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  #11  
Old April 14th, 2021, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by whartung View Post
How much is it in inflation adjusted 1980 dollars?
The inflation factor from the time period I am quoting prices from, circa 1860 to around 1900 is 10. However, the original poster does not seem to be looking at what the price would be at a Tech Level roughly equal to today, but a Tech Level in Traveller: The New Era comparable to much earlier Tech Levels. I have no idea what the Tech Level for a period from 1860 to circa 1900, which is Tech Level 4 in Classic, would be.

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Originally Posted by whartung View Post
And, here's a riddle, what kind of power would you from the SRBs on the Space Shuttle if they were black powder? Would they be safe at that scale?

Out of curiosity, were the SRBs the largest solid fuel rockets made?
If you could safely build a black powder rocket that big and with the same mass ratio, you would get about 1/3 the thrust and about 1/3 the velocity change. Far more likely would be them being the world's largest ever firecracker.
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Old April 14th, 2021, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timerover51 View Post
The inflation factor from the time period I am quoting prices from, circa 1860 to around 1900 is 10. However, the original poster does not seem to be looking at what the price would be at a Tech Level roughly equal to today, but a Tech Level in Traveller: The New Era comparable to much earlier Tech Levels. I have no idea what the Tech Level for a period from 1860 to circa 1900, which is Tech Level 4 in Classic, would be.
I am not looking at what the price would be for any Tech Level. As I tried to explain previously, I am using the price from the World Tamer's Handbook. Historical prices may be interesting, but are irrelevant for my purpose.

Last edited by TheDark; April 14th, 2021 at 09:05 PM..
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Old April 16th, 2021, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDark View Post
I am not looking at what the price would be for any Tech Level. As I tried to explain previously, I am using the price from the World Tamer's Handbook. Historical prices may be interesting, but are irrelevant for my purpose.
I guess given my background as an historian and former Army supply officer, I naver view historical data as irrelevant. If the data in a role-playing game manual conflicts with actual data, the actual data wins out, unless the author of the manual was using say, prices of equipment, as a mean of relieving the players of all of the loot thay had collected.
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Old April 19th, 2021, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Timerover51 View Post
The oxidizer in black powder is the saltpeter, which is normally around 75 percent of the mix. Black powder will function fine in a vacuum. The rest of the mixture is typically 15 percent charcoal (a limited number of trees supply good charcoal), and 10 percent sulphur.
I remember the saying, "keep your powder dry." Apparently keeping black powder dry was important to the musketeer. Most soldiers in the gunpowder age took pains not to dunk their firearms in water or to get their powder horns wet, apparently wet gunpowder didn't work very well or at all.
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Old April 19th, 2021, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Werner View Post
I remember the saying, "keep your powder dry." Apparently keeping black powder dry was important to the musketeer. Most soldiers in the gunpowder age took pains not to dunk their firearms in water or to get their powder horns wet, apparently wet gunpowder didn't work very well or at all.
As a 17th Century Living History re-enactor, I can tell you with authority that damp blackpowder (even blackpowder on a humid day) routinely causes misfires/hangfires, or makes firing completely impossible (to say nothing of it being actually wet).

Matchlocks are more reliable in humid conditions than firelocks, simply because a matchlock does not have a metal frizzen on which condensation can accumulate, extinguishing any potential spark. (Hot smoldering match going directly into powder is much more reliable in such cases, though it can still suffer from the powder "gumming-up" with humidity, however, just like with a firelock).

A firelock will not fire reliably (or at all) in humidity or rain of any amount, whereas I can usually fairly reliably fire my matchlock in a light rain or drizzle.


BTW, this thread may also prove to be of some interest: English Civil War Small Arms for TL 2 worlds .
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Old April 19th, 2021, 11:13 AM
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Black powder as a rocket propellant has several poor qualities. Unlike smokeless powder or nitrocellulose that has mostly replaced it, it is consumed essentially all at once making it an explosive versus a very energetic, fast burning material. It also has a rather low specific impulse by weight so it doesn't provide as much thrust as other fuels would.

The result is that past a certain point more isn't better. That is, black powder as a propellant is consumed in an instant rather than giving sustained thrust over several seconds or longer. That means the rocket receives a specific impulse on launch then coasts thereafter.

