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Letter from Linus Pauling to Robert W. Cairns. September 3, 1942.
Pauling writes to request information from Cairns concerning the characteristics of
nitrocellulose propellants developed in recent years by the Hercules Powder Company.
September 3, 1942
Dr. R.W. Cairns
Hercules Powder Company
Dear Dr. Cairns:
At the meeting of our Ad Hoc Committee in Washington on August 28, you and Mr.
Alexander made some statements about developmental work which the Hercules Powder
Company have done during the past few years on propellants with a nitrocellulose or
a nitrocellulose-nitroglycerine binder and solid explosive fillers, primarily for
use in small arms. I should be very glad to have, for the consideration for the Committee,
a statement from you about this work. This statement should be as explicit as you
can make it, with respect to the nature of the solid explosives which were tried,
and to the characteristics of the propellants and the nature of the tests which were
made on them. The information would be useful to the Committee in connection with
the question of whether or not work along these lines should be continued, especially
for the development of a propellant for use in hyper-velocity guns of larger calibers.
I should be pleased if it were possible for me to see a copy of this report a
day or so before the meeting of the Committee on September 12. I shall be at 4800
Forbes Street, Pittsburgh, until September 8, and thereafter at 1530 P Street, Washington.
CC: Mr. H.B. Alexander
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