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Propelling Charge Explosive Train.
Lesson 1
"Propellent Train"
( )
Word List
1. to arrange
2. amount
3. service charge
propelling charge
4. primer
propelling primer
artillery primer
5. completely
6. to insert
7. priming mixture
8. flame
9. spark
10. lead azide
11. mercury fulminate
12. initial
13. igniting charge
14. weight
15. generation
16. full charge
17. increment
18. base end
19. base section, base charge



, ()

Types of service charges:

20. single-section charge

21. multisection charge
22. equal-section charge

23. base and increment charge

I. :
-initiate, initiated, initiation, initiative, initial;
-sufficient, sufficiently, sufficiently high, sufficiently high to propel;
-multi, multisection, multisection charge, multisection propelling charge;

-equal, equal section, equal section charges;

-unequal, unequal section, unequal section charge.
II. . .
such as
due to
in order to
so that
because of
depending n
1. The charge for separate loading ammo is assembled in several bags it can be adjusted
for zone firing.
2. Primer used with propelling charges is called artillery or propellent primer differentiate it from the fuze primer.
3. A multisection charge may be of different designs, equal section, base and increment,
and unequal section types.
1- 2- , .
III. :
1. 1- should,
( ), ( 1,2).
2. 2- 2 ,
( 3).
3. 2- 3- ( if). ,
( 2).
4. 1- 3- ,
( 3).
5. 3- Participle II , ( 4).
IV. , :

being + V3

1) +
2) +

1. Being used with separate-loading ammo the igniter is assembled in bags.

2. Being ignited smokeless powder generates a large amount of gases.
3. The propelling charge being divided into several parts or increments can be adjusted for
zone firing.
4- .
Propellent Train
l. In order to deliver a projectile to the target it is necessary that the propellent system should function properly. Different kinds of explosives should be employed to ignite
the propelling charge, each explosive performing its special function. The explosives are

arranged so that an explosive train is formed, beginning with a small amount of very sensitive explosive and ending with a large amount of comparatively insensitive service charge.
2. The first element to initiate the propelling charge is primer, which is also called
artillery or propellent primer to differentiate1 it from the fuze primer. The propellent
primer is located in the end of the cartridge case. If there is no cartridge case it is inserted
in the breechblock2 of the gun. Primer contains priming mixture to be readily initiated by
shock, flame, or spark. The priming mixture is made of a high explosive, such as lead
azide or mercury fulminate.
3. To increase the initial flame from the primer is the function of the igniting charge
of black powder. If there were no igniter, the large propelling charge couldn't be ignited
completely and uniformly. When used in fixed ammunition, the igniter is contained in the
outer end of the primer. When used with separate-loading ammunition, it is assembled in
cloth bags, attached to the propelling charge or running through the propelling charge in
the form of a longitudinal core3.
4. Propelling charge consists of smokeless powder which, being ignited, causes
generation of hot powder gases. The pressure of the gases is sufficiently4 high to propel
the projectile out of the gun. The propelling charge is assembled in a cartridge case, in
bags, or both.
5. Types of service charges. Propelling charges for separate-loading ammunition are
prepared in several different manners. They are classified as Single-section and Multisection charges. The Single-Section charge is made of one powder bag containing all the
propelling charge for one round. The Multisection charge is further5 classified as Equal
Section (or Aliquot Part) type, Base and Increment type, and Unequal Section type. Equal
Section type consists of a full charge divided into a number of equal sections. One igniter
is used for the round. Base and Increment type consists of a base section with one or more
increments. The increments may be of the same or different weights. The igniter is attached to the base end of the base section. Unequal Section charge consists of full charge
divided into separate bags of unequal weight. The igniter is formed either in one end of the
base section only or in one end of each section.
1. to differentiate (from) - ()
2. breechblock -
3. longitudinal core -
5. further - ,

1. 2 2 ,
2. 5 .
3. .
4. 1- , .

5. ,
What is the first element of the propelling charge explosive train?
Where can the primer be located?
What does the primer contain?
By what means can the priming mixture be initiated?
What explosives is the priming mixture made of?
6. - 4- 15 .
7. :
: 5 .
: ?
8. , . .
Service Charges for

base section + 1 or
more increments of the
same or different
weights + 1 igniter in
the base section

Lesson 2
: ".Propelling Charge Explosive Train".
: "The Charge System for 155 ERFB Round".
: " ".

