Shimose powder

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Shimose powder (下瀬火薬?, Shimose kayaku) was a type of explosive shell filling developed by the Japanese naval engineer Shimose Masachika (1860–1911).

Shimose was born in Hiroshima Prefecture and was a graduate of Tokyo Imperial University as one of Japan’s earliest holders of a doctorate in engineering. In 1887 he was hired by the Imperial Japanese Navy as a chemical engineer, and in 1899 was appointed head of a research unit to develop a more powerful type of gunpowder for use by naval artillery.[1]

Shimose developed a new explosive based on a form of picric acid used by France as melinite and by Britain as lyddite. The new explosive was more stable than picric acid, and generated more heat and blast power than any other explosive available at the time.[1] It also does not produce much smoke, which was an important advantage over normal gunpowder in combat. Shimose powder was adopted by the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1893, not only for naval artillery, but also for naval mines, depth charges and torpedo warheads. It played an important role in the Japanese victory in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 to 1905.[2]


  1. ^ a b Kowner, Rotem (2006). Historical Dictionary of the Russo-Japanese War. ISBN 0-8108-4927-5: The Scarecrow Press.  p. 353.
  2. ^ "Shimose, Masachika". National Diet Library, Japan. Retrieved 2008-10-01.