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Old 02-11-2019, 08:57 AM   #191
johndallman
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Default Re: Industrial Chemistry, part 1

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
What would be an approximate REF for the explosive filler you'd expect them to make from picric acid?
0.9. You use straight picric acid, which is on p. 183 of High-Tech. You do need to keep it from contact with metal, because the compounds it forms then are very unstable. A lining of waxed paper works, I think.

TNT replaced picric acid because it was easier to handle and safer.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:58 AM   #192
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Default Re: Industrial Chemistry, part 1

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What are the pros and cons of each possibility, single-base and double-base powders, for the ASNs?

Double-base powders are slightly more powerful and, at least as far as I know, significantly easier to store and handle.

What benefits do single-base powders have in comparison? Principally, I guess, the benefit of not having to use some scarce or hard-to-manufacture chemical that the ASNs might not have in enough quantities.

What chemicals are those and what would the ASNs need instead (in greater quantities) for equivalent amounts of single-base powders?
Single-base powders use nitro-cellulose only as the propellant, and the main issue is that they absorb water very readily. however, once in a sealed metallic cartridge that shouldn't be a serious issue. Double-base propellants add nitroglycerine, and are more powerful and by tinkering with the composition you can get a smoother pressure curve. Note however that the Lebel rifle used a single-base propellant without issues.
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That sounds good. What would be an approximate REF for the explosive filler you'd expect them to make from picric acid?
High-Tech says 0.9, but wikipedia and other online sources say it's actually more powerful than TNT. It was the primary filler for HE shells in the late 19th century and WWI. The main disadvantage of it is that as an acid it reacts with metals, and the metallic salts are somewhat unstable. The solution is to coat the insides of the shells with shellac or other varnish, and make sure that the shells are sealed to keep moisture out whilst in storage. Filling the fuse socket with wax will do this, and the end users can cut that out when they're prepping the shells and putting the fuses in.
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:20 AM   #193
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Default Re: Industrial Chemistry, part 1

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Single-base powders use nitro-cellulose only as the propellant, and the main issue is that they absorb water very readily. however, once in a sealed metallic cartridge that shouldn't be a serious issue. Double-base propellants add nitroglycerine, and are more powerful and by tinkering with the composition you can get a smoother pressure curve.
Fair enough.

If a society can make nitro-cellulose in large enough quantities, shortages of what raw materials or lack of access to which manufacturing methods might cause them to have trouble with manufacturing nitroglycerin in sufficient quantities?

From the perspective of TL7 weapon designers, different designs demand different powders and in WWII, different weapons used single-base, double-base or triple-base powders. If they don't have to accept only having the technology to make one of these, they will not.

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Note however that the Lebel rifle used a single-base propellant without issues.
There are single-base rifle powders in use today, including some of the best sellers.

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High-Tech says 0.9, but wikipedia and other online sources say it's actually more powerful than TNT. It was the primary filler for HE shells in the late 19th century and WWI. The main disadvantage of it is that as an acid it reacts with metals, and the metallic salts are somewhat unstable. The solution is to coat the insides of the shells with shellac or other varnish, and make sure that the shells are sealed to keep moisture out whilst in storage. Filling the fuse socket with wax will do this, and the end users can cut that out when they're prepping the shells and putting the fuses in.
Cool.
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:55 AM   #194
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Default Re: Industrial Chemistry, part 1

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0.9. You use straight picric acid, which is on p. 183 of High-Tech. You do need to keep it from contact with metal, because the compounds it forms then are very unstable. A lining of waxed paper works, I think.
Would you use picric acid for industrial demolition as well, in mining, road-laying, clearing forests, etc.?

Are there any cheaper and more convenient alternatives for ASNs when high REF is not as important, because they are not limited to certain payload value?

Black powder might be an alternative, as it is certainly cheaper, but would the fact that it is not a high-explosive mean that the savings from buying a cheaper demolition material were used on up on inefficiency and inconvenience, as black powder is not in fact all that good at large-scale destruction?

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TNT replaced picric acid because it was easier to handle and safer.
Picrid acid would be their go-to military explosive for the first generation or two, I expect. What would they need to have sorted out to be able to change over to the relatively safer and more convenient TNT?

