The Origin Of The Firearm

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Before the discussion begins on the creation of the firearm, its evolution and its overall contribution to war and combat, we must acknowledge its very origins; gunpowder. The origins of gunpowder trace back to the nation of China, it “ironically was created in the quest for immortality/around A.D. 850” (Whipps, “How Gunpowder Changed the World”). Though it was intended for an alternative purpose, this newfound explosive powder was soon incorporated into China 's weaponry and also became the leading factor in how weapons came to be created. To give insight on the composition of gunpowder, also known as black powder, this powdered substance is composed of three substances, charcoal, sulfur and saltpeter. The charcoal that’s in gunpowder is a “fuel” which means that its sole purpose is to be burned (Helmenstine,”Gunpowder Facts and History”). But the burning of charcoal itself obviously isn’t enough to produce that explosive property that gunpowder is known to have, when burning charcoal “the reaction would be slow, like a wood fire” (Helmenstine, “Gunpowder Facts and History”). Saltpeter, also known as “potassium nitrate” is the oxidizing agent that exists in gunpowder. An oxidizing agent in terms of combustible substances is simply a chemical compound that produces “extra oxygen” in order to strengthen/increase the rate at which the overall substance burns (Helmenstine, “Gunpowder Facts and History”). In the case of gunpowder, saltpeter (potassium nitrate) feeds oxygen to
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