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Whoosh Boom Splat by William Gurstelle

Whoosh Boom Splat by William Gurstelle

Author:William Gurstelle
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Published: 2017-01-01T05:00:00+00:00


5

LEGENDARY LAUNCHERS

Suppose an experimenter has a small metal tube with a tight-fitting cover for each end. On a whim, she takes the metal tube and puts some fuel and oxidizer inside it. She tightly covers and fastens both ends and then ignites the fuel by applying heat or lighting a fuse. When enough energy is provided, or the burning fuse contacts the fuel-oxidizer mixture, the chemicals combine in a vigorous exothermic, or energy-producing, reaction. Rapidly expanding gas is created, and a great and perhaps uncontainable pressure builds up inside the tube. If the pressure exceeds the material strength of the tube, the whole thing blows up. This is, simply put, a pipe bomb.

Now instead of solidly fastening covers to both ends of the tube, suppose the daring experimenter simply slides a movable cover over one end. When she ignites the fuel, now what happens? Most likely the sliding cover flies off. It’s a projectile, and she has made a primitive cannon.

The experimenter next leaves one end of the tube completely open and ignites the fuel while the tube lies upon the ground. When the chemicals ignite, the burning gas rushes out of the open end and propels the tube in the other direction. She has just built a rocket.

A cannon, a bomb, and a rocket are merely different manifestations of the same basic idea. The form that the device takes is simply a matter of details.



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