Gunpowder, Explosive once used as propellant in firearms.
Gunpowder, also known as the retronym black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder, is the earliest known chemical explosive. It consists of a mixture of sulfur (S), carbon (C), and potassium nitrate (saltpeter, KNO3). The sulfur and charcoal act as fuels while the saltpeter is an oxidizer. Gunpowder has been widely used as a propellant in firearms, artillery, rocketry, and pyrotechnics, including use as a blasting agent for explosives in quarrying, mining, and road building.
Gunpowder was invented in 9th-century China as one of the Four Great Inventions, and spread throughout most parts of Eurasia by the end of the 13th century.
This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia® - the free encyclopedia created and edited by its online user
community. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.