Uses for Gunpowder

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Gunpowder was invented in China. Its first written mention was in 142 A.D.; it was referred to as a powder that lit up and danced. It spread around the world as an explosive, but since then has come to be used for many things.

Firearms

  • The most common and obvious use for gunpowder, or black powder, was in gun cartridges to expel and propel bullets. It has since been replaced by smokeless powder.

Special Effects

  • Different varieties of gunpowder in different concentrations are often used to add explosions or smoke to special effects in movies, television and stage productions.

Explosives

  • One of the oldest and most traditional uses for gunpowder, when lit in a contained environment, was to create an explosion. This was often used for mining.

Fireworks

  • One of the first Chinese uses for gunpowder was in conjunction with other chemicals to create explosive, colorful visuals in fireworks.

Fuses

  • Gunpowder is frequently used as an ingredient in fuses, both for fireworks and explosives.

Medicine

  • For decades, field medics have used the gunpowder from bullets to cauterize wounds in emergency situations.

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