I. .
1. The propelling charge explosive train is designed to initiate the igniting charge.
2. The explosive train begins with a small amount of insensitive explosive such as black
3. It consists of five elements.
4. The first element of the explosive train is the propelling charge.
5. The primer is located in the base of the cartridge case or in the breechblock of the gun.
6. The primer is filled with priming mixture sensitive to flame.
7. It is made of mercury fulminate.
8. The second element of the propelling charge explosive train is the igniter.
9. It is made of high explosive.
10. It may be attached to the propelling charge or run through the charge in the form of a
longitudinal core.
11. The third element of the train is the propelling charge.
12. It consists of black powder.
13. It may be assembled in bags.
II. .
- As far as I know, the propelling - . ...
charge explosive train is designed to
- I wonder, what elements it ..?
- ...
-I suppose, all these elements contain -.
, ...
. -, , - - It ignites
- ?
- increases the initial flame from
-. , - Thats not quite right.
In fixed ammo
In separate-loading
. ,

I. , .
II .
The Charge System for 155 mm ERFB Round



Number of bags
(base + incr.)

Type of igniter

Weapons using the



III. Pa - 155- , .

. . , .
. ,

Lesson 3
"Containers for Propelling Charges"
(- )

Containers for Propelling Charges
Propelling charges of fixed and semifixed ammunition are contained in cartridge
cases usually made of brass. Normally these are loaded at the time when the ammunition
is manufactured. The cartridge case is known to hold the primer, the propelling charge,
and the projectile, so that the whole assembly can be loaded into the weapon in on operation.
Modern shell cases include both all-metal brass or steel items and those with plastic
bodies. Today, the Msta-type SP howitzer uses munitions incorporating a metal-saving1
shell case. This design features a plastic shell body, and the whole case satisfies all the requirements imposed on steel or brass shell cases in terms of2 their performance characteristics.
Separate-loading ammunition requires that the propelling charge be placed in a container so that the powder can be quickly and easily loaded, in predetermined amounts3,
into the gun. This container is a cloth bag which is tightly laced or wrapped4 making the
bag easy to handle and preventing the breaking of the powder grains. The powder bags are
made of silk5, cotton6 or wool7. For certain large charges stacking8 of powder is practicable
in order to make them smaller in diameter. To stack the powder means to arrange all the
grains of the powder end to end throughout the charge. The stacked charge is more rigid9,
deforms less in handling, can be packed to a smaller diameter, and gives more uniform results in firing.
Propelling charges, in their powder bags are shipped and stored in special storage
cases .
Each complete charge has a tag11 attached to it, containing the following information:
Name of loading plant.
Date of loading (day, month, year).
Caliber and model of gun, mortar, or howitzer.
Weight of projectile.
Powder lot number12.
Name of manufacturer of powder.
1. metal-saving
2. in terms of ,
3. in predetermined amounts
4. tightly laced or wrapped
5. silk
6. cotton

7. wool 8. stacking 9. rigid 10. storage cases 11. tag 12. lot number -



I. :
1) ; 2) ; 3) (); 4) , ; 5) - ;
6) , ; 7) ; 8)
( ) ; 9) /
; 10) ; 11) ;
12) ; 13) ; 14)
; 15) .

1. . , , ?
2. 4
3. , , .
4. , :
5. :
1. Where are propelling charges in fixed and semifixed ammo contained?
2. When are they loaded into the case?
3. What is the function of the cartridge case?
4. What material are modern cartridge cases made of?
6. :
1. / ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?
5. ?

Propellent Train
In order to deliver a projectile to the target and to cause it to function properly on ar1
rival , it is necessary that different kinds of explosives should be used in the same round.
Each explosive is designed to perform a specific role in the complete and efficient functioning of the projectile. The arrangement of explosives in a round of ammunition begins
with a small amount of sensitive explosives to be initiated by simple means, and ends with
a large amount of insensitive explosive to be ignited by the flame from the previous element. The first and very sensitive elements are primer and igniter, the last large element
being the propelling charge.
Base and Increment Charge
Charges of this type have a base section and one or more increments to be assembled
in bags. The increments may be either of equal or unequal weight. But it is required that
their weight never exceed the weight of the base charge. Some types have one igniter pad
attached to the base end of the base section, other types having a core igniter running
through the center of the base charge and each increment.
Base and increment charge belongs to the family of multisection charges. Being used
with separate-loading ammunition this type of charge can be readily adjusted for a certain
zone of fire.

