as sensitive as you think. There are compounds that are a LOT scarier -- dry nitrocellulose leaps to mind.

    NG in the quantities used in explosives has not been made in a batch process for many years. Mixed acid and glycerine are now mixed simultaneously in a continuous nitration process.

    If you try to make it yourself, you will probably die. Handling NG takes experts and equipment specifically designed for the job.
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    If you try to make it yourself, you will die.
    -_- They don't mix until the shell explodes, silly. I'll be far away from the explosion. But thank you for the suggestions... dry nitrocellulose sounds interesting.
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    Slightly misquoted that, sorry. And dry nitrocellulose does seem somewhat explosive, but nitroglycerin is more often used for military purposes, says Wikipedia. Anyway, the concept is still there for any explosive whatsoever.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pomegranate Cameron
    Slightly misquoted that, sorry. And dry nitrocellulose does seem somewhat explosive, but nitroglycerin is more often used for military purposes, says Wikipedia. Anyway, the concept is still there for any explosive whatsoever.
    Then Wikipedia is wrong. Gun propellants are largely nitrocellulose, stabilized. Double base gun propellants combine nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine. Triple base, used in some cannon propellant uses nitroguanadine. Then there are some high-energy exotics.

    Putting acid and glycerine in a shell won't do much -- the two don't react fast enough to form an explosive what you might get is residue that could induce an NG headache -- they are excruciating

    The problem with dry nitrocellulose is not the heat of explosion, but rather the sensitivity. It will explode unpredictably. NG is pretty predictable. Nobody intentionally handles dry nitrocellulose. It is kept wet until in final form and stabilized.
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    Are you kidding? They explode during mixing if you do it wrong, remember. That's the point. I suppose a headache shell would have its advantages in battle, too. Actually that might be a better weapon than the explosive.
    If they're really excruciating you could get them to surrender pretty easily. And getting bombed, even in a harmless ineffective way, would spell victory for the bombers. So you may have encouraged me.

    So the nitrocellulose is evidently created by adding nitric acid to cotton, or cellulose, which any organic material has, and then drying it. Is wikipedia correct about that? I'm sure you could use a hygroscopic something-or-another and make bombs out of that, too, or a towel or something absorbant. That might make a good secondary explosion, if there is a delay in drying. Right?
    Also it seems both nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose are used in dynamite.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pomegranate Cameron
    Are you kidding? They explode during mixing if you do it wrong, remember. That's the point.
    Unless you are one hell of a quick stirrer, the contact time in this scenario is just a wee bit longer than the impact event of a bullet strike.

    You missed the point. Rather badly.



    Quote Originally Posted by Pomegranate Cameron
    So the nitrocellulose is evidently created by adding nitric acid to cotton, or cellulose, which any organic material has, and then drying it. Is wikipedia correct about that? I'm sure you could use a hygroscopic something-or-another and make bombs out of that, too, or a towel or something absorbant. That might make a good secondary explosion, if there is a delay in drying. Right?
    Also it seems both nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose are used in dynamite.
    The process is a bit more complex. Moreover, some nitrocellulose is more energetic than other nitrocellulose depending on the nitrogen content. The cellulose precursor is cotton linters or wood pulp, not just any organic material.
    There is only one U.S. mnufacturing site for explosive-grade nitrocellulose.

    Nitrocellulose readily absorbs NG and is actually used to clean up spills. Some dynamite uses nitrocellulose. This is the basis for double-base gun propellant as well.


    Let me guess. You have never had anything to do with the actual manufacture of explosives. I guess this based on your posts and the fact that you seem to still be breathing.
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    Correct.
    I assumed any organic material would work because cells are made of cellulose, in part.
    So what are you trying to say? Do you suggest nitrocellulose or not? Or yes, you do, but it's still dangerous to transport and stuff, so it is impractical?
    I was under the assumption that it would explode not instantly on contact, but pretty rapidly thereafter. It's going to explode eventually. I think sooner than later.
    "Moreover, some nitrocellulose is more energetic than other nitrocellulose depending on the nitrogen content." Doesn't that depend on the ratio of nitric acid to sulfuric acid in the first place?
    So what would you suggest as a mechanism to allow use of this nitrocellulose?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pomegranate Cameron
    Correct.
    I assumed any organic material would work because cells are made of cellulose, in part.
    So what are you trying to say? Do you suggest nitrocellulose or not? Or yes, you do, but it's still dangerous to transport and stuff, so it is impractical?
    I was under the assumption that it would explode not instantly on contact, but pretty rapidly thereafter. It's going to explode eventually. I think sooner than later.
    "Moreover, some nitrocellulose is more energetic than other nitrocellulose depending on the nitrogen content." Doesn't that depend on the ratio of nitric acid to sulfuric acid in the first place?
    So what would you suggest as a mechanism to allow use of this nitrocellulose?
    I suggest that I am not going to give you information or encouragement to continue to pursue a topic that could lead to your hurting someone else or yourself. It is clear that you know nothing about energetic materials, and that you are quite likely to have a bad accident if you handle them.
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    So, if NG isn't going to work, then are there any other really good explosives? Would a gun powder bomb be any use, like maybe if it had little sharp shards mixed into it to add fragmentation?


