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C(NO2)4, a colorless, mobile liquid with a sharp odor of nitrogen oxides.
Tetranitromethane has a pour point of 14.2°C, a boiling point of 125.78°C (with slight decomposition), and a density of 1.64 g/cm3. It is insoluble in water and sulfuric acid but soluble in nitric acid. Upon reaction with an alkali in an alcohol medium, it forms salts of nitroform and is capable of nitrating aromatic and aliphatic compounds containing a labile hydrogen atom. Tetranitromethane is a weak, low-sensitivity brisant explosive. Its heat of explosion is 1,915 kilojoules per kg, or 457 kcal/kg, and its rate of detonation in a steel tube is 6,400 m/sec. It is a vigorous oxidizing agent; when mixed with organic compounds, it forms powerful, highly sensitive explosive mixtures that are dangerous in handling.
Tetranitromethane is obtained by the destructive nitration of acetylene in a medium of concentrated nitric acid, with the addition of Hg(NO3)2. It is used as an oxidizing agent in liquid explosive mixtures and also as a starting material for the production of nitroform.
REFERENCEOrlova, E. Iu. Khimiia i tekhnologiia brizantnykh vzryvchatykh veshchestv, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1973.
V. L. ZBARSKII