Unit II
Artillery Primers
Lesson. 4
"Classification of Artillery Primers"
( )
Word List
1.artillery primer,
propellent primer
2. flame
3. means
4. friction
5. spit of fire
6. suitable
7. auxiliary
8. explosive composition
9. electric current
10. magneto
11. inflammation
12. serrated plug
13. to pull
Types of primers:
14. percussion primer
15. friction primer16. electric primer17. combination primer
18. igniting primer

(. ); ();


.: ,

- insure; insure uniformity; insure uniformity of the perussin blow
-auxiliary; auxiliary firing pin; auxiliary element; auxiliary primer
-incorporate; incorporated; may be incorporated; incorporated in the primer
-inflammation; inflammation of the explosive; causes the inflammation.
that is
because of
based on
either or
both and

by means of
due to
in order to
as compared with

1. Primers can be fired friction, blow or flame.

2. Arty primers may be classified into different types the method by which they are
2. Primer may be located in the base of cartridge case in the breechblock.
3. The electric primer is provided with the means for being ignited electrically by the
firing pin.

III. :
1. 1- 5- , ( 5).
2. 2- 6- Participle ,
( 2, 4).
3. 3- 4- ( ), , ( 3).
Classification of Artillery Primers
1. Artillery primer is known to be the first element of the propellent explosive train designed to initiate the propelling charge.
2. The priming mixture contained in the primer can be ignited by simple means: flame,
friction, or blow. Being ignited, it transmits the spit of fire to the black powder igniter
which passes the flame to the service charge.
3. Based on the methods by which they are fired, artillery primers are classified as percussion, friction, electric, combination, and igniting types.
Percussion primer. This type of primer is intended to be fired by a blow of a firing pin.
To insure uniformity of the percussion blow, an auxiliary firing pin may be incorporated in
the primer. The percussion primer is used in all service fied and semifixed ammunition,
except1 harbor defense2 and railway artillery3 ammunition. It is also suitable for separateloading ammunition employed by mobile artillery.
4. Electric primer. This type of primer is fired by means of electric current which passes
through a resistance wire4 located in a sensitive explosive composition. Special handoperated magnetos are supplied for guns and mortars to be fired electrically. Electric
primers are used in harbor defense and railway artillery, only in separate loading ammunition.
5. Combination primer. It is a percussion-electric primer, which is expected to be fired
either electrically or by means of the firing pin. It is suitable for certain harbor-defense and
railway artillery ammunition of separate loading type.
6. Friction primer. The essential element of this type of primer is a serrated plug. When
pulled through an explosive composition sensitive to heat it causes the inflammation of the
explosive. The friction primer is used with separate loading ammunition for seacoast cannons5.
7. Igniting primer. Igniting primers are auxiliary primers assembled in fixed ammunition
fired by subcaliber tubes which are not provided with percussion firing mechanisms. The
igniting primers are located in the cartridge case and are fired by the flame from the regular6 friction or electric primer placed in the breechblock.

1. except 2. harbor defense artillery 3. railway artillery 4. resistance wire 5. seacoast cannons 6. regular -



1. 1 2 .
(- ).
3. 2 ,
4. .
, .

, .


5. , :
1. Artillery primer is the first element of...
2. It is designed...
3. The primer contains...
4. The priming mixture can be ignited by...
5. The spit of fire from is transmitted to ... and from it to
6. Based on the method of firing...
7. Percussion primer is fired by...
8. It is used...
9. ... is fired by means of electric current.
10. The current passes through...
11 Electric primers are used....
12. ... is fired either electrically or...
13. It is used...
14. ... contains a serrated plug.
15. The serrated plug is pulled through ...
16. This causes...
17. Friction primer ... with separate-loading ammo for
18. Igniting primer is fired by
19. They are used ...

Lesson 5
: "Classification of Artillery Primers".
: Dialogue.

