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napalm

napalm (nā´päm), incendiary material developed during World War II by Harvard scientists cooperating with the U.S. army and used in bombs and flame throwers. Napalm is based on a mixture of gasoline, sometimes mixed with other petroleum fuels, and a thickening agent. The thickener, to which the term napalm was originally applied, turns the mixture into a thick jelly that flows under pressure, as when shot from a flame thrower, and sticks to a target as it burns. One of the first thickeners used was an aluminum soap (a salt of aluminum and certain fatty acids). Later thickeners have been based on polystyrene and similar polymers.

See R. M. Neer, Napalm: An American Biography (2013).

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napalm

napalm (naphthalene palmitate) Gelatinous petroleum used to make bombs and as fuel for flame-throwers. It was developed during World War II, and widely used by US forces in Vietnam. When napalm hits its target, it spreads out, clinging to and burning everything it touches.

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napalm

na·palm / ˈnāpä(l)m/ • n. a highly flammable sticky jelly used in incendiary bombs and flamethrowers, consisting of gasoline thickened with special soaps. • v. [tr.] attack with bombs containing napalm.

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napalm

napalm a highly flammable sticky jelly used in incendiary bombs and flame-throwers, consisting of petrol thickened with special soaps; the use of napalm is associated particularly with the Vietnam War.

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napalm

napalm jellied petrol. XX. f. initial sylls. of NAPHTHA and PALMITIC.

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napalm

napalmalarm, arm, Bairam, balm, barm, becalm, calm, charm, embalm, farm, forearm, Guam, harm, imam, ma'am, malm, Montcalm, Notre-Dame, palm, psalm, qualm, salaam, smarm •yardarm • sidearm • gendarme •wind farm • Islam • schoolmarm •tonearm • napalm • firearm •underarm • short-arm

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