A Team of Researchers Have Been Blowing up Medieval Gunpowder

A Team of Researchers Have Been Blowing up Medieval Gunpowder

During the 13th-century, gunpowder recipes appear to have changed very rapidly and in very interesting ways, according to new research on old gunpowder.

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A team of researchers has just completed a series of tests of some medieval-era gunpowder recipes. Ostensibly in the name of science, this research was intended to understand the intent of master gunners when creating particular recipes of black powder. And it was not done for the pure hell of it, honest.

Gunpowder, otherwise known as black powder, is first recorded as being used in anger around 900AD in China. Shortly after, knowledge of the stuff spread throughout Eurasia, finally becoming a common appearance in 13th century Europe.

Largely obsolete today (it was replaced by things like cordite in the 1800s), it is still used today in things like fireworks, pyrotechnics, and some historical firearms.

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Its introduction to Europe resulted in a literal explosion in gunpowder-based weapons of war from artillery to very early firearms. During this period, the formula for gunpowder was experimented with and tinkered with by specially skilled tradesmen called master gunners to make it more potent and safe to use.