By R. Bunsen and L. Schischkoff.
Translated by Chas. E. Munroe, Prof. U. S. N. A.
In spite of the apparent simplicity which the phenomena of the combustion of powder present, a combustion upon which the mechanical effect produced depends, we are far from knowing exactly all the circumstances which surround it. The researches of Gay Lussac, completed more than thirty years ago, are the first and the most complete which were undertaken upon this subject; more recent investigations have led to results so contradictory that it has been impossible, up to the present day, to devise a chemical theory which would agree with the experimental results.
Let us admit that, practically the normal composition of powder corresponds to two molecules of saltpetre, one atom of sulphur and three atoms of carbon. If all the carbon is converted into carbon dioxide and all the nitrogen is set free we should have the following equation.
Then one gram of powder containing