And if both were available, what would be the relative costs, assuming that they were generally on the cusp of TL5/TL6 in terms of infrastructure and economic strength, that their technology with military applications would tend to be more advanced, and they obviously still had the theoretical knowledge of early TL7?
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:09 AM   #195
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Default Re: Industrial Chemistry, part 1

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Would you use picric acid for industrial demolition as well, in mining, road-laying, clearing forests, etc.?
No. It's dangerous stuff and there are cheaper alternatives.
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Are there any cheaper and more convenient alternatives for ASNs when high REF is not as important, because they are not limited to certain payload value?
Blasting gelatin, which uses the same basic explosives as their smokeless powder production, but is not as demanding of the quality.
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Picrid acid would be their go-to military explosive for the first generation or two, I expect. What would they need to have sorted out to be able to change over to the relatively safer and more convenient TNT?
A petrochemicals industry capable of producing plenty of toluene.
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And if both were available, what would be the relative costs, assuming that they were generally on the cusp of TL5/TL6 in terms of infrastructure and economic strength, that their technology with military applications would tend to be more advanced, and they obviously still had the theoretical knowledge of early TL7?
Probably picric acid. However, given the shortage of full citizens, they may be quite demanding about weapons safety.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:18 AM   #196
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Default Re: Industrial Chemistry, part 1

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If a society can make nitro-cellulose in large enough quantities, shortages of what raw materials or lack of access to which manufacturing methods might cause them to have trouble with manufacturing nitroglycerin in sufficient quantities?
Shortage of glycerol, or unwillingness of chemical firms to re-equip for processes that they aren't set up for.

Armies have tended to stick with the first kind of smokeless propellants that they adopted, because they're comfortable with them. Commercial suppliers have tended not to be keen to set up for processes they are new to them, because it's expensive, and there's a risk of large explosions when they get things wrong with a new process.

There's a larger political question within ASN society of when they stop being in a wartime emergency, and can have companies with boards of directors and profits for the leaders. That was quite important in Nazi Germany before the war turned really bad for them, and the SS persisted with it almost to the end.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:34 AM   #197
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Default Re: Industrial Chemistry, part 1

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
No. It's dangerous stuff and there are cheaper alternatives.
To give Icelander context, when Canadians hear picric acid they think of the SS Mont Blanc and SS Imo and maybe the British ammunition crisis of 1915-1916 where they could not produce enough high-explosives to keep feeding their artillery.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:45 AM   #198
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Default Industrial Chemistry, part 2

More basic chemicals
Quicklime, calcium oxide, is made by mining limestone, and heating to above 825C in a lime kilm. Adding water makes “slaked lime”, calcium hydroxide, which has many uses.

Hydrochloric acid can be made from the hydrogen and chlorine from the chloralkali process. You need ultraviolet light to make this happen, which you can get from sunlight or an arc lamp, although you need to use fused quartz glass to confine the gas mixture, because ordinary glass is fairly opaque to ultraviolet. The combined gas is dissolved in water to make the acid.

Potassium chloride is mined as “potash” and is a significant fertiliser.

Varnish
You need a waterproofing varnish for primers. The usual TL6 choice was shellac, but that is not going to be available to the ASN: it comes from insects that live in India and Thailand. Indeed, the only decent varnish they have available is going to be based on pine resin, dissolved in alcohol.

Primers
Making primers is somewhat dangerous, both because of the risks of explosions and because there are often poisonous chemicals involved. Sensible engineers working for the ASN will have got machines built for small-scale production, and brought them, and supplies of the materials, through. You need separate buildings for making primers, well separated from anything else.

The primer compound they use needs to be selected. The easiest one to make is the old-fashioned one, based on mercury fulminate. The more advanced ones, which don't use mercury or corrosive substances, need a lot more chemistry to make.

Mercury fulminate is prepared by mixing mercury with nitric acid, and adding ethanol. That's simple, but you need other substances too.

Potassium chlorate provides oxygen for the combustion of the primer, once the mercury fulminate has started things off. You make it by bubbling chlorine, through hot calcium hydroxide solution, then adding potassium chloride.

Antimony trisulphide is mined as stibnite, aka antimonite, the main ore of antimony.

Additional substances that are sometimes used include ground glass, to increase friction, and sulphur and fine black powder to enhance the flame.

You need to mix the explosive composition. It comes as several fine powders, and they need to be thoroughly mixed. This requires machinery for reasonable safety, and it needs to be hydraulically operated: you don't want heat or electricity anywhere near this stuff. However, the machinery isn't big, complicated, or specific to the primer size.

