Fuse (explosives)

This article is about simple fuses for detonating explosives. For military munitions fuzes, see Fuze.
A smoke bomb with a lit fuse

In an explosive, pyrotechnic device, or military munition, a fuse (or fuze) 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,[1] describes a simple pyrotechnic initiating device, like the cord on a firecracker whereas the term fuze[2][3][4] is sometimes used when referring to a more sophisticated ignition device incorporating mechanical and/or electronic components, such as a proximity fuze for an M107 artillery shell, magnetic or acoustic fuze on a sea mine, spring-loaded grenade fuze,[5][6][7] pencil detonator, or anti-handling device.[8]


A burning length of fuse

The simplest form of fuse is the burning fuse, believed to date back to the 10th century and originating in China. 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 fireworks. A version of this simple fuse is called visco fuse, 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 (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.


Modern day safety fuses are often used in mining and military operations, to provide a time-delay before ignition, and they more often than not are used to initiate an explosive detonator, thereby starting an explosive chain reaction to detonate a larger more stable main charge. Safety fuses are typically colored green or black (military) or fluorescent orange (commercial) to distinguish them from detonating cords such as Primacord, which are brightly colored or transparent.


Fuses are found in pyrotechnics, model cannons, matchlock firearms, some improvised explosive devices, and many forms of fireworks.

Burning fuses

See also


  1. Davis, Tenney L. (1943). The Chemistry of Powder and Explosives. I & II (reprint ed.). Hollywood, California: Angriff Press. p. 6. ISBN 0913022-00-4.
  2. "Junghans Feinwerktechnik - Modern Fuzes for Today's Armed Forces". Army Technology. 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  3. "Chapter 14 Fuzing". Fas.org. 2008-05-30. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  4. http://www.janes.com/extracts/extract/jmvl/del02063.html[]
  5. "Grenade fuze - Patent 4063514". Freepatentsonline.com. 1977-12-20. Retrieved 2013-09-14.
  6. US 3618522, Henderson, John E., "Dual Safety Grenade Fuze", published 1969-09-29, issued 1971-11-09, assigned to Hamilton Watch Company
  7. Ammunition Peculiar Equipment (APE) 1955 Grenade Fuze Tester MIL-STD-398 Test (PDF) (Report). U.S. Army Defense Ammunition Center and School. March 1996. ADA312253.
  9. DuPont Blaster's Handbook, Fifteenth Edition, Wilmington, Delaware, E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, Inc., 1969, pp 97-99
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 8/1/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.