TNT, Trinitrotoluene, is a chemical explosive and also a part of many explosive mixtures.
Trinitrotoluene (TNT) is a chemical compound that is a yellow-coloured solid is a reagent (reactant) in chemistry but is best known as a useful explosive material with convenient handling properties. The explosive yield of TNT is considered the standard measure of strength of bombs and other explosives. In chemistry, TNT is used to generate charge transfer salts.
It is a common misconception that TNT and dynamite are the same, or that dynamite contains TNT. In fact, whereas TNT is a specific chemical compound, dynamite is an absorbent mixture soaked in nitroglycerin that is compressed into a cylindrical shape and wrapped in paper.
TNT is synthesized in a two-step process. First, toluene is nitrated with a mixture of sulfuric and nitric acid to produce mono- and dinitrotoluene. Next, the mixture of mono- and dinitrotoluene is further nitrated with a mixture of nitric acid and oleum, a more potent nitration recipe. The waste acid from this second step can be recycled for use in the first.
TNT is one of the most commonly used explosives for military and industrial applications. It is valued because of its insensitivity to shock and friction, which reduces the risk of unexpected detonations. TNT melts at 80 °C (180 °F), far below the temperature at which it will spontaneously detonate, allowing it to be poured as well as safely combined with other explosives. TNT neither absorbs nor dissolves in water, which allows it to be used effectively in wet environments.
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