I. , .
1. This primer is fired either electrically or by means of a firing pin.
2. This primer has a resistance wire located in a sensitive explosive composition.
3. This primer is used with fixed ammo fired by subcaliber tubes.
4. This primer is fired by a blow of a firing pin.
5. This primer contains a serrated plug pulled through an explosive composition.
II. , - . ,
. , .
Type of primer

Means of firing (initiation)


1. percussion

a blow of a firing pin

service fixed, semifixed, and

separate loading ammo

III. .


2 . ,


. , .
. 4.
1. ()

to screw
priming mixture
friction element

Lesson 6
: "Primers. General Description "
(- ).

Primers. General Description.
Ignition of the propelling charges is initiated by the flame from the artillery primers. The action of the primer with its associated black powder igniter affects the maximum
pressure, the amount of muzzle flash, and the time interval between the application of the
initial impulse and the expulsion of the projectile from the gun. If an ideal ignition system
existed1, it would ignite each element of the propelling charge completely and simultaneously. This is impossible, but it is approximated2 by the use of long primers of large capacity in fixed ammunition and short primers with additional black powder igniters in
separate loading ammunition.
Requirements. Primers should be certain and uniform in functioning, safe to use
and handle, stable under normal conditions of storage, and as simple in construction as
possible, readily produced or manufactured and as cheap as possible.
Safety precautions3. The following safety precautions are prescribed:
- in case of misfire the breechblock must not be opened until several minutes (as prescribed) after the attempt4 to fire;
- care must be taken not to drop5 primers:
- any primer removed after an attempt to fire should be handled with great care.
Storage and packing6.
All primers are known to be affected by moisture7. Excessive moisture causes a
primer to fail. So it should be stored in a dry place.
Primers are packed in waterproof metal cans8. A label9 is pasted around or on top
of the can, on which is printed the quantity, the kind of primer, initials of manufacturer,
name of place where packed, revision number10, lot number11, together with directions for
using the primer.
The packing cans are packed in wooden packing boxes for shipment. The standard
wooden packing box contains 48 packing cans and a total of 2400 primers. Here is an example of the label on a packing can.
To be pressed into wooden packing box, not hammered in.
To open box, drill off tin strip at top.
REVISION No5.....LOT No. 123-4

1. to exist 2. it is approximated 3. safety precautions 4. attempt 5. t drop 6. storage and king 7. moisture 8. cans 9. label 10. revision number 11. lot number -



I. :
1) ; 2) ; 3)
; 4) ; 5) ; 6)
; 7) ; 8) ; 9) ; 10)
; 11) ; 12)
; 13) ; 14)
; 15) ; 16) ; 17) ; 18) .

1. .
2. , -
1) ?
2) , ?
3) 3 ?
. .
4. . . : Open ... - ...
Don't open ... - ...
5. :
- , ;
- , , ;
- .

Primer is used in propelling charge explosive train to initiate burning of the propellant by hot flame. Sensitive explosives to be used with the propellent primer are lead azide
or mercury fulminate.
It is required that the percussion element in the primer should be sensitive to
shock, spark, and flame. Primers for fixed, semifixed and separated ammunition re built
into the base of the cartridge case, the primers for separate loaded ammunition being inserted in the breechblock. In the larger caliber rounds, in addition to the sensitive elements
in the primer, an extra charge of black powder is included in order to insure proper ignition of the larger propellant charges.
1. percussion element
It is necessary that the primer of the propelling charge explosive train consist of a
very sensitive explosive to be initiated by shock, spark, or flame. These explosives are
mercury fulminate or lead azide.
In some types of ammunition, in addition to the primer charge in the artillery
primer, there is a charge of black powder, called igniter charge. It is located in the cartridge case of fixed, semifixed or separated ammunition. In separate-loading ammunition,
the igniter charge supplements1 the primer charge, the complete ignition of the propelling
charge thus being provided.
Igniters to be used with fixed, semifixed and separated ammunition are an integral
part of the primer.
1. supplements

, - . ( ):
Artillery Primers from Export Division
Export Division - a foundation established in 1980 - manufactures artillery primers
for needs of our Defense Forces. For years we have been supplying the products for
many other countries.
We make every device and every part of every device as if our lives depended on
them. Because they do. And all know it.
For full information, please, contact:
Export Division,
P.O.B. 1044,
Ramat Hasharon 47 100 Israel
Tel.: (03) 48-92-22
Telex: 33 719

( )
( )
Dear Sirs!
Re: Primers.
I would like to express our interest in
We shall be grateful if you send
( :
, , , )

