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Report - Nobel's Explosives. Ardeer - Sept. 2009

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by BenCooper, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. BenCooper

    BenCooper Mr Boombastic
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    Another visit back to the enormous Ardeer site, this time to have a look around the wooded area that contained the gunpowder works. First, though, I passed through the nitroglycerin section - it's a bizarre landscape of steep hills, tunnels, berms and these corrugated-iron blast walls:

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    Nitroglycerin was transported along open lead-lined troughs - it just ran down under gravity as pumping it would be a really bad idea. In the above picture you can see the remains of a bridge which carried the NG over a train line - and some of the wooden trough supports are still in place:

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    Right, onto the blackpowder works, and an incorporating mill (I think):

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    Next, in a very heavy-duty bunker with camouflage netting still in place, a huge hydraulic press, probably used for pressing gunpowder cake before incorporation.

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    Onto a powder magazine - there used to be dozens of these, each inside it's own berm, but the lightly-built buildings have mostly gone leaving only the ring of soil. This one, unusually, was still intact, and even had the markings on the floor where boxes were stacked.

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    Next, the testing station, and the detonator labs - there were shoes scattered everywhere. In explosive factories, workers wore rubber or leather overshoes to prevent sparks.

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    Onto the ballistic mortars - I've photographed these before, but I can never get enough of these:

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    A new find, though, crammed in the back of a drawer - a slide-rule for working out the power of an explosive from the angle of the ballistic mortar.

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    In one room of the labs is box after box of glass plates - most are not that interesting (high-speed images of explosions) but some are very cool - with a portable lightbox I went through every box. A few examples:

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    Nearby, a detonator and a set of warning flags.

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    Then a long walk northwards to investigate some crescent-shaped buildings on the satellite view - they turn out to be test-firing cells. The first one is for testing rocket motors.

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    The next one, I think, was for testing quarrying charges - this was a plastic tip of a charge.

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    Finally onto a building I'm not sure about - it's got a blast wall on three sides but the fourth is lightly built, it has what could be presses in it, driven by belts in a narrow chamber behind the wall.

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    Loads more from Ardeer in my Flickr set...
     

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