Fuse (explosives)
Overview
 
In an explosive, pyrotechnic device or military munition, a fuse (or fuze
Fuze
Fuze Beverage, commercially referred to as just Fuze , is a manufacturer of teas and non-carbonated fruit drinks enriched with vitamins. Currently the brand consists of five vitamin-infused lines: Slenderize, Refresh, Tea, Defensify, and Vitalize...

) is the part of the device that initiates function. In common usage, the word fuse is used indiscriminately. However, when being specific (and in particular in a military context), the term fuse describes a simple pyrotechnic initiating device, like the cord on a firecracker
Firecracker
A firecracker is a small explosive device primarily designed to produce a large amount of noise, especially in the form of a loud bang; any visual effect is incidental to this goal. They have fuses, and are wrapped in a heavy paper casing to contain the explosive compound...

, whereas the term fuze
Fuze
Fuze Beverage, commercially referred to as just Fuze , is a manufacturer of teas and non-carbonated fruit drinks enriched with vitamins. Currently the brand consists of five vitamin-infused lines: Slenderize, Refresh, Tea, Defensify, and Vitalize...

is used to indicate a more sophisticated ignition device incorporating mechanical and/or electronic
Electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

 components e.g.
Encyclopedia
In an explosive, pyrotechnic device or military munition, a fuse (or fuze
Fuze
Fuze Beverage, commercially referred to as just Fuze , is a manufacturer of teas and non-carbonated fruit drinks enriched with vitamins. Currently the brand consists of five vitamin-infused lines: Slenderize, Refresh, Tea, Defensify, and Vitalize...

) is the part of the device that initiates function. In common usage, the word fuse is used indiscriminately. However, when being specific (and in particular in a military context), the term fuse describes a simple pyrotechnic initiating device, like the cord on a firecracker
Firecracker
A firecracker is a small explosive device primarily designed to produce a large amount of noise, especially in the form of a loud bang; any visual effect is incidental to this goal. They have fuses, and are wrapped in a heavy paper casing to contain the explosive compound...

, whereas the term fuze
Fuze
Fuze Beverage, commercially referred to as just Fuze , is a manufacturer of teas and non-carbonated fruit drinks enriched with vitamins. Currently the brand consists of five vitamin-infused lines: Slenderize, Refresh, Tea, Defensify, and Vitalize...

is used to indicate a more sophisticated ignition device incorporating mechanical and/or electronic
Electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

 components e.g. a proximity fuze
Proximity fuze
A proximity fuze is a fuze that is designed to detonate an explosive device automatically when the distance to target becomes smaller than a predetermined value or when the target passes through a given plane...

 for an M107 artillery shell, magnetic
Magnetometer
A magnetometer is a measuring instrument used to measure the strength or direction of a magnetic field either produced in the laboratory or existing in nature...

/acoustic
Acoustic signature
Acoustic signature is used to describe a combination of acoustic emissions of ships and submarines.-Contributing factors:The acoustic signature is made up of a number of individual elements...

 fuze on a sea mine, spring-loaded grenade
Grenade
A grenade is a small explosive device that is projected a safe distance away by its user. Soldiers called grenadiers specialize in the use of grenades. The term hand grenade refers any grenade designed to be hand thrown. Grenade Launchers are firearms designed to fire explosive projectile grenades...

 fuze, pencil detonator
Pencil detonator
A pencil detonator or time pencil is a time fuze designed to be connected to a detonator or short length of safety fuse. They are about the same size and shape as a pencil, hence the name. They were introduced during World War II.- No. 10 delay switch :...

 or anti-handling device
Anti-handling device
An anti-handling device is an attachment to or integral part of a landmine or other munition e.g. some fuze types found in air-dropped bombs such as the M83, cluster bombs and sea mines. It is specifically designed to prevent tampering. When the protected device is disturbed it detonates, killing...

.

History

The simplest form of fuse is the burning fuse, believed to date back to the 10th century and originating in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, this simple fuse consisted of lightweight paper filled with loose gunpowder, and served as a means of delaying ignition in fireworks. This simple form of burning fuse can still be found today in many modern pyrotechnics
Fireworks
Fireworks are a class of explosive pyrotechnic devices used for aesthetic and entertainment purposes. The most common use of a firework is as part of a fireworks display. A fireworks event is a display of the effects produced by firework devices...

