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Ministry of Supply Factory, Dalbeattie -
 View of Nitration Hills, Unit 2 (Edingham)

Ministry of Supply Factory, Dalbeattie
World War II Cordite Works

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Glycerine, Vaseline and Soda :

Key Points :-

  • Glycerine required for making Nitroglycerine.
  • Soda (Sodium Carbonate) required for cleaning acid contaminants from Nitroglycerine.
  • Vaseline blended with Cordite Paste to improve performance.
  • Delivery at Goods Yard, to a general-purpose unloading and storage building.
  • Glycerine delivered in drums, kept in heated tanks near Goods Yard and pumped to NG Hills.
  • Soda probably mixed according to need, probably at Charge House. Probably stored dry near Goods Yard.
  • Vaseline again probably delivered in drums. Melted before addition.
  • Buildings used in process inferred but confirmation needed.
  • .


Glycerine, Vaseline and Soda Delivery and Storage ...

Glycerine was needed for its conversion into the explosive Nitroglycerine, Soda (Sodium Carbonate) was required to neutralise waste acid from the Nitroglycerine to render it stable enough to use. Vaseline formed a part of the Cordite MD Dough, both assisting with its pressing into 'cords' and lubricating and cooling gun barrels during firing. These three very essential substances are less glamorous than the Acids, Guncotton and Acetone, but as important to the process of making cordite.

Nicholson provides a few details about the Glycerine, less about the Soda and nothing at all about the Vaseline. It is fortunate that Wayne Cocroft's excellent online article of Chilworth .

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© 2006 Richard Edkins, Dalbeattie Internet.