Eleuthere du Pont – founder of du Pont Company

Eleuthere du Pont – founder of du Pont Company

Article on Eleuthere du Pont

Biography & contributions

Eleuthere du Pont, a French American chemist born on June 24, 1771 – died on October 31, 1834. Du Pont was the founder of EI du Pont de Nemours and company.

Facts about gunpowder

Gunpowder or black powder is of great historical importance in chemistry. Although it’s exploding nature, still it will be used as a propellant. Gunpowder was invented by Chinese alchemists in the 9th century. Originally, black powder was made by mixing elemental sulfur, charcoal, and saltpeter (scientific name: potassium nitrate). The charcoal commonly came from the willow tree and other tree resources, extensively used in making of gunpowder.

Black powder’ components include fuel (charcoal or sugar) and an oxidizer (saltpeter or niter), and sulfur, to allow for a stable reaction. The carbon from the charcoal plus oxygen forms carbon dioxide and energy. The reaction would be slow, like a wood fire, except for the oxidizing agent. Carbon in a fire must draw oxygen from the air. Saltpeter provides extra oxygen.

Potassium nitrate, sulfur, and carbon react together to form nitrogen and carbon dioxide gases and potassium sulfide. The expanding gases such as nitrogen and carbon dioxide provide the propelling action. Gunpowder tends to produce a lot of smoke, which can impair vision on a battlefield or reduce the visibility of fireworks.

Gunpowder is made up of three chemicals, in the following proportions

75% Potassium Nitrate (KNO3)

10% Sulfur (S)

15% Carbon (C)

Making of gunpowder

The following are the different steps involved in manufacturing of gun powder

Preparation - charcoal and sulphur had to be pulverised and sieved to remove foreign matter.

Mixing - The saltpetre, charcoal and sulphur were weighed out in the required proportions 75 : 15 : 10 and then mixed together in a revolving drum, adding a little water to produce a green charge.

Incorporating – in this step all the ingredients will be grinded and mixed by using machines

Products breaking down – the mill cake which is formed in previous step which then broke down to meal powder

Pressing – meal powder was pressed and compacted to form hard press cake

Corning – this is the step where press cake can be converted to granules and small amounts of dust can be removed using gauze-covered revolving cylinder.

The gun powder then polished and dried to form a final product.

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