This, in turn, means that a black powder rocket has a limited range based on that initial velocity and its weight and aerodynamic shape.

There are some pages available for amateur black powder rocketry that might be useful as a starting point for determining flight distances, etc.

https://www.insanerocketry.com/blackpowder.html
http://rocketrycalculator.com/rocket...YF7-AXHHZftliK

Of course, these are for small motors. Something larger would require a casting of the powder to allow for proper ignition rather than just packing the rocket with it.

In a Traveller setting, I'd think a crude rocket fuel would more likely be something like rubber dissolved in a solvent with quick lime added then cast into motor form. Asphalt (tar) would be another alternative. Changing the quick lime to ammonium nitrate would be even better. These could be manufactured at very low tech levels as easily--and more safely--than black powder.
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Old April 19th, 2021, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enoki View Post
Black powder as a rocket propellant has several poor qualities. Unlike smokeless powder or nitrocellulose that has mostly replaced it, it is consumed essentially all at once making it an explosive versus a very energetic, fast burning material. It also has a rather low specific impulse by weight so it doesn't provide as much thrust as other fuels would.

The result is that past a certain point more isn't better. That is, black powder as a propellant is consumed in an instant rather than giving sustained thrust over several seconds or longer. That means the rocket receives a specific impulse on launch then coasts thereafter.

This, in turn, means that a black powder rocket has a limited range based on that initial velocity and its weight and aerodynamic shape.

There are some pages available for amateur black powder rocketry that might be useful as a starting point for determining flight distances, etc.

https://www.insanerocketry.com/blackpowder.html
http://rocketrycalculator.com/rocket...YF7-AXHHZftliK

Of course, these are for small motors. Something larger would require a casting of the powder to allow for proper ignition rather than just packing the rocket with it.

In a Traveller setting, I'd think a crude rocket fuel would more likely be something like rubber dissolved in a solvent with quick lime added then cast into motor form. Asphalt (tar) would be another alternative. Changing the quick lime to ammonium nitrate would be even better. These could be manufactured at very low tech levels as easily--and more safely--than black powder.
If the power output is effectively a detonation, do it in stages (or rather, a series of impulses). Sort of like a very-low-tech, very-inefficient Orion-drive rocket. Pretty sure I read a novel built around that idea once.

But, yeah, you can do better for rocket propellant even at the same tech level.
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Old April 19th, 2021, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Grav_Moped View Post
If the power output is effectively a detonation, do it in stages (or rather, a series of impulses). Sort of like a very-low-tech, very-inefficient Orion-drive rocket. Pretty sure I read a novel built around that idea once.

But, yeah, you can do better for rocket propellant even at the same tech level.
Black powder can be used in fire crackers and as noise makers to scare horses. Not so good as spaceship propellants, also solid fuel rockets can't be throttled, there are no fuel pumps, just a tube packed with powder, you ignite it and you burn the whole thing.
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Old April 20th, 2021, 09:37 AM
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It is possible to build a solid propellant rocket that can be throttled. US8336287B1 is a patent on designing a solid propellant system that shuts down in flight and can be restarted. It's a relatively new technology, and stops combustion when the pressure in the stage gets too high.

Additionally, pulsed rocket motors exist. This places a barrier between cast sections, allowing for either commanded or planned ignition of sections in a stage.

Finally, it could be planned to vary the thrust of a stage based on the grain geometry. Many solid propellant motors have star shapes cut through the propellant grain to ensure level thrust and a quicker burn, but it could be designed to start with one (circular bore) and burn into a star.
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Old April 25th, 2021, 10:00 AM
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Black powder burn times aren't quite instantaneous, at least not for the compressed mixtures used for TL 3 rocketry. The Hale used a launcher with a resisting disk that used a weight on a pendulum to hold the rocket until a specific level of thrust was achieved. That adjusted the range without changing the launch angle by having the rocket burn propellant while held back. Total burn time was 10 seconds, and the counterweight could be set to hold the rocket up to 8 seconds. They were quite slow - only about 300 ft/s, so I may have to play around with the numbers to get the right balance between thrust, fuel consumption, and total weight.
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