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Definition of DYNAMITE
: an explosive that is made of nitroglycerin absorbed in a porous material and that often contains ammonium nitrate or cellulose nitrate; also: an explosive (as a mixture of ammonium nitrate and nitrocellulose) that contains no nitroglycerin
: one that has a powerful effect <an actress who's dynamite at the box office>; also: something that has great potential to cause trouble or conflict <an issue regarded as political dynamite>
Blasting explosive, patented in 1867 by Alfred P. Nobel. Dynamite is based on nitroglycerin but is much safer to handle than nitroglycerin alone. By mixing the nitroglycerin with kieselguhr, a porous silica-containing earth, in proportions that left an essentially dry and granular material, Nobel produced a solid that was resistant to shock but readily explodable by heat or sudden impact. Later, wood pulp was substituted as the absorbent, and sodium nitrate was added as an oxidizing agent to increase the strength of the explosive.