    Quote Originally Posted by Pomegranate Cameron
    If slingshots or crossbows ruled the battlefield, that would be awesome. Nitroglycerin sure does seem pretty sensitive, though, when you consider it explodes if you add the glycerin to the nitric acid, and not vice versa (Do as you oughta, add acid to watta). The mixture of these chemicals would pretty much ignite instantly when you consider they're being propelled at intentionally lethal speed... So that's not much of a problem.
    As for rebel weaponry, not too sure they could mass produce these rounds, what with the glass-molding and nitric acid-using. I sort of agree with Dr. Rocket on their usage of them in general, but remember, they're supposed to be grenades too. And tempered glass is tough stuff. We might not want these in the hands of militias like those in Darfur, either. Assuming they work..
    Air guns (Like paintball style guns) would be just as nice for what I'm thinking. The main problem some distant African village is going to face when they go to try and arm themselves is, they can't work steel. There's too much know-how involved, and they'd need a source of ore.

    An airgun can theoretically be made of wood and other natural materials they would have access too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    So, if NG isn't going to work, then are there any other really good explosives? Would a gun powder bomb be any use, like maybe if it had little sharp shards mixed into it to add fragmentation?
    There are several good explosives. Gun powder is a relatively poor choice.

    Details would be subject to ITAR if not outright classified.
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    Unless anyone has anything else to say, I guess I'll end the discussion here at no definite conclusion if we're going to continue arguing, Dr. Rocket, because I think nitroglycerin is an excellent choice. You may disagree, but I am almost positive that it will explode on impact... I'm also going to go out on a limb and guess that neither you nor I are qualified to say another word on the subject . And it might be better if it doesn't explode instantly. Any "sufficiently" mixed nitroglycerin will eventually explode as it degrades into less and less stable forms in the presence of water or moisture. A footstep could trigger a small explosion at that point, and then the victim, merely fased, would suffer headaches, making battle impossible and surrender inevitable.
    All you need to do is fire the round somewhere in the vicinity of the enemy, and they're going to get a little residue and some headache either way, because it's gotta pop sometime and throw some chemicals in the air. You don't even need to aim for anyone, if Dr. Rocket is sure it would never explode in the first place... Just aim for strategic points where the most people are going to run through.
    From playing paintball, I think that while a paintball gun would work great in theory, it would not be a very long range weapon... Then, neither would the slingshots or crossbows, necessarily, but they could be good enough, at like 50 yards max. And that's pretty much a grenade: "Would a gun powder bomb be any use, like maybe if it had little sharp shards mixed into it to add fragmentation?" Remember this glass-nitroglycerin thing would make an effective percussion grenade, if not a projectile.
    I guess the conclusion, if not indefinite, is to suggest encasing dynamite in glass, and then shooting it through a spud cannon, as an idea for the military.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pomegranate Cameron
    I'm also going to go out on a limb and guess that neither you nor I are qualified to say another word on the subject ..
    You are exactly half right.
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    I meant that neither of us are explosives experts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pomegranate Cameron
    I meant that neither of us are explosives experts.
    I know what you meant. But you are wrong. I worked with design and manufacture of explosive, energetic and incendiary devices (among others) professionally.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    So, if NG isn't going to work, then are there any other really good explosives? Would a gun powder bomb be any use, like maybe if it had little sharp shards mixed into it to add fragmentation?
    There are several good explosives. Gun powder is a relatively poor choice.

    Details would be subject to ITAR if not outright classified.
    That's International Traffic in Arms Regulations, right? Do those rules apply to ordinary schmucks like me, or just people who've worked professionally in the field?

    Gun powder's main advantage for the purposes that I'm thinking of is that it's easy to make. So long as it can actually do the job, that is. If you can think of a better explosive that's possible to make using materials that would be available to a remote tribal village in say... Sudan..... well I guess you probably wouldn't be allowed to tell me....


    Quote Originally Posted by Pomegranate Cameron

    . And it might be better if it doesn't explode instantly. Any "sufficiently" mixed nitroglycerin will eventually explode as it degrades into less and less stable forms in the presence of water or moisture. A footstep could trigger a small explosion at that point, and then the victim, merely fased, would suffer headaches, making battle impossible and surrender inevitable.
    All you need to do is fire the round somewhere in the vicinity of the enemy, and they're going to get a little residue and some headache either way, because it's gotta pop sometime and throw some chemicals in the air. You don't even need to aim for anyone, if Dr. Rocket is sure it would never explode in the first place... Just aim for strategic points where the most people are going to run through.
    Why not just concede that nitroglycerin isn't the ideal chemical, then? If you're after a headache or other chemically induced effect, then surely there are other substances that would do that better, or even poison the victim to death instead of phasing them.
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    So, if NG isn't going to work, then are there any other really good explosives? Would a gun powder bomb be any use, like maybe if it had little sharp shards mixed into it to add fragmentation?
    There are several good explosives. Gun powder is a relatively poor choice.

    Details would be subject to ITAR if not outright classified.
    That's International Traffic in Arms Regulations, right? Do those rules apply to ordinary schmucks like me, or just people who've worked professionally in the field?
    Anybody who transmits covered information to anyone other than a U.S. citizen or green card holder can find himself in big trouble.

    That is one reason you don't find covered info on the internet, which knows no borders and has no restrictions on who can use it -- unless somebody screws up.

    As far as I know (but I may not be current) mishandling of classified information only applies if you have held a clearance. But if you have held a clearance, the penalties are severe -- and I am sure of that.

    Unless you have worked in the field, or talked a lot with someone who has (and he should have at least warned you), you probably don't know anything that is covered by ITAR.
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    Good to know. So I'm free to research explosive cocktails and post them on the web. (As long as I don't affiliate with any terrorist groups.)
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Good to know. So I'm free to research explosive cocktails and post them on the web. (As long as I don't affiliate with any terrorist groups.)
    I what you post happens to be ITAR restricted, you go to Federal Prison.

    So be careful of your source.

    The good news is that what you are likely to be able to find will not be ITAR restricted. The bad news is that it will probably also be bullshit.
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