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Letter from Linus Pauling to John S. Burlew. September 3, 1942.
Pauling writes to request information from Burlew regarding the erosiveness of specific rocket propellants and to specifically inquire into the erosive characteristics of British Picrite powder as compared to an equivalent American FNH powder.


September 3, 1942

Dr. John S. Burlew

Geo-Physical Laboratory

Carnegie Institute of Washington

Washington, D.C.

Dear Dr. Burlew:

I have tried in various ways to find some documentary evidence for the statement that several people have made to me, that British Picrite powder, presumably Cordite N, is less erosive than the ballistically [sic] equivalent American FNH powder. I believe that you told me that a statement had been made to you by Professor Southwell of England, that RD Picrite is only one-half as erosive as American FNH. If you have made a notation in your diary regarding this conversation with Professor Southwell, would you please send me a letter about it, including also any details that you can give about the nature of the tests that were made. I should also be glad to have any references to the subject that you know about. I think that Dr. Hirschfelder is planning to look through the British reports for this purpose; would you please check with him on this point.

I wish also to request you to prepare and submit to me a report in which you outline all of the information that you have about erosion as related primarily to the propellant, for use of our Ad Hoc Committee. The report should mention the nature of the observations or tests which have been made, and give references to sources. I request also that there be included in the report any information which you can give regarding the nature of the propellants which have been used to far in high-velocity guns, including both constant-bore guns and tapered-bore guns, or guns with adapters.

I shall be in Pittsburgh, at 4800 Forbes Street, until September 8, and in Washington thereafter. If you report could be ready a day or so before our meeting on September 12, I should be very glad to see it. My headquarters in Washington will be at 1530 P Street, Northwest.

Sincerely yours,

Linus Pauling


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