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my question is simple why Nitrocellulose does not explode since it contains Nitrogen and oxygen in the structure of the cotton why it does burn ?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by airhuff, andselisk, Todd Minehardt, Tyberius, Jon Custer Nov 13 '17 at 15:42

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  • $\begingroup$ Why would you expect a compound to be explosive just because it contains both nitrogen and oxygen? $\endgroup$ – airhuff Nov 12 '17 at 22:22
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    $\begingroup$ But does explode... A particular form is known as guncotton. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrocellulose#Munitions $\endgroup$ – MaxW Nov 12 '17 at 23:02
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    $\begingroup$ @MaxW Guncotton as well as all kinds of gunpowder are not meant to detonate. They just burn rapidly. Detonation of gunpowder will just destroy the gun. $\endgroup$ – permeakra Nov 13 '17 at 6:44
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    $\begingroup$ @permeakra Would the word be "deflagrate" (= burn rapidly)? O:) $\endgroup$ – paracetamol Nov 13 '17 at 13:40
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It does detonate in certain scenarios.

Detonation is a case of rapid decomposition where reaction front travels at supersonic speed. Obviously, for such decomposition to occur, the compounds needs a way to decompose with big enough release of energy. Also, in this case decomposition front travels not by means of heat transfer, but by means of pressure wave. This means, that the detonating solid must be, well, solid and not fluffy. Another requirements is generation of the initial pressure wave. Some compounds can create it on their own, some require a primer and some require a pretty damn big primer.

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  • $\begingroup$ so the main reason is that the Detonation wave not occurring instead it's a heat spreading $\endgroup$ – iMyth Nov 12 '17 at 23:05
  • $\begingroup$ @iMyth Close enough. Transition from deflagration to detonation is a thing for nitrocellulose when it's used as a solid propellant, but commonly used nitrocellulose is in a form that does not help travel of detonation wave. $\endgroup$ – permeakra Nov 13 '17 at 6:42

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