Military Explosives
Lesson 7
: High Explosives and Propellents
( )
Word List
1. explosive 2. high explosive 3. brisance 4. propellent low explosive 5. difference 6. rapid rapidity 7. disruptive effect shattering effect 8. fast 9. initiator 10. to preclude 11. rupture 12. to occur 13. combustion 14. nitrocellulose 15.single-base powder
pyro powder
16. colloiding agent17. straight 18. to cool 19. double base powder 20. to confine 21. disadvantage 22. grain . FNH (Flashless NonHygroscopic) powder 24. N (Non-Hygroscopic)
powder -




.: ,


I. :
- nature, the nature of, the nature of disruptive effect;
- moisture, to absorb moisture, to absorb moisture from the air;

- mixture, a mixture of, a mixture of explosives;

- rupture, a rupture of, a rupture of the projectile;
- relative, relative insensitivity, relatively, relatively insensitive;
- hygroscopic, non-hygroscopic, non-hygroscopic powder, hygroscopicity of the explosive;
- nitrocellulose, nitrocellulose powder, straight nitrocellulose powder;
- nitroglycerine, nitroglycerine powder, contains nitroglycerine and nitrocellulose;
- nitrate, ammonium nitrate, a mixture of ammonium nitrate and trinitrotoluene;
- brisance, maximum brisance, brisance combined with insensitivity.
II. :
1. Mercury fulminate is less powerful than TNT.
2. Tetryl is more sensitive than TNT.
3. Amatol is less sensitive but more powerful than lead azide.
4. Low explosives have lower rate of reaction than high explosives and less disruptive effect.
5. The most suitable initiators of explosive trains are mercury fulminate and lead azide.
III. in comparison with, because f, .
1. High explosives are very dangerous due to their sensitivity to heat, blow and shock.
2. Progressive, that is low explosives, are divided into smokeless powders and black, that
is gun powder.
3. As compared to smokeless powders black powder has a disadvantage because it produces much smoke.
, (4 - 7- ).
IV. that is (5- 6- ),
V. 6- to add (, ), .
VI. :
1. 1- 3- , , ( 3).
2. Participle II 2- 7- , ( 4).
3. 4 3-, 5- 6- , ( 6).

4. 4- . ( 2).
High Explosives and Propellents
1. Explosives to be used for military purposes are divided into two basic groups:
high explosives and low explosives. The main differences between these two groups are
the rapidity of their explosive reaction and the nature of the disruptive effect.
2. High explosives are those which when initiated by heat, blow, or shock explode
with extreme rapidity. The fast explosive reaction of high explosives is known as detonation. The ability of high explosives to produce shattering or disruptive effect is called brisance. High explosives are used as shell fillers, and as elements of explosive trains.
3. To initiate an explosive train, small quantities of very sensitive explosives are required, the most suitable of them being lead azide and mercury fulminate. They are known
as initiators. Boosters are filled with less sensitive but having high brisance explosives.
Such explosives are tetryl and tetrytol, the latter6 being a mixture of tetryl and TNT. Shell
fillers require explosives which have maximum brisance combined with relative insensitivity. The explosives of this type are TNT (trinitrotoluene), tetryl, Explosive D (ammonium picrate), amatol (a mixture of ammonium nitrate and TNT) and others.
4. Low explosives used as propellants are usually initiated by flame. As compared
t high explosives they have lower rate of reaction and less disruptive effect. The explosion of the low explosives is rather1 a rapid burning. This characteristic permits their use
as propellents and precludes their use as bursting charges. If a low explosive were used as
a bursting charge, the rupture of the projectile would occur before the combustion were
completed. The result would be waste2 of energy and poor fragmentation.
5. There are two types of low explosives: smoke powder, that is black powder, and
smokeless powders.
6. Smokeless powders have a nitrocellulose base, the nitrocellulose being produced
by nitration of cotton3. Smokeless powders are classified as follows:
- Single-base powder composed primarily of nitrocellulose, with addition of colloiding agents. Straight nitrocellulose wde is called pyro powder. It has several disadvantages: it produces muzzle flash4 absorbs moisture and has low potential.
- Flashless Non-Hygroscopic (FNH) and Non-Hygroscopic (NH) powders, that is a
mixture of nitrocellulose with other materials to reduce hygroscopicity, that is the tendency to absorb moisture. In addition, salts of potassium5 are added to the powder to cool
the products of burning and thus reduce the muzzle flash.
- Double-base powders containing both nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine, the latter6
serving for increasing the potential.
7. Black powder. Although classed as a low explosive, black powder is quite dangerous7 due to its sensitivity to heat, flame, spark, or friction. When confined8 and properly initiated it explodes with evolution of extremely hot gases. Black powder is used in
the form of polished9 grains of different sizes.

