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Introduction to Dynamite

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Dynamite is an explosive material based on nitroglycerin, initially using diatomaceous earth (kieselgur: United States spelling; kieselguhr: United Kingdom spelling) or another absorbent substance such as powdered shells, clay, sawdust or wood pulp. Dynamites using organic materials such as sawdust are less stable and such use has been discontinued. It was invented by Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel in Krümmel (Geesthacht, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany), and patented in 1867. Its Greek roots literally mean "connected with power."

Dynamite is usually sold in the form of a stick about 8 in (20 cm) long and about 1.25 in (3.2 cm) in diameter, with a weight of about 0.5 lb (0.23 kg).[1] Other sizes also exist. Maximum shelf life of nitroglycerin-based dynamite is recommended as one year from date of manufacture under good storage conditions.

Dynamite is a high explosive, which means it detonates rather than deflagrates. While TNT is used as the standard for gauging explosive power, dynamite has more than 60% greater energy density than TNT.

Another form of dynamite consists of nitroglycerin dissolved in nitrocellulose and a small amount of ketone. This form of dynamite is similar to cordite, and is much safer than the simple mix of nitroglycerin and diatomaceous earth. Military dynamite achieves greater stability by avoiding nitroglycerin. Public knowledge of dynamite led to metaphoric uses, such as saying that a particular issue "is political dynamite"

Dynamite was invented by Alfred Nobel and was the first safely manageable explosive stronger than black powder. Nobel obtained patents for his invention: in England on 7 May 1867 and in Sweden on 19 October 1867. He originally sold dynamite as "Nobel's Blasting Powder". After its introduction, dynamite rapidly gained popularity as a safe alternative to gunpowder and nitroglycerin. Nobel tightly controlled the patent, and unlicensed duplicators were quickly shut down. However, a few American businessmen got around the patent by using a slightly different formula. The invention was celebrated by anarchists, who recognized its suitability for propaganda by the deed.

It is a common misconception that TNT and dynamite are the same thing, or that dynamite contains TNT. Though both are high explosives, there is no other similarity between them. Dynamite is an absorbent mixture soaked in nitroglycerin then compacted into a cylindrical shape and wrapped in paper. TNT is a specific chemical compound called 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene. (Military dynamite is a dynamite substitute, also formulated without nitroglycerin, containing 75% RDX, 15% TNT, 5% SAE 10 motor oil, and 5% cornstarch to be the equivalent of dynamite composed of 60% nitroglycerin, but much safer to store and handle.)

A stick of dynamite contains roughly 2.1 MJ of energy. The energy density (joules/kilogram



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