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Old 03-09-2021, 06:06 AM   #24
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Plausibility check for mixed TL3/4+2 firearm

Originally Posted by TerryW View Post
B) Once you have nitrated paper you're halfway there to nitrocellulose, aka guncotton, which can be ignited by electric shock.
That's comparable to saying once you have uranium paint you're halfway to a nuclear bomb. Nitrocellulose is markedly more complex than paper soaked in nitrate salts - it calls for a chemical reaction to actually attach nitrate groups to the cellulose molecules, which in turn calls for a mix of rather pure sulfuric and nitric acids. You need high-quality cellulose for this - cotton is ideal. You also need to carefully rinse it, as if you leave excess nitrates on it, it will typically ignite on its own once dry - and in real history, it took about 20 years from someone figuring out the trick of using aqua regia* that mix of acids to getting the kinks worked out so it could be produced without blowing up the factory (near the end of TL 5).

*I misremembered - I thought aqua regia was the term for mixed nitric and sulfuric acid, but it's actually the term for mixed nitric and hydrochloric acid. Oops.

Originally Posted by thrash View Post
The spark discharges directly from the crystal. No wires required, although they can be used to direct the spark somewhere else.
Is quartz (or whatever you use - my original idea involved topaz) resilient enough to survive the sort of contained contact explosion that would result? Assuming you even get an explosion, that is - I'm unconvinced you could get the power required for ignition out of this, but I could be mistaken. Having the quartz in contact with the powder would certainly be interesting, as you'd basically have it being constantly compressed by the pressure and thus producing more electricity. Would that influence the reaction somehow?

EDIT: Also, it seems like it would be difficult to have the quartz - and its striker - electrically isolated from the barrel, yet fixed in place.
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Last edited by Varyon; 03-09-2021 at 06:33 AM.
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