1. rather 2. waste 3. nitration of cotton 4. muzzle flash 5. salts of potassium 6. the latter 7. quite dangerous 8. confined
9. polished -

( )


1. 2 .
2. 1- ,
3. 2- (2- 3- )
1) " ", "",
"" ( )
2) :
- ;
- ,
; ;
- , ;
- , ; .
4. 4- .
5. ,
1. What two types of low explosives are there?
2. What base do smokeless powders have?
3. How are smokeless powders classified?
4. What is single-base powder?
5. What is pyro powder?

6. What are its disadvantages?

7. What are FNH and NH powders composed of?
8. How can muzzle flash be reduced?
9. What are double-base powders composed of?
10. Which explosive is more powerful nitroglycerine or nitrocellulose?
11. Why is black powder considered to be a dangerous explosive?
6. , :
1. Military explosives are divided into ...
2. ... have extremely high rate of reaction.
3. The main differences between HE and LE are ... and...
4. Low explosives have comparatively...
5. ... detonate and ... burn.
6. High explosives produce ... or ... effect.
7. ... produce propelling action.
8. may be either extremely ... or very powerful.
9. Extremely sensitive high explosives are used as ...
10. Very powerful high explosives are used as ...
11. Low explosives are used as...

Lesson 8
: "High explosives & Propellents".
: "Black Powder".
: " ".

I. ,
. .


Rate of explosive reaction

relatively low

Type of explosive reaction



Initial impulse
II. , ,
III. .
IV. , High Explosives.
. (
) .
High Explosives
Sensitivity Very sensitive

Relatively sensitive

relatively low


tetryl, tetrytol (tetryl +TNT)

V. .
- , ,
- , (there are) .
- , .

As far as I know,
You are quite right. There are 3 types of

You see, the difference between them is in

their composition. Single-base powder is
composed of FNH and NH powders
Double-base powders
- (is) - It is
- , You are mistaken. It is not widely used be (as) . cause
- , You see, its because of
. , - And it explodes, when

1. :
1. residue .: ;
2. erosion ;
3. moisture ;
4. friction ;
5. solid ;
6. spark
II. .
III. "Black Powder" . -.
IV. 1- , .
V. 2- :
1 Black powder absorbs .... readily, that's why it is stored in ... protected from
2. B1ack powder is sensitive to ...
3. It burns...
4. Black powder is a ... substance of ... color.
5. As a military explosive it is used in the form of ...
VI. 3- : "
, ?"

VII. 4- - .

, (pyroxiline) (nitroglycerine).
, .
, .
, .
. ,
, . , , - .
, . . .

Lesson 9
: Smokeless Powder
(- , ,
. .
Smokeless Powder
Smokeless powder is known to be a universal propellent containing nitrocellulose as
chief explosive ingredient. Nitrocellulose is made by nitration of cotton.
At first there were attempts1 to use nitrocellulose as a propellent without any additions. The result was rupture of the gun. Nitrocellulose in its original form, either loose or
compressed, has too high rate of combustion to be suitable as a propellent. If the content
of nitrogen2 is high, it is a high explosive which causes detonation.
In 1886 Vielle introduced nitrocellulose smokeless powder. He treated3 nitrocellulose with ether and alcohol4, which acted as colloiding agents, forming a gelatinous mass.
When rolled into sheets5, cut into small pieces, and then dried6, the product had the controllable burning characteristics required for a propellent. The U.S. Army and U.S. Navy
adopted this type of powder under the name of single-base smokeless powder for standard
service ammunition.
Shortly afterwards, Nobel gelatinized the nitrocellulose with nitroglycerine and introduced the first double-base smokeless powder.
Later, other materials were added to the powder in order to increase its chemical
stability, to cool the products of burning and thus reduce the flash of firing, to reduce the
hygroscopicity and so on.
Size and shape of powder grains7 are also of great importance because they influence the pressure in the gun and hence the muzzle velocity and ballistic performance of
the projectile. The grains may be manufactured in the form of strips8, cords9, cylinders,
tubes, rosettes10, balls and many others. Some of them may be perforated11.
According to the character of burning of powder grain propellants are classified as
progressive burning12 types, neutral burning13 types and degressive burning14 types.
The burning action of the powder grains in the form of strips and cords is called degressive burning. As the strips and cords burn, the surface of the grain decreases until the
entire grain is consumed15. Powder with degressive burning grains is used in rifles and
The burning action of single-perforated grain is called neutral burning. The grain is
cut through the center so that there is an outside and an inside surface. When the propellant is ignited, both surfaces burn. The outside surface burns inwards, and the inside surface burns outward until the flames meet and consume15 the entire powder grain.
The burning action of multiperforated grains is called progressive burning. A multiperforated grain of powder has as many as seven perforations which greatly increase the
burning surface. This causes mre rapid burning, and slower combustion of powder. Progressive burning powder is used in artillery weapons of all types.

