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Transparent, colourless, or white powder or crystals of potassiumnitrate (KNO), found native in deposits. It is a strong oxidizing agent (seeoxidation-reduction), used in fireworks, explosives, matches, fertilizers, glassmaking, steel tempering, and food curing; as a reagent; and as an oxidizer in solid rocket propellants. The term is also used for sodium nitrate (Chile saltpetre) and calcium nitrate (lime saltpetre), both of which are used in the nitric acid industry and as fertilizers, and for ammonium nitrate (Norway saltpetre), a high explosive and fertilizer.
Variants of SALTPETRE
saltpetre or nitre also spelled saltpeter or niter
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on saltpetre, visit Britannica.com.