How Does Dynamite Work?

What is Dynamite? Who invented Dynamite? Why is Dynamite very Explosive? How does Dynamite Sticks Explosion Happen? Are the dynamite and TNT similar?
How Does Dynamite Work

Inventions have been a part of human development. Some inventions proved a boon while others just destroyed nations in a matter of seconds. But not all explosives were invented for mass destructions and war, and one such explosive was Dynamite. So today, you will find out the answer to how does dynamite works and the reason behind dynamite sticks’ explosion. You will also get to know the materials filled in a stick of dynamite explosion.

1. What is Dynamite?

They are red sticks filled with explosive materials with a wick spreading outside from one end. They explode enormously when the wick is burned. They can be used, in a single stick or, a bundle can be made by piling up many sticks of dynamite. You all have seen those red sticks used in the cartoon show Tom and Jerry or The Looney Tunes Show. (Also read What Is a Sonic Boom?)

2. How was Dynamite Invented?

  • It was the year 1860 when a Scottish industrialist, felt the need for a new explosive other than black powder and nitroglycerin. He was Immanuel Nobel, who was a famous engineer, industrialist, and inventor. During that time, black powder was used as an explosive to blast the big rocks for the construction process, but it was dangerous for workers and so dynamite was invented.
  • It was his son, Alfred Nobel who was the main brain behind the invention of dynamite. Alfred went to the United States for his further studies and crossed paths with several famous chemists and engineers who were working on synthesizing nitroglycerin. And from there, he eventually started his work on the dynamite invention.
  • Up until 1847 to early 1867, Alfred tried every possible material to mix with nitroglycerin and discover how does dynamite work. He wanted that material to support during transport and handling but at the same time, that should not affect its explosiveness.
  • And in 1867, he achieved the desired result after he mixed nitroglycerin with the diatomaceous earth (soil) and fossilized algae. He finally carried out a successful experiment with his new materials in May 1867. 
  •  Then he patented his inventions and made them available for commercial use and transport. (Also read 4 Most Important Inventions of the Industrial Revolution)

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3. How did Dynamite get its Name?

Earlier, Alfred was selling his invention under the name Nobel’s Blasting Powder and kept a tight check on other unlicensed companies who tried to copy or alter his invention to make similar products. Those companies were soon shut down, then he changed the name to Dynamite. It was, inspired by an Ancient Greek word Dynamis meaning Power. (Also read Who Named Our Planet Earth?)

4. What Materials are filled in a Stick of Dynamite Explosion?

  • Dynamite is a mixture of a few explosives, sorbents (like clay or powdered shells), a blasting cap, and a stabilizer.
  • The mixture of these ingredients is filled, into a cardboard tube. The mouth of the cylinder is sealed with paraffin which protects the mixture of explosives from moisture and any such object which can trigger the explosion. (Also read How Loud is a Silenced Pistol?
  • A dynamite stick contains merely 1 megajoule of energy. Dynamites are produced in a gelatinized form to use underwater. It is also available as a bagged powder. In place of famous diatomaceous earth (white soft clay), now sawdust, cellulose, etc, are used. (See Where does Sea Glass come from?)

5. What is the regular Size of a Dynamite Stick?

The size of a general dynamite stick is 3.2 cm (1025 inches) in diameter and length of 20 cm (8 inches). These sticks or cartridges are available in a variety of sizes, but the maximum size of dynamite, to be manufactured is 76 cm (30 inches) with up to 23 Kilograms (50 pounds). How does dynamite work depends largely on these dimensions? (Also read All Battery Sizes with Pictures)

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6. How does Dynamite Sticks Explosion Happen?

Dynamite is filled with explosive powder, and a blasting cap is fixed to one end where the wick is attached. When the wick is lit, and the flame reaches the blasting cap, it causes a small blast. This blast is followed by a much large explosion when the nitroglycerin blasts. (Also read How does burning to death feel like?)

This should be noted that burning the wick is not the reason which causes the blast. It is actually the blasting cap that triggers the explosion of the dynamite. If the blasting cap is burned and blasted, then you can cause an explosion without any wick. This is another way to how does dynamite work. (See How to Remove Small Stripped Screws?)

7. What are the Uses of Dynamite?

Having a high explosive quality, dynamites are used mostly for purposes like mining, construction, quarrying, and demolition of buildings. Being cost-effective, they are, used as an explosive booster for ANFO nitrate and fuel oil charges. (Also read What Causes Potholes?)

8. Are Nobel Prize and Alfred Nobel Interconnected?

After discovering how does dynamite works, Alfred Nobel laid the foundation for this award. Alfred Nobel’s will was announced on 30-12-1896, in Stockholm. Alfred gave a major part of his wealth to the Nobel Foundation. He mentioned in his will that his Foundation will award those who will serve humanity. So, this award was named after Alfred Nobel. 

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9. How Dynamite is different from TNT?

TNT is available in the same packaging form as that of dynamite, but its composition is different. People are confused because, in many cartoon shows,  the explosives are labeled as TNT, so eventually, a stick of dynamite labeled as TNT started this misconception. (See Mc Vs. Mac Debate)

  • Dynamite was discovered by Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, and inventor. TNT was invented by, Joseph Wilbrand.
  • Dynamite is available in red sticks filled with white powder. TNT is a yellow-colored mixture.
  • Dynamites are inexpensive while, TNTs are very expensive.
  • The main component of Dynamite is Nitroglycerine, while in TNT, the main ingredient is Trinitrotoluene.
  • Dynamite is more explosive and sensitive to its surroundings while TNT is more stable but has less explosive power.
  • Dynamite powder is mixed and pressed inside cardboard cylinders with a blasting cap. While TNT is melted and poured into shells to be used as weapons in the military. TNT is made into hand grenades and aerial bombs. 

So, now you know how does dynamite work. You also found out about the dynamite sticks explosion and the reason leading to the stick of dynamite explosion. (Also read How Does A Remote Control Work?)

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