1. attempt
2. content of nitrogen -
3. ether and alcohol
4. treated
5. roll into sheets
6. dried
7. grain
8. strip ,
9. cord .:
10. rosette
11. perforated
12. progressive burning -
13. neutral burning
14.degressive burning -
15. to consume ;

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The primary function of a propellent is to provide pressure which, acting against the
object to be propelled, will accelerate the object to the required velocity. This pressure
must be controlled because it must never exceed the strength of the container in which it is

It would be possible to use any explosive for propellent purposes if the velocity of
explosion could be controlled. Investigations of this problem led to the development of the
smokeless powder. Nitrated cotton, the main constituent of smokeless powder, is a high
explosive by itself and it is unsuitable as a projectile propellant. However, it was discovered that this high explosive could be colloided with an ether-alcohol mixture to produce a
burning explosive. This explosive meets the requirements of controllable rate of burning.
Besides, it is relatively safe in use, easy to handle, and stable under varying conditions of
Initiating Explosives
To initiate an explosive reaction it is required that energy of some form be applied
to the explosive. Propellants are ignited by flame, high explosives being ignited by severe
shock. Mercury fulminate is known to be the most sensitive explosive. Producing both a
flame and a shock it is suitable for use as an initiating explosive for both propellants and
high explosives.
The device used to initiate the burning of propellent explosive is called primer. It
consists of a small pellet of fulminate of mercury and a small charge of black powder in a
container. When fired, the primer produces a long, hot flame required to ignite the propellant.
The device used to initiate the reaction of the bursting charge is called detonator, or
primer-detonator. It usually consists of a charge of fulminate of mercury, or a mixture of
fulminate of mercury and granular TNT or tetryl. When fired, the detonator produces the
firing impulse which initiates the explosive reaction.
I. , -
. -
, , .
Incorporated in 1971, Group SNPE (France) is a European leading company in energetic materials for military applications. It offers a wide range of gun propellants, high explosives and combustible materials both for home and foreign demands. Group SNPE is
ready to provide all interested clients with catalogues of its production and with all energetic products suitable for their specific needs1.

Joint work2 with other enterprises is also possible.

For full information, please, contact.
SNPE Explosives and Propellants
12, quai Henry IV
75 181 Paris Cedex 04
Tel.: 33 149 96 74 44
Fax: 33 149 96 74 03
1. suitable for their specific needs 2. joint work -

II. , , : , ,
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. .

UNIT 1 Lesson 2
The Charge System for 155 mm Extended Range Full Bore Rounds
The charge system used with all ERFB projectiles consists of the M 82 primer employed
to initiate the following propellant charges.
Charge M11 (Zone 10). This charge contains M 30 A1 propellant powder, packed in one
white bag, with a central igniter core. It may only be used in the GC45 and GHN-45
Charge M2 (Zone 9 & 8). Also containing M 30 A1 propellant powder, this charge is
packed in two bags: a base charge and one increment. It also has a central igniter core. It
may be used with the GC45, GHN-45, M 198, FH70 and FH 77B gun-howitzers.
Using only the base charge, it may be used with the M 114/39 and M 109 A1 howitzers for
ERFB standard M 107 projectiles.
Charge M 4 A 2 (Zones 7,6,5,4 & 3).
This contains M1 propellant powder packed in five bags, that is one base charge and four
increments. It may be used in all existing 155 mm gun-howitzers with ERFB or M 107
projectiles. Igniter is in the bag attached to the base charge.
Charge M 3 A 1 (Zones 5,4,3,2 & 1).
Contained in a green bag, all others being white, this charge consists of M 1 propellant
powder packed in five bags: one base charge and four increments. For ERFB, only Zones
5,4 and 3 may be used. Zone 2 and 1 may be used in all existing 155 mm gun-howitzers
with standard M 107 projectiles. Igniter is attached to the base charge.

