I went to an outdoor performance of the 1812 Overture last night. At the finale, a sequence of 'cannon fire' occurred.

In past years the smoke has had the expected sulfur odor but this year the dense cloud of white smoke that drifted over the crowd had no (to my nose) detectable odor at all. In all other ways the detonations were normal- extremely loud, jet of flame, dense white smoke. Any ideas about what explosives were used?


1 Answer 1


Most likely they replaced the black powder with nitrocellulose also known as smokeless powder (although it does generate some smoke especially when used in artillery) which does not contain sulfur and hence the lack of smell.

  • $\begingroup$ Possibly... But the white smoke produced was pretty dense. $\endgroup$
    – BobT
    Jul 23, 2018 at 19:30
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yes, smokeless gun powder is not exactly smokeless, just produces less smoke than black powder. The guy here: youtube.com/watch?v=yceuluh_pJE is comparing smokeless gunpowder with black powder and both produce quite a bit of smoke. $\endgroup$
    – Outlander
    Jul 23, 2018 at 21:25

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