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Chapter 9 Chapter 9 The Gunpowder Problem

from earth to moon 儒勒·凡尔纳 3017Words 2018-03-23
What remained was the question of gunpowder.Everyone is anxiously awaiting this final decision. The volume of the shell and the length of the barrel have been determined. So, how much gunpowder is needed to produce such a driving force?This terrible substance, which has been mastered by human beings, will play an important role in an astonishing amount. According to the known and passed down legends, gunpowder was invented in the fourteenth century by Friar Schwartz, who gave his life for this great invention.But it is now almost confirmed that this story should be listed in the legends of the Middle Ages.Gunpowder was not invented by anyone. It is a direct derivative of "Greek fire". Like gunpowder, Greek fire was mixed with sulfur and nitrate. However, this mixture later changed from pyrotechnics to explosives up.

But if the whole fictional story of gunpowder is known to the learned, we can say that only a few have noticed its physical function.So we have to understand this first before we can understand how important this issue is to the Executive Committee.A liter of gunpowder weighs about two pounds; when it burns it produces four hundred liters of gases, and these released gases, at a heat of two thousand and four hundred degrees, take up four thousand liters of space.The ratio, therefore, of the volume of gunpowder to the volume of the gas produced when it burns is one to four thousand.Just think about how terrible the driving force is when the gas is compressed in a space of one four thousandth.

The members of the executive committee naturally knew about these situations.At the meeting the next day, Barbicane asked the staff officer Al Feston to speak, because he was the head of the gunpowder department during the war. "Dear fellows," said the eminent chemist, "let me present some irreproachable figures as a basis for our discussion. That which our venerable Maston so applauded the day before yesterday with such eloquence A twenty-four-pound shell needs only sixteen pounds of powder to send it out of the muzzle." Are you sure of that figure? ' asked Barbicane.

"Absolutely," replied the staff officer. : "The Amms gun fired an eight-hundred-pound ball with seventy-five pounds of powder, and the Rodman's Columbia fired its half-ton ball at a distance of six miles with only sixty pounds of powder." up. These facts cannot be disputed, for I wrote them down in the minutes of the Cannon Production Committee. "Exactly," chimed in the general. "Well!" went on the staff officer, "we conclude from these figures that the quantity of powder does not increase with the weight of the shot, that is to say; if a twenty-four-pound shot requires sixteen pounds Gunpowder, in other words, if an ordinary cannon uses gunpowder equivalent to two-thirds of the weight of the shell, then this ratio is not fixed. You only need to calculate it: a half-ton shell does not use three hundred and three Thirteen pounds of gunpowder, this quantity is reduced to one hundred and sixty pounds."

"What are you going to say?" asked the chairman. "If you carry on your theory, my dear staff," said Maston, "you will come to the conclusion that, when your shells are of sufficient weight, you will need no powder. " My friend Maston is even trifling with serious matters," retorted the officer, "but rest assured, I pause for a moment to suggest a quantity of powder sufficient to satisfy the pride of the inventor of the cannon.But I must say that the largest cannon, according to field tests during the war, compressed the powder to one-tenth of the weight of the shell. "

That word made his sensitive friend's iron hook thrust menacingly towards him. Up to this point, Barbicane had not participated in the debate.He let them talk, and he listened all the time. "Obviously he had an idea. So he simply said: "Now, my friends, how much gunpowder do you recommend?" The three members of the Cannon Club looked at each other for a while. "Two hundred thousand pounds," said Morgan at last. "Five hundred thousand," said the staff officer. "Eight hundred thousand!" cried Maston. This time Alfeston did not dare to accuse his companion of exaggeration.In fact, it was sending a 20,000-pound cannonball to the moon at a speed of 12,000 yards per second.A silence followed the three proposals made by the three companions.

At last Barbicane broke the silence. "Fair fellows," he said in a quiet voice, "suppose that the resistance of the cannon we make under given conditions is unlimited. Proceeding from this principle, I say to the venerable Maston, who Let him really be surprised at the boldness of his calculations. I propose to double his eight hundred thousand pounds of powder." 1.6 million pounds? ' said Maston, jumping up from his chair. "Exactly." Then it's time to use my half-mile cannon "That's obvious," said the staff officer. One and a half million pounds of powder," went on the secretary of the committee.