Lesson 5
Tell me please, what was the last lec- It was about primers.
ture about?
What is primer?

Primer is the first element of the explosive train

designed to initiate its burning.

Where is the primer located?

It depends on the type of primer. There is a fuze

primer located in the fuze and a propellant
primer usually located in the cartridge case.

Oh, I see. .What is the essential ele- The essential element of any primer is a sensiment of a primer?
tive explosive or mixture.
And what are the means of igniting The fuze primer is initiated by the firing pin. It
the primers?
is actuated by setback, impact, or spring action.
And what about the propellent As to the propellent primer, it is initiated by imprimer?
pact, friction or by means of electric current.
Thank you for the information.

You are welcome.

Lesson 8
( II)
1. Black powder is not used as a propellent because it leaves a large amount of residue in
the gun.
2. Black powder causes rapid erosion of the bore because of its high temperature of burning.
3. B1ack powder absorbs moisture readily.
4. Black powder is sensitive to shock, flame, spark and friction.
5. Black powder is a solid substance used in the form of grains.
6. The higher the temperature of burning the more rapid the erosion of the gun is.
7. The slower the burring the less powerful the explosive is.
Black powder
Until the latter half of the 19-th century, when nitrocellulose powders were invented,
black powder was used as propellent for firearms.
Black powder is unsuitable as a propellent because:
1. It leaves a large amount of residue in the gun bore.
2. It makes much black smoke when it burns.
3. Its high temperature of burning causes rapid erosion of the gun bore.
4. Its velocity of reaction is too rapid and m cause explosion in the bore.
Black powder is stable when it is stored in containers protected from air. But when
exposed to moisture is absorbs it readily and its explosive capabilities are lost. Black powder is highly sensitive to friction, shock, spark, or flame. When ignited, it is extremely
quick in its actions. So, it is quite a dangerous explosive.
Black powder is a solid substance of dark-blue or dark-grey color with a metallic brilliance. As a military explosive, it is used in the form of grains of different sizes.
The rate of its burning depends on the size of the grains. The larger the grains, the
more rapid is the ignition, but slower the burning. With small grains the ignition is slower
but the burning much faster. Small grains are used in small arms.
The uses of black powder are as follows:
- ignition charges for propellants
- saluting charges
- pyrotechnics
- in time trains of the time fuzes
- as delay elements in fuzes
- as fillers in practice shell and bombs
- expelling charges
- torpedo charges in the Navy.


Modal Verbs


can - ()
must - ()
should - ()
may ( )



be able to
be to, have to


It is

II If+ would

essential that (should)


If AP projectile had a point fuze it could not penetrate armor.

, .



to be + V3
to + V0

the fuse to be assembled in the base the device to prevent functioning -

/ / /

, /
, /

2. (? ?)
is the function /mission/ aim / purpose
To + V0
is necessary / important / possible
To burst the filler is the function of the fuse.
To penetrate armor is possible by using a delay fuze.

3. ( ? ?)
In order to penetrate armor a delay fuze is used. , .

Participle II ( -ed, 3- )


+ Ved, V3
1. +
2. ()?

the required time
when used the fuze
the time required

the time required for








to be used

against personnel.




is known

to be used

against personnel.


V ing
being +V3




1. The HE shell having a large bursting charge, it produces a powerful blast action.
, .
2. Bursting charge is made of high explosive, propelling charge being made of low explosive.
, .


I wonder
Tell me please
Id like to know

how many/much

I wonder if a fuze is used to burst the filler. ,

Tell me please, what a fuze is used for. , ,


Millitary Parade (1998 2002)

International Defense Review (1985)
Military Technology (1989)