Survivalist: Making Salt Peter From Urine
Buy Potassium Nitrate Now Specialty Chemicals and Supplies Great prices, fast shipping www.ScienceForYou.net While you cannot literally make gunpowder from urine, as you need several other ingredients to produce gunpowder, urine can certainly be used to produce one necessary element. In addition to saltpeter, however, people also need charcoal and sulfur. These ingredients are both readily available, unlike saltpeter, so the popular stories about making gunpowder from urine do have a rational basis. Until the First World War, before people learned to reliably synthetically produce niter, urine, guano, and manure were all collected to produce gunpowder.
Initially, saltpeter was scraped from the walls of stables, but this source quickly proved to be insufficient, so people started collecting urine and dung to access the valuable nitrates. To extract saltpeter from urine historically, gunpowder manufacturers set up “niter beds” of straw, filtering the urine through the straw, which would concentrate the salts in the urine for easy collection. Urine has also had a number of other uses, and competition for available resources could sometimes be fierce, which may explain why many nations continued to use bladed weapons after the development of firearms, as making gunpowder from urine was expensive and time consuming.
During various times of war historically, citizens have been asked to collect urine and dung so that gunpowder manufacturers could use these products in the manufacture of gunpowder. Making gunpowder is a hazardous practice, and not recommended for people who are not experienced, although some people do make their own black powder at home, for hunting and historical re-enactment. Some historical societies sometimes offer demonstrations which involve making gunpowder from urine, among other things.
The really smart thing to do would be to go to a Home Depot and buy yourself a twenty pound bag of nitrate fertilizer pellets. They're light green, hard, clean, don't stink, and can easily be ground into a useable powder. Mix this with sulphur and charcoal and presto! Gunpowder! You can buy sulphur by the large bag on the Net, or you can even buy cases of wood kitchen matches and strip them for their sulphur. Always remember to mix small batches at a time. Always use wood or plastic utensils, and always work in an open space or well ventilated room. NEVER make the stuff without wearing fireproof clothing like asbestos gloves and a fiberglass vest (even hand made) and a motorcycle helmet with face plate. Always keep a WORKING fire extinguisher handy as well. Store your gunpowder in plastic containers like Tupperware because it seals good. NEVER use a metal container because you could ignite the whole thing just by opening it! You would be wise to invest in a book on mixing various types and strengths of gunpowder. The stuff's characteristics and strength can vary greatly depending on the mix...Watch for more survivalist lessons in the future.