How Pyrotechnics and Explosives Have Changed the World

2015 Words9 Pages
Since man’s first experiences with fire we have longed to control it and we wished to will it to do our bidding. For very long we failed mostly, and we still do sometimes, but with the trials and experiments we have done and died doing, we succeed now, mostly. The first formula that is still written down of an “explosive or pyrotechnic composition” are the three examples of gunpowder in the 1044A.D. Chinese military guide Wujing Zongyao which showed a few uses of this powder they had experimented with for near a hundred years. The most used formula from it was approximately 50% KNO3, also known as Saltpeter in those times, and formally called Potassium nitrate today, ~25% S, Sulfur, and ~25% carbonaceous matter (mostly charcoal and compounds mixed with impure sulfur); the other formulas move the percentages for the KNO3 around 10-15%, S 5-10%, and carbonaceous 7-20% to adjust burn rates and usefulness in certain situations. The likely only reason gunpowder was ever invented was the Chinese’s wish to live long, and their many mixtures of elixirs, which was what gunpowder was intended to be used as (more-pyrotechnics.com). “Within 200 years China had several crude weapons, mostly huge iron or alternative metal barrels and maybe a wooden grip but with no aiming attachment. They also had very many types of fireworks using no telling how many formulae for devices ranging in size, color, and purpose. People in Europe hear of this powder and its power, and then slowly find out more“(more-pyrotechnics.com). Then by 300 years they had better arsenals, larger cannons that actually worked well, and better, lighter barrels. The Indians and Islamic nations have made use of this by now, neither surpassing China’s previous ones nor Europe’s futu... ... middle of paper ... ...at area was taken over with little firepower from few men, but 1 bullet is as good as a thousand arrows if it’s aimed right. The invention of this thing people usually say is bad, guns kill people, and bombs are for nothing but death, even fireworks are too dangerous. They cannot see that it has made their life, it helped us become more modern through our aspirations to make a better powder we discovered so much more about the universe and ourselves chemically. How without these necessary “evils” could we be where we are today, we couldn’t. Thanks to over a thousand years of experimentation and refining of gunpowder, we understand things better in all types of ways, especially chemically and physically, and troves of knowledge gained on how to gain scientific knowledge from only observation, we can’t have chemistry or our history without pyrotechnics and explosives.

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