When it comes to explosives, Dynamite I think is the most popular explosive. It became very popular in the late 1800's as an alternative to gunpowder. Though many people confuse Dynamite with TNT, these are two different kinds of explosives. Alfred Nobel the inventor of Dynamite originally called it "Nobel's Blasting Powder". The company that produced the largest amount of Dynamite was De Beers in South Africa. It was the most used explosive in South Africa owing to the large gold deposit mines here. But dynamite also took a lot of lives during these mining explosions and finally the dynamite companies in these parts moved on to manufacturing more safer explosives from ammonium nitrate.
Dynamite was invented by Alfred Nobel in 1866 and patented the process in 1867. "Dynamite" is derived from the Greek word, "dynamis" meaning "power".
Ascano Sobrero is credited with inventing nitroglycerine in 1846. Nitroglycerin is a colorless and extremely reactive substance. It is highly unstable and explodes. So many experiments were being done to make nitroglycerin stable. It is during this time that Alfred Nobel came up with dynamite which was much more stable option than Nitroglycerin. Nobel made a lot of money from his invention. The world wars especially increased its demand.
What is Dynamite?
Dynamite is nothing but an absorbing material like sawdust or diatomaceous earth absorbed in nitroglycerin which makes it more stable. An explosive heats up gases in it very fast and these gases expand and the air surrounding it so rapidly that there is an increase in pressure and it causes an explosion.
Nitroglycerine (1,2,3-trinitropropane) is made by treating glycerol with a mixture of sulphuric and nitric acid. Dynamite is made by mixing this nitroglycerin with kieselguhr (diatomaceous earth) which stabilized nitroglycerine and this is what reduced the explosivity of dynamite.This is called Kieselghur dynamite. Once the stablilty was acheived, dynamite had an advantage over nitroglycerine as it could be transported safely and handled without exploding.
Kieselghur dynamite has some disadvantages. When dynamite is placed in water, nitroglycerin can be displaced. It freezes easily and thawing it would be hazardous.