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GUNPOWDER Gunpowder is the oldest of all explosives It was used by the ancient Chinese Arabs and people of India first But exact directions on how to make it were not known to the western World until 1242 when Roger Bacon of Oxford University in England published a book in which he told the ways to make gunpowder Today gunpowder is not used as much as more powerful explosives After Roger Bacon published his formula for gunpowder Berthold Schwarz a German monk developed it as a practical explosive in the thirteen hundreds Schwarz is said to have invented a firearm which exploded shells by the action of gunpowder Gunpowder was being used in cannons as early as thirteen forty-six At that time gunpowder was actually in powder form It had to be loaded carefully into the cannon so that the charge would be packed properly If it were packed too tightly the flame would not light the powder because it couldnt get enough oxygen But if it were packed too loosely it couldnt build up enough gas forces to push the cannonball to its target A new way to make gunpowder into grains instead of powder was invented in the fourteen hundreds In this method you would moisten it and pound it into a cake Then it was broken into small bits and put into a sieve to be sifted The pieces that came through the sieve were different shapes and would not fit together well enough to pack tightly so that careful packing of a cannon was not necessary When a long-barreled rifled cannon came into use it became necessary to slow down the burning rate of the gunpowder Its swift explosive force would often burst the barrel of the gun causing the man who fired it to be in almost as
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