Powder Bomb

   The Powder Bomb is a first cousin to Volta's Pistol . In both cases there is an explosion, but in the case of the powder bomb, gunpowder is detonated by an electric spark, rather than an oxy-hydrogen mixture.

   The powder bomb consists of a vessel, typically made of wood, shaped much like a mortar, with two electrodes (metal pins) driven through the wood from opposite sides at the closed end. One electrode was grounded and the other connected to a source of high potential, such as a Leiden jar, through a wetted string. Volta suggested in 1788 that such a device could be used for remote detonations to eliminate the danger of firing gunpowder with a fuse. Electrically-detonated mines were first used in the American Civil War.
                        University of Mississippi                                                                Middlebury College
                                Middlebury College                                                                      Grinnell College

 Return to Static Electricity Home Page | Return to Home Page