To actually make primers, you start by punching small copper disks out of sheet, and pressing them into small cups. This is much simpler than the deep drawing necessary for cartridge cases, but the copper does need to be the right thickness and properly malleable. Primers come in several standard sizes, and the variety of weaponry the ASN use means they're going to need all of the common ones. That means they need several sets of punches, dies and frames for the same machines.

You also need to make discs of metal foil to cover the compound, once it's been put in the cups. The book I'm looking at says they need to be tin, and it certainly does need to be something you can roll very thin, because the exploding compound has to rupture the disc with plenty of energy to spare. That foil will probably be brought through in quantity, because it will be a while before you can make really thin foil reliably, unless you want to use gold leaf (which should work fine).

Now you need to get the priming compound into the cups, consistently and in the correct quantities. The machinery for this is simple, but needs to be fairly precise: again, this will be brought through from Germany. You do not want to do this by hand in any quantity: accidents will happen. Then the same machine puts a disc of foil over the compound, and adds a drop of varnish to seal the edges.

The primers are now much safer to handle, and can be inspected. Putting them into the cartridge cases is the first operation in loading cartridges, because you don't want accidents to happen with loaded cases. They get crimped in by the loading machine.

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Old 02-11-2019, 11:57 AM   #199
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Default Re: Industrial Chemistry, part 1

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
No. It's dangerous stuff and there are cheaper alternatives.

Blasting gelatin, which uses the same basic explosives as their smokeless powder production, but is not as demanding of the quality.
That sounds good.

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
A petrochemicals industry capable of producing plenty of toluene.
That's a byproduct of making coke from coals, isn't it?

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Probably picric acid. However, given the shortage of full citizens, they may be quite demanding about weapons safety.
They are, but it's simply not realistic to expect black powder to be confined exclusively to trusted people on any timeframe longer than a few months.

I mean, there are still regulations that only 'Aryans' are allowed any kind of chemical propellant weapons and only citizens are allowed to handle anything more advanced than simple smooth-bore black powder small arms, but realistically, that's been broken on a consistent basis by every magnate who has trusted slaves he uses for personal protection, not to mention probably in every industrial application where there are slaves that learn more quickly than the native citizens.

That being said, note that the descendants of Germanic natives are citizens by now and that means that the free citizens outnumber slaves by Year 51. Some of those slaves are slaves in name only, especially in the industrialized Jötunheim, where there is less and less need for sullen and unsophisticated slaves who'll do nothing more complicated than TL2-3 labour, and more and more need for TL5+ factory hands and skilled workers. Even on farms, the evolution is toward skilled labour and away from slaves who don't have any incentive to learn better agronomic techniques.

There is also the fact that a lot of those who are still slaves descend from the more-or-less Celtic peoples the ASNs have fought against since they arrived and that there are increasing calls, from various NSDAP factions, farmer's collectives and those few Treckbauern who concern themselves with politics, for allowing the emancipation of Celtic slaves (and sometimes others, most often any of those native races who are perceived as 'Aryan' ), as those of them who grew up speaking German are increasingly indistinguishable from ASN citizens and most of the original völkisch literature considered Celtic peoples quite acceptable.

As most of the native tribes within any kind of reasonable distance from ASN settlements have been defeated many times, there are many young people in the tribes have given up on fighting firearms with melee weapons and who'd rather trade with or even work for the powerful invaders. This is creating a steady stream of strong locals who can do the work of the less educated slaves with less capital outlay for the farmer or industrialist than leasing slaves from the SS.

I actually expect that long-serving Waffen-SS formations of Freiwilligen natives will have TL5 weaponry and received those a long time ago. Then again, most of them will have impeccable Germanic ancestry and usually receive citizenship after their service. Auxiliary Waffen-SS formations manned with allied tribes that are not unambiguously German might be different. I still haven't made up my mind on how the ASN leadership will classify ethnic groups that look pretty much identical to the Germanics, but who speak languages with no discernible Germanic influence.

Most tribes of pseudo-Celts became their enemies due to the early slave raids and the ASNs' careless blasphemies against sacred places and doctrines, which pretty much dictate that they'd be classified as 'foreign' and not 'Aryan', but for the tribes they've already conquered, that classification is already being seen as outdated by some ASN factions.

