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trinitromethane, HC(NO2)3, a readily congealing liquid with a characteristic odor. Melting point, 22°–23°C; boiling point, 45°-47°C (at 1.92 kilonewtons per sq m, or 22 mm of mercury); density, 1.479 g/cm3 (20°C).
Nitroform is readily soluble in water and organic solvents. It decomposes during storage and explodes upon impact, detonation, or rapid heating. It is a strong acid, with a dissociation constant of 6.8 × 10-1 at 20°C; it forms salts with metals and organic bases—for example, KC(NO2)3. It is produced by the action of concentrated nitric acid on acetylene (in the presence of mercury nitrate) or from tetranitromethane.
Nitroform is used in the preparation of nitro compounds under laboratory conditions.