saltpeter or saltpetre: see potassium nitrate.
or nitre also spelled saltpeter or niter

Transparent, colourless, or white powder or crystals of potassium nitrate (KNO3), found native in deposits. It is a strong oxidizing agent (see oxidation-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.

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Saltpeter or saltpetre may refer to:

  • Potassium nitrate, the critical oxidizing component of gun powder
  • Sodium nitrate ("Chile saltpetre"), an ingredient in fertilizers, explosives and solid rocket propellants
  • The Saltpeter War (1879-1884) between Chile, Peru and Bolivia

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