Talk:Proximity fuze

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 Definition Fuze designed to detonate an explosive device automatically when the distance to target becomes smaller than a predetermined value. [d] [e]
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Firefox spell check says fuse, not fuze. A google search confirms this. Shouldn't we move? PS: Checking Wikipedia I see that fuze is correct for a more sophisticated fuse. Maybe a remark about the spelling is in order? --Paul Wormer 14:53, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

No, a fuze and a fuse are different things, although fuse is generally a subset of fuze. I should write something about this--this is a warmup. Briefly, a fuze is any overall system that controls detonation, and may be electronic (as here), mechanical, or pyrotechnic. Fuses are most commonly of cloth impregnated with chemicals to sustain burning and control the propagation rate of the flame. In common usage, a detonator is synonymous with fuze, but it is more proper to say that the fuze, or fuzing system, triggers one or more detonators. For a fission device, forming the required symmetrical compression wave requires tens or even hundreds of essentially simultaneous detonation initiation; it is not widely understood that many of the most critical nuclear weapon technologies actually are precision techniques for manipulating the initiation and shock wave propagation of chemical explosives.
Things get a little blurry in pre-20th century practice. Gunners of manual cannon would hold a length of burning "slow match" or "slow fuse" (not at the burning end), and, when it came time to fire the piece, would apply the burning part either to gunpowder or "fast fuse" in the touchhole of the gun, which would then carry flame to the main propellant charge.
In a modern hand grenade, when the safety ring is pulled, it releases a spring-loaded mechanical lever in the fuze assembly, which, when free to move, strikes a friction-sensitive surface that causes an internal burning fus to light and then trigger the actual explosive detonator. --Howard C. Berkowitz 15:59, 3 February 2010 (UTC)