Definition of fulminate of mercury in US English:

fulminate of mercury


  • A white or grayish crystalline powder that when dry is extremely volatile when exposed to heat or pressure and is used as an explosive.

    • ‘The percussion cap was made possible by the discovery of a chemical compound called mercuric fulminate or fulminate of mercury.’
    • ‘He was the only chemist west of the Mississippi who knew how to make fulminate of mercury, and he personally prepared all that was produced from the Texas Military Board.’
    • ‘When the hammer of the gun crushes the cap, the fulminate of mercury is activated, causing a spark.’
    • ‘The result is that the mercury is driven off in a vapor, destroying the amalgam, and in a nitrogen atmosphere, also can form fulminate of mercury.’
    • ‘This powder is fulminate of mercury mixed with potash, the exact substance contained in detonation chambers and also in percussion caps.’
    • ‘This electrical current then flowed to platinum fuse wire in a fulminate of mercury solution which detonated the mine.’
    • ‘The explosive mixture to be packed inside was fulminate of mercury, a highly volatile sandy-coloured crystalline powder substance.’
    • ‘The connections would require to be severely tested, and the charge would be of dynamite or lithofracteur, fired by fulminate of mercury.’
    • ‘A small amount of fulminate of mercury in a tiny metal cap can be used to ignite gunpowder or other explosive.’
    • ‘A separate copper percussion cap containing half a grain of fulminate of mercury was the firing mechanism that set off the powder and fired the round.’
    • ‘Primers that were made without fulminate of mercury eliminated this problem.’
    • ‘However, fulminate of mercury was in use at the time and so may be contained in some of the detonators and fuses.’
    • ‘When the cap is struck by the hammer, the flames from the exploding fulminate of mercury go down the tube, into the gun barrel, and ignite the powder inside the barrel.’
    • ‘The cap composition was a mixture of fulminate of mercury with potassium chlorate and powdered glass.’
    • ‘Stabilized nitroglycerine was developed into dynamite by Alfred Nobel, who combined this secondary high explosive with his detonator utilizing fulminate of mercury - the primary explosive - to produce a highly effective partnership.’