. A version of this simple fuse is called visco fuse
Visco fuse
A visco fuse is a higher quality fuse used for consumer fireworks. It is most commonly colored green or red, and is found as a twisted, coated strand. It is also used to create delays in the firing of multiple firework displays.- Description :...

, and consists of the burning core coated with wax or lacquer for durability and water resistance. The commercial and military version of a burning fuse referred to as safety fuse
Safety fuse
The safety fuse is a type of fuse invented and patented by William Bickford in 1831. Originally it consisted of a "tube" of gunpowder surrounded by a water-proofed varnished jute "rope". It replaced earlier and less reliable methods of igniting gunpowder blasting charges which had caused many...

 (invented by William Bickford) is a textile tube filled with combustible material and wrapped to prevent external exposure of the burning core. Safety fuses are used to initiate the detonation of explosives through the use of a blasting cap
Blasting cap
A blasting cap is a small sensitive primary explosive device generally used to detonate a larger, more powerful and less sensitive secondary explosive such as TNT, dynamite, or plastic explosive....

.

Fuses

Modern day safety fuses are often used in mining
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

 and military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 operations, to provide a time-delay before ignition, and they more often than not are used to initiate an explosive detonator
Detonator
A detonator is a device used to trigger an explosive device. Detonators can be chemically, mechanically, or electrically initiated, the latter two being the most common....

, thereby starting an explosive chain reaction to detonate a larger more stable main charge. Safety fuses are typically colored black (military) or fluorescent orange (commercial) to distinguish them from detonating cord
Detonating cord
Detonating cord is a thin, flexible plastic tube filled with PETN . With the PETN exploding at a rate of approximately 4 miles per second, any common length of det cord appears to explode instantaneously...

s such as Primacord
Primacord
Primacord is a registered trademark of detonating cord used in blasting, originally manufactured by the Ensign-Bickford Company. Ensign Bickford sold the trademark to Dyno Nobel Inc in 2003 and it is now manufactured in Graham, Kentucky...

, which are brightly colored or transparent.

Usage

Fuses are found in fireworks, model cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

s, matchlock
Matchlock
The matchlock was the first mechanism, or "lock" invented to facilitate the firing of a hand-held firearm. This design removed the need to lower by hand a lit match into the weapon's flash pan and made it possible to have both hands free to keep a firm grip on the weapon at the moment of firing,...

 firearms, some improvised explosive device
Improvised explosive device
An improvised explosive device , also known as a roadside bomb, is a homemade bomb constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action...

s and many forms of pyrotechnics.

Burning fuses

  • A slow match
    Slow match
    Slow match or match cord is the very slow burning cord or twine fuse used by early gunpowder musketeers, artillerymen, and soldiers to ignite matchlock muskets, cannons, and petards...

     is a very slow-burning fuse consisting of a hemp
    Hemp
    Hemp is mostly used as a name for low tetrahydrocannabinol strains of the plant Cannabis sativa, of fiber and/or oilseed varieties. In modern times, hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food and fuel with modest...

     or cotton
    Cotton
    Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

     rope saturated with an oxidizer such as potassium nitrate
    Potassium nitrate
    Potassium nitrate is a chemical compound with the formula KNO3. It is an ionic salt of potassium ions K+ and nitrate ions NO3−.It occurs as a mineral niter and is a natural solid source of nitrogen. Its common names include saltpetre , from medieval Latin sal petræ: "stone salt" or possibly "Salt...

    . Slow matches are used as a source of fire for manually lighting other devices, such as matchlock
    Matchlock
    The matchlock was the first mechanism, or "lock" invented to facilitate the firing of a hand-held firearm. This design removed the need to lower by hand a lit match into the weapon's flash pan and made it possible to have both hands free to keep a firm grip on the weapon at the moment of firing,...

     guns, or fuses on black powder cannons. Before percussion caps, slow matches were most suitable for use around black powder weapons because it could be roughly handled without going out, and only presented a small glowing tip instead of a large flame that risked igniting powder supplies nearby.
  • Today's punks
    Punk (fireworks)
    A punk is a smoldering stick used for lighting firework fuses. It is safer than a match or a lighter because it can be used from a greater distance and does not use an open flame. Punks often resemble sticks of incense. They are made of bamboo and a brown coating of dried manure or compressed sawdust...

