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February 18, 1956

PROPELLANT VERSUS DETONATOR

JAMA. 1956;160(7):586. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960420066021

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Abstract

To the Editor.—  Hamilton and Hardy (Industrial Toxicology, ed. 2, New York, Paul B. Hoeber, Inc., 1949, p. 292) state that "Tetryl is trinitrophenylmethylnitramine, a very important military propellant." Johnstone (Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, St. Louis, C. V. Mosby Company, 1948, p. 214) states that "Tetryl is trinitrophenylmethylnitramine, an important military propellant." I have been unable to trace the origin of these statements, but both are erroneous. Tetryl—also called Nitramine—is a detonating agent and is most assuredly not a propellant. During World War II it was used as a bursting charge in the projectiles of certain smaller antiaircraft ammunition. A propellant is a relatively slow-burning explosive used to movea projectile out of a gun and thus put it in flight. In detonators the reaction takes place throughout the substance in such an infinitesimal time that the explosion is one of extreme and disruptive violence. I have been quite familiar

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