Black Powder

[¦blak ′pau̇d·ər]

The earliest type of firearms propellant that has generally been replaced by smokeless powder except for use in muzzleloaders and older breechloading guns that demand its lower pressure levels. An explosive mixture of saltpeter, charcoal, and sulfur, formerly used in firearms. An explosive propellant, which is obtained by carefully fragmenting and mixing potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulfur in the proportions (by percentage weight) of 75:15:10.

Black powder is easily ignited and burns rapidly without air to form gases that are able to perform considerable mechanical work. It is one ofthe oldest explosives. No accurate date has been established for its invention.

Black Powder