from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. See nitrocellulose.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. nitrocellulose
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- See under gun.
- n. a general name for a series of explosive nitric ethers of cellulose, obtained by steeping cotton in nitric and sulphuric acids. Although there are formed substances containing nitric acid radicals, yet the results exactly resemble ordinary cotton in appearance. It burns without ash, with explosion if confined, but quietly and harmlessly if free and open, and in small quantity. Specifically, the lower nitrates of cellulose which are insoluble in ether and alcohol in distinction from the highest (pyroxylin) which is soluble. See Pyroxylin, and cf. Xyloidin. The gun cottons are used for blasting and somewhat in gunnery: for making celluloid when compounded with camphor; and the soluble variety (pyroxylin) for making collodion. See Celluloid, and Collodion. Gun cotton is frequenty but improperly called nitrocellulose. It is not a nitro compound, but an ester of nitric acid.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A general name for the nitrates of cellulose, prepared by digesting cotton or other form of cellulose in nitric acid, or preferably in a mixture of nitric and sulphuric acids.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a nitric acid ester; used in lacquers and explosives
Sorry, no etymologies found.
The gunpowder is composed of carbon and other substances, making it highly combustible; and the guncotton is another combustible preparation.
I need not trouble you now with the way it is prepared; it is called guncotton (6).
Such terrible explosives as trinitrotoluene occasionally mentioned in the published war reports, as well as many others, have as the principal agent of destructive force guncotton, which is ordinary raw cotton or cellulose treated with nitric or sulphuric acid, though there are, of course, other chemicals used in compounding the various forms of deadly explosives.
The reason for the replacement is that IMX-101 is even more stable than TNT, which when invented was hailed as famously insensitive to shock and other conditions which would reliably detonate other high explosives of the day such as guncotton and nitroglycerine.
However it is essentially the same material as guncotton (!) and it is now illegal to supply this, either in spectacle frames (or in films either).
There is a guncotton thud, some far-off shift or heave that is also a local sensation, a hollow body sound.
But it would be easy to make some guncotton, or even ordinary powder, as we have azotic acid, saltpeter, sulphur, and coal.
In default of fulminate, he could easily obtain a substance similar to guncotton, since he had azotic acid at his disposal.
Looks like somebody stacked a couple of bales of guncotton in the elevator shaft and touched it off with a blasting cap.
"Hell, Danny, we can't even turn it off without getting access to the old guncotton factory and it's locked down tight as a drum."