Analogues to various 'Scythian' factions might be perceived as evil Asiatics or ancestors of the Goths, depending on the level of völkisch fantasy. With sufficient imagination, it's easy enough to pick out Cimmerian, Scythian or other Black Sea and steppe tribes that happen to have a high proportion of 'Aryan'-looking nobility and declare those of another race than their foes, even if both parties speak much the same language and have similar beliefs.

As for analogues to Paleo-Balkan peoples and their neighbours, including pseudo-Illyrians, pseudo Thraco-Dacians, pseudo-Agathyrsi and pseudo-Getae, I don't know how the ASNs would rule on them. They could call them all proto-Slavs, which would be inaccurate, but no more inaccurate than the general level of 'racial scholarship' by real-world Nazis, but then again, they might also rule that certain tribes were obviously 'Aryan' and probably proto-Goths.

I know that at least one Dacian-esque or Getae-like tribe living at the Danube Delta made an early allegiance with some ASN Jäger and commando units even before Year 1, during 1944. They are the reason Skorzeny's original Jagdverband became Jagdverband Werwolf in a quite literal sense, once they learned their skin-bound warrior society rituals.

That tribe, at least, needs honorary Aryan status, for all that they don't speak a language even remotely related to any Germanic language and that most of them are dark-haired. Light eyes are common among them, though, and quite a number of their warriors could easily be the rough-looking country cousins of a lot of actual Germans I've met.

I expect that armed auxiliary natives that are judged to have more Celtic blood than Germanic or those who are suspected of being ancestral in some way to Slavs, might not be trusted with firearms at all, until the SS had to unbend due to pressure from pretty much everyone who lived in Germania Hyperborea and allow natives auxiliaries who guarded routes of economic importance and who rode patrols for outlying farms the use of simple smooth-bore black powder weapons, from pure strategic necessity.

For farmers or other ASN citizens who've relied on allied or auxiliary natives for their security for a generation or more, it probably seems backward not to equip such troopers with truly effective weapons, assuming that the ASNs are starting to develop the industrial capacity to make TL5 weapons in massive numbers.

I expect that to be a political issue of some importance, but imagine that at the moment, ASN industrial infrastructure still isn't up to manufacturing high-quality rifled barrels, cartridges and other necessary items rapidly enough to immediately exchange all the TL4 weapons in the inventory for higher-tech weaponry.

There might be some pretty intense debates going on about the more established auxiliary tribal units, universally acknowledged as loyal, true and effective, and whether there is any justification for withholding the best weaponry from such units, as they see combat far more frequently than any citizen units other than the elite Waffen-SS formations.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:20 PM   #200
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Default Re: Industrial Chemistry, part 1

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Shortage of glycerol, or unwillingness of chemical firms to re-equip for processes that they aren't set up for.

Armies have tended to stick with the first kind of smokeless propellants that they adopted, because they're comfortable with them. Commercial suppliers have tended not to be keen to set up for processes they are new to them, because it's expensive, and there's a risk of large explosions when they get things wrong with a new process.
That was my initial thought, but some research reveals that the British, for example, initially adopted the .303 as a black powder cartridge, three years later upgraded it to a double-base smokeless powder and then used that double-base powder alongside single-base powder and triple-base powder in the two World Wars.

The British today issue rounds with double-base powder (e.g. 9x19mm Parabellum, new enhanced-effectiveness 7.62mm loads), single-base powder (e.g. the typical issue 5.56x45mm NATO and 7.62x51mm NATO) and triple-base powder (e.g. artillery ammunition).

A quick search reveals that pretty much no 20th century army has used exclusively one type of smokeless powder after the initial years of adoption, largely because modern pistol ammunition is almost always double-base, rifle ammunition has been single-base for most common issue rounds and artillery rarely uses the same powder as smallarms.

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There's a larger political question within ASN society of when they stop being in a wartime emergency, and can have companies with boards of directors and profits for the leaders. That was quite important in Nazi Germany before the war turned really bad for them, and the SS persisted with it almost to the end.
Given how much the ASNs had to promise the engineers, industrialists and technicians, the SS has a lot of centralized control over many industries, but there have been privately-owned companies with boards of directors and expectations of profit from the start of settlement.

Granted, the elite of the SS and other leaders of the ASNs are on a lot of those boards and much of the profit from military contracts finds its way into the pockets of those who have the power to grant those contracts, but there are private companies and by Year 51, an increasing number of the most successful ones are based on Jötunheim and do not necessarily have strong SS ties
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