     (wood splints covered with ground plant pith or dung and then saturated with nitrate) used for lighting consumer fireworks are a type of slow match.
  • A black match
    Black match
    In pyrotechnics, black match is a type of crude fuse, constructed of cotton string fibers intimately coated with a dried black powder slurry....

     is a type of fuse consisting of cotton string coated with a dried slurry of black powder and glue. This acts as a simple pass-fire, and was used to fire ancient cannons. They are used today in fireworks construction.
  • A quick match or piped match is a type of black powder fuse that burns very quickly, some hundreds of feet per second. They consist of black matche covered with a loose paper wrap (pipe). When lit, the flame propagates quickly down the paper pipe from the hot gases produced by the burning powder. Quick matches are used in professional fireworks displays to pass fire nearly instantly between devices that must be physically separated while firing simultaneously, such as a finale rack. Devices which should fire in sequence can be branched from a single master fuse, consisting of quick match spliced onto Visco fuses of various length for time delays.
  • A visco fuse
    Visco fuse
    A visco fuse is a higher quality fuse used for consumer fireworks. It is most commonly colored green or red, and is found as a twisted, coated strand. It is also used to create delays in the firing of multiple firework displays.- Description :...

     has a core of black powder
    Gunpowder
    Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

     with one or more textile overwraps. The outer layers may be coated with wax or nitrocellulose lacquer
    Lacquer
    In a general sense, lacquer is a somewhat imprecise term for a clear or coloured varnish that dries by solvent evaporation and often a curing process as well that produces a hard, durable finish, in any sheen level from ultra matte to high gloss and that can be further polished as required...

     for water resistance. These fuses are widely used in modern pyrotechnics
    Pyrotechnics
    Pyrotechnics is the science of using materials capable of undergoing self-contained and self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions for the production of heat, light, gas, smoke and/or sound...

     because they burn at a uniform rate, with an easily visible external flame. Depending on their outer treatment, visco fuses are water resistant and the better quality can burn reliably underwater once lit, since the black powder core provides both its own fuel and oxidant.
  • A safety fuse
    Safety fuse
    The safety fuse is a type of fuse invented and patented by William Bickford in 1831. Originally it consisted of a "tube" of gunpowder surrounded by a water-proofed varnished jute "rope". It replaced earlier and less reliable methods of igniting gunpowder blasting charges which had caused many...

     consists of a black powder
    Gunpowder
    Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

     core in a textile tube, covered with asphalt
    Asphalt
    Asphalt or , also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch...

    um or other waterproofing agent, and having an outer wrapper of tough textile or plastic. They are made in a standard diameter designed to be crimped into blasting cap
    Blasting cap
    A blasting cap is a small sensitive primary explosive device generally used to detonate a larger, more powerful and less sensitive secondary explosive such as TNT, dynamite, or plastic explosive....

    s. Once ignited, safety fuses will burn underwater, and have no external flame that might ignite methane or other fuels such as might be found in mines or other industrial environments. Safety fuses are manufactured with specified burn times per 30 cm, e.g. 60 seconds, which means that a length of fuse 30 cm long will take 60 seconds to burn. Manufacturers warn that although every effort is made to ensure uniform burn times, safety fuses are subject to variation depending on conditions and should be used with adequate safety measures in place.
  • An Igniter Safety Fuse Electric (ISFE)
    Electric match
    An electric match is a device that uses an externally applied electric current to ignite a combustible compound.-Use:Electric matches can be used in any application where source of heat is needed at a precisely controlled point in time, typically to ignite a propellant or explosive...

     lights a main fuse or device when activated by an electrical current. They typically consist of a pair of wires leading to a thin resistance wire that heats when current is applied. The resistance wire is covered by a bit of pyrotechnic composition that ignites from the wire heating, providing enough fire to reliably ignite the main fuse via a mechanical connection, or the device directly. Estes
    Estes Industries
    Estes Industries is a company based in Penrose, Colorado, USA that designs and builds model rocket and model aircraft engines and kits. They were the best known model rocket company during the "golden age of rocketry" in the 1970s and early 1980s, competing primarily with Centuri Engineering and a...

