products of the replacement of hydrogen atoms in the toluene ring, C6H5CH3, by nitro groups, —NO2. The nitrotoluenes that are of commercial significance are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Properties of commercial nitrotoluenes
 Melting pointC)Boiling pointC)Density (g/cm3)
*(α) stable form; (β) unstable form **Temperature (°C)
o-Nitrotoluene........-9.27 (β)*221.71.162 (19)**
 -3.17 (α)  
m-Nitrotoluene .......16.1232.61.157 (20)
p-Nitrotoluene........51.6–52.1237.71.123 (55)
2,4-Dinitrotoluene......69.5–70.51.521 (15)
2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene …80.8Explodes at 280°C1.55–1.60

Mononitrotoluenes are produced in the form of a mixture of isomers (56 percent ortho-, 38 percent meta-, and 4 percent para-) by nitration of toluene with a nitrating mixture; o-nitrotoluene and m-nitrotoluene are light-yellow liquids, whereas the para- isomer is a colorless crystalline compound. Mononitrotoluenes are used in the production of toluidines, which are intermediates in the production of azo and sulfur dyes.

Dinitrotoluene is produced mainly by nitration of an industrial mixture of mononitrotoluenes. The product is a yellow, crystalline substance with a solidification point of 50°–54°C; it contains mostly 2,4-dinitrotoluene. The dinitrotoluene product has explosive properties and is used to produce diisocyanates, which are initial materials in the production of polyurethanes; 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene is a high explosive.

Nitrotoluenes are poisonous. For example, the maximum permissible concentration of 2,4-dinitrotoluene in the air in work areas is 1 mg/m3.


Orlova, E. Iu. Khimiia i tekhnologiia brizantnykh vzryvchatykh veshchestv, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1973.
Vorozhtsov, N. N. Osnovy sinteza promezhutochnykh produktov i krasitelei, 4th ed. Moscow, 1955.
References in periodicals archive ?
21] applied UV-assisted Fenton oxidation to degrade nitrotoluenes in water.
Nitrotoluene destruction by UV-catalyzed Fenton reaction.
lower custom manufacturing sales, higher CMP development costs and lower sales of nitrotoluenes and derivatives.
3] could be detected, they obtained nitrotoluene yields upto 80 % with a product distribution of o, m, p at 56, 4, 40.
Past literature on product distribution in toluene nitration has shown that the relative reactivity of o, m, p isomers of nitrotoluene is proportional to the electron availability at the active sites of the catalyst and the relative probability of their collision with a nitronium ion (Haouas et al.