Figure 74. Smokeless Powder Manufacture. (Courtesy E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Inc.) Smokeless Powder Mixer—open to show the crumbly, partially colloided material. In use, the apparatus is closed tightly to prevent the loss of volatile solvent.
2. Mixing or incorporating. The compressed block from the dehydrating press is broken up by hand against the blades of the mixing machine. This is similar to the bread-mixing machines which are used in large commercial bakeries, and consists of a water-cooled steel box in which two shafts carrying curved blades rotate in opposite directions and effectively knead the material. The ether is added rapidly and mixed in as fast as possible. Diphenylamine sufficient to constitute 0.9-1.1% of the weight of the finished powder is previously dissolved in the ether, and is thus distributed uniformly throughout the colloid. The incorporated material has an appearance similar to that of a mass of brown sugar which has been churned; it is soft enough to be deformed between the fingers, and, when squeezed, welds together in the form of a film or colloid.
3. Pressing. The loose and not yet completely colloided material is pressed into a compact cylindrical mass by means of a pressure of about 3500 pounds per square inch in the preliminary blocking press. The preliminary block is then placed in the macaroni press where it is pressed or strained through 1 12-mesh steel plate, 2 sheets of 24-mesh and 1 sheet of 36-mesh steel wire screen, and through the perforations in a heavy plate of brass from which it emerges in wormlike pieces resembling macaroni. A pressure of 3000 to 3500 pounds per square inch is commonly used. The material drops directly into the cylinder of the final blocking press, where it is squeezed into a compact cylindrical block of the right size to fit the graining press. A pressure of about 3500 pounds per square inch is maintained for 1 or 2 minutes, and completes the colloiding of the pyrocellulose. The final block is dense, tough, elastic, light brown or amber colored, and translucent.
4. Graining and cutting. The colloid is forced by an hydraulic press through dies by which it is formed into single-perforated or into multiperforated tubes. For the formation of a single-perfo-rated tube, the plastic mass is forced in the die into the space which surrounds a centrally fixed steel wire; it is then squeezed past the wire through a circular hole and emerges in the form of a tube. For the formation of a multiperforated tube, 7 such wires are accurately spaced within the die. A pressure of 2500 to 3800 pounds per square inch is used. For small arms powder the head of the press may contain as many as 36 dies, for large-
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