     model rocket
    Model rocket
    A model rocket is a small rocket that is commonly advertised as being able to be launched by anybody, to, in general, low altitudes and recovered by a variety of means....

     motors are lit by a type of electric match. Large fireworks displays are launched with complex timing sequences using a computer that energizes electric matches connected to the individual device fuses.
  • A flying fish fuse (bumblebees) is an unusual type of component for fireworks. It is made like Visco fuse, but contains a metallic spark composition or other effect instead of black powder. Flying fish can thus perform as a main effect instead of just an initiator. For example, simply lighting a short piece of flying fish on the ground makes it fly through the air, seeming to swim in random directions, while emitting sparks and noise. A aerial shell loaded with many such pieces results in a beautiful myriad of pieces flying and sparking high in the air.
  • A spolette is a delay fuse consisting of a hollow wooden dowel or a paper tube rammed full of black powder. A spolette is glued into the wall of a fireworks shell and ignited by the lift charge that launches the shell into the air. The spolette, after a delay that allows the shell to reach its top of trajectory, ignites the shell's main effect(s). The tough wood construction ensures that the fuse burns reliably despite the explosive force and acceleration of the launch.
  • The saucisson
    Saucisson
    In early military engineering, a saucisson was a primitive type of fuse, consisting of a long tube or hose of cloth or leather, typically about an inch and half in diameter , damp-proofed with pitch and filled with black powder. It was normally laid in a protective wooden trough, and ignited by...

     was an early form of fuse.

See also

  • Anti-handling device
    Anti-handling device
    An anti-handling device is an attachment to or integral part of a landmine or other munition e.g. some fuze types found in air-dropped bombs such as the M83, cluster bombs and sea mines. It is specifically designed to prevent tampering. When the protected device is disturbed it detonates, killing...

  • Artillery fuze
    Artillery fuze
    An artillery fuze or artillery fuse is the type of munition fuze used with artillery munitions, typically projectiles fired by guns , howitzers and mortars. A fuze is a device that initiates an explosive function in a munition, most commonly causing it to detonate or release its contents, when its...

  • Black match
    Black match
    In pyrotechnics, black match is a type of crude fuse, constructed of cotton string fibers intimately coated with a dried black powder slurry....

  • Contact fuse
    Contact fuse
    A contact fuze, percussion fuze or direct-action fuze is the fuze that is placed in the nose of a bomb or shell so that it will detonate on contact with a hard surface....

  • Percussion cap
    Percussion cap
    The percussion cap, introduced around 1830, was the crucial invention that enabled muzzleloading firearms to fire reliably in any weather.Before this development, firearms used flintlock ignition systems which produced flint-on-steel sparks to ignite a pan of priming powder and thereby fire the...

  • Proximity fuze
    Proximity fuze
    A proximity fuze is a fuze that is designed to detonate an explosive device automatically when the distance to target becomes smaller than a predetermined value or when the target passes through a given plane...

  • Punk (fireworks)
    Punk (fireworks)
    A punk is a smoldering stick used for lighting firework fuses. It is safer than a match or a lighter because it can be used from a greater distance and does not use an open flame. Punks often resemble sticks of incense. They are made of bamboo and a brown coating of dried manure or compressed sawdust...

  • Safety fuse
    Safety fuse
    The safety fuse is a type of fuse invented and patented by William Bickford in 1831. Originally it consisted of a "tube" of gunpowder surrounded by a water-proofed varnished jute "rope". It replaced earlier and less reliable methods of igniting gunpowder blasting charges which had caused many...

  • Slow match
    Slow match
    Slow match or match cord is the very slow burning cord or twine fuse used by early gunpowder musketeers, artillerymen, and soldiers to ignite matchlock muskets, cannons, and petards...

  • Thermalite
    Thermalite
    Thermalite a specific type of fuse used in pyrotechnic applications.This fuse is used in high-power model rocketry as a means of simultaneously igniting multiple "clustered" rocket motors...

  • Time bomb
    Time bomb
    A time bomb is a bomb whose detonation is triggered by a timer. The use time bombs has been for various purposes ranging from insurance fraud to warfare to assassination; however, the most common use has been for politically-motivated terrorism.-Construction:The explosive charge is the main...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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