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(organic chemistry)
CH3NO2 A liquid nitroparaffin compound; oily and colorless; boils at 101°C; used as a monopropellant for rockets, in chemical synthesis, and as an industrial solvent for cellulosics, resins, waxes, fats, and dyestuffs.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



CH3NO2, the simplest aliphatic nitro compound; a colorless liquid with an odor of bitter almonds. Boiling point, 101.2°C; density, 1.138 g/cm3 (20°C).

Nitromethane is soluble in water and is miscible with ordinary organic solvents (except paraffins); it forms an azeotrope with water (boiling point, 83.6°C; 76.4 percent nitromethane). It condenses readily with aldehydes, ketones, and ethylene oxide. For example, the reaction with formaldehyde is


In industry, nitromethane is usually produced by degradative nitration of propane. It is used mainly as a solvent (for example, for cellulose ester varnishes and vinyl polymers), for the extraction of aromatic hydrocarbons, and in the production of chloropicrin and a number of explosives. Nitromethane is poisonous; its maximum permissible concentration in the air in working areas is 0.01 percent.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.