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Ammonpulver-old fashioned propellant
Weaponeer Forums : Ammo Dump

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  OldCoot

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Posted: June 23 2013 at 4:02pm | IP Logged Quote OldCoot

Since ammonium nitrate powder (ammonpulver) has issues with changes in crystal phase at 90 degrees Fahrenheit, a process of amalgamation which would keep the material more finely divided than crystalline formations, and in more intimate association with the fuel should act to prevent destruction of the powder particles by temperature change.  

Given the low temperature at which ammonpulver operates, it should be a superior propellant for small arms if this tendency can be overcome.  An analog to the "salting out" process whereby saltpeter-bearing charcoal is mixed using water, then quenched using one of the alcohols should do the trick, though the addition of a flammable phlegmatizing agent (paraffin, perhaps?) might be a useful amendment.

The use of steam-activated charcoal ought to give the best capability of the fuel to retain oxidizer.  The original ammonpulver was made up with a proportion of 85% ammonium nitrate to 15% charcoal. Its performance, flashless with a wisp of grey smoke, and giving energy on a level with the general run of double-base powders with a burn temperature of less than 900 degrees, would be a very useful one if there is a handy way of waterproofing grains.  This compound is very hygroscopic.

A starting place for this endeavor will be the crystalline state of ammonium nitrate on either side of the temperature shift point.  Since a crystal shift entails a size shift, the trick would appear to be one of keeping the stuff as a single-crystal entity.

BTW, I shot up some 8x53R Austrian ammo loaded with this propellant.  It works as advertised, and grouped pretty good for ammo that had been around since WW 1!
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  northumbrian

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Posted: June 26 2013 at 4:31am | IP Logged Quote northumbrian

Very interesting indeed

Certainly worth knowing, thanks OldCoot
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  backbencher

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Posted: June 26 2013 at 7:35am | IP Logged Quote backbencher

bb < --- perks up

Would this be.... homemade smokeless powder?  Would you need some special permit to make a few pounds of it?
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  northumbrian

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Posted: June 27 2013 at 2:07am | IP Logged Quote northumbrian

looking at the componant parts of the mix, yes it would be smokeless.

Do you need a permit, Ammonium Nitrate is an explosive so probably yes.

The actually synthesis of the powder, that will take a lot more playing around before you get it perfect.
That is not getting the end result perfect, I mean getting the process perfect.

Heckler & Koch, when they produced the G11, used a de-natured high explosive propellant for their caseless cartridge, so it is very realistic to use an explosive to propel a bullet down a barrel.

The problem you have to solve is getting the explosive/propellant to deflagrate rather than detonate.
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  ds1948

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Posted: July 29 2018 at 8:49pm | IP Logged Quote ds1948

I know this thread is old, and thought about starting a new one, but realized that I do not have a lot to add that is my own. With that said, ammonpulver can be phase stabilized with potassium nitrate see http://castboolits.gunloads.com/archive/index.php/t-57417.ht ml. Use perm end papers or asphalt to protect brass or steel cases and that is the two major concerns with this powder type. I have no idea on grain sizes though, and even if I did that is dangerous territory I do not want to go to. With that said, the more you know, the safer we will all be. As for load data for rifles, seeing as this was used by Austria and Germany in ww1, a place to start would be their general purpose rifle cartridges and use charges based around those case capacities....
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