According to the space of about 22,000 cubic feet, however, your cannon has only a capacity of 54,000 cubic feet, and the gunpowder will occupy half of the space, so that the expansion of the gas will give enough propulsion to the shell , the gun cavity is too short. " There is nothing more to argue about.Maston was right. All eyes were on Barbicane. "However," said the Chairman, "I insist on this amount. Please consider that 1.6 million pounds of gunpowder produces six billion liters of gas. Six billion! Do you hear me?" "But what to do?" asked the general.

very.Simple, the original power energy must be maintained while compressing the amount of gunpowder. "Good! But by what method?" "I will now come to this question," replied Barbicane simply. " All three kept their eyes on him. " "In all seriousness," he went on, "there is nothing easier than reducing this volume to a quarter. You all know that there is a strange substance called cellulose that composes the original fibers of plants." "Ah!" said, "I see what you mean, my dear Barbicane." "We can get this absolutely pure substance from all kinds of plants," said the chairman, "and especially from cotton. Cotton is nothing but the fluff of the cottonseed. But when cotton is soaked in nitric acid, it becomes An insoluble, flammable, and highly explosive substance. A few years ago; a French chemist named Braconeau discovered this substance in 1832. He called it Xerodin In 1838, another Frenchman, Pouluz, studied its various properties, and finally, in 1846, Basel chemistry professor Senbihin suggested using it as an explosive. This explosive is It's called nitrocellulose...,"or low-nitrogen nitrocellulose," Alfeston added.

"Or it's called cotton," Morgan said, not to be outdone.Isn't there an American name put under this invention item? " cried Maston, overwhelmed by a strong emotion of national pride. "No, that's a real misfortune," replied the officer." "However, to the satisfaction of Maston," went on the chairman, "I may say to him that the work of one of our countrymen may be connected with that of cellulose,1 because of the Collodion, which is just low nitrogen nitrocellulose dissolved in ether mixed with alcohol, was invented by Miner, who was studying medicine in Boston."

"Okay! Whoops, Minar, whoops, gunwool!" cried the rowdy secretary of the Cannon Club. "Now I come back to low-grade nitrocellulose," Barbicane went on. "You know its properties, which are very precious to us. It is very convenient to manufacture, only in: fuming nitric acid. Soak it in the water for fifteen minutes, then rinse it off and dry it in the sun." Indeed: nothing could be simpler, and besides, the fact that low-grade nitrocellulose does not deteriorate when exposed to moisture is a valuable advantage in our eyes, since it takes us several days to install it in the barrel Here, its ignition point is not two hundred and forty degrees, but one hundred and seventy degrees, and it burns so fast that we can use ordinary gunpowder to ignite it, and the former will burn before the latter has time to catch fire. " "Exactly," said the staff officer. It's more expensive though. "What does that matter?" Maston said. "Finally, it transmits to the ball four times as fast as ordinary gunpowder. I may add that it expands still more impressively if one eighteenth part of potassium nitrate is added." "Does this need to be done?" the staff officer asked. I don't think so," replied Barbicane. "So we can replace 1.6 million pounds of ordinary gunpowder with only 40 million pounds of gunpowder; Gunpowder is pressed into a volume of twenty-seven cubic feet, and in the Columbia gun this substance occupies only thirty Torvalds of the chamber.Thus, before the cannonball flies to the celestial body of the night, it has to pass through the cavity of more than 700 feet under the impetus of 600 million liters of gas! " At this stage, Maston could no longer restrain his emotions, and he threw himself into the arms of his friend like a cannonball, and Barbicane would have been killed had he not had the natural constitution for experimenting with bombs. Shoot through two transparent holes. This episode concluded the third session of the committee, and Barbicane and his bold companions, who thought everything was easy; had solved so complicated a problem of balls, cannon, and powder.Their plan has been made, now only the execution is left. It's not a chore, it's like a game," Maston said.
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