Facts for Writers

Here are some interesting facts that writers may find helpful.  These facts came from a couple of my Occupational Safety and Health classes:

Eugene Meyer, Chemistry of Hazardous Materials:

  • “On average, the detonation velocity of an explosive is a staggering four miles per second.”
  •  Definition of “Brisance”: the shattering power of an explosive substance.
  •  The shock wave and brisance is what causes eardrums to rupture and lungs to collapse when a person is in proximity of an explosion.

                        (Lung collapse and internal organ damage are things that are frequently overlooked by writers in explosion scenes.)

  •  Detonation of nitroglycerin:  “Heated gases expand so rapidly they can occupy approximately 10,000 times their initial volume”
  •  “The EPA has estimated that approximately 25% of the methane emitted into the air is linked to the belching of livestock” 
  • “Methane constitutes 10-15% of the gases linked to global warming”

John Timbrell, Introduction to Toxicology:

“Natural” peanut butter is often made from peanuts not sprayed with a chemical that prevents mold.  As a result of this ‘natural’ process, aflatoxin may infect the peanuts and be passed on through peanut butter.  Aflatoxin B1 is a very potent liver carcinogen and hepatotoxin; a level of 1 ppb [part per billion] in the diet may be sufficient to cause liver tumors.


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