Reactive Group Datasheet

Nitro, Nitroso, Nitrate, and Nitrite Compounds, Organic

Most materials in this group are technically of low flammability. However, they are often chemically unstable and subject, in widely varying degree, to explosive decomposition. As oxidizing agents, they are often used in combination with reducing agents in explosive mixtures. Or, as in the primary explosive nitroglycerine, the oxidizing and reducing behavior is present internally in the same molecule. Because many of these substances are extremely sensitive to shock, friction, and heat, they are mixed with unreactive material to make them less dangerous.
Materials in this group range from slight to strong oxidizing agents. If mixed with reducing agents, including hydrides, sulfides and nitrides, they may begin a vigorous reaction that culminates in a detonation. The aromatic nitro compounds may explode in the presence of a base such as sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide even in the presence of water or organic solvents. The explosive tendencies of aromatic nitro compounds are increased by the presence of multiple nitro groups. Nitroalkanes are milder oxidizing agents, but still react violently with reducing agents at higher temperatures and pressures. Nitroalkanes react with inorganic bases to form explosive salts. The presence of metal oxides increases the thermal sensitivity of nitroalkanes. Nitroalkanes with more than one nitro group are generally explosive. Azonitrates are extremely unstable and can decompose explosively. Nitromethane is somewhat soluble in water; the higher nitroalkanes are insoluble in water.
Many of the compounds in this group are extremely toxic. Chronic dermal and inhalation exposure causes hepatitis.
Other Characteristics
This group includes many subclasses, such as the metal nitrophenoxides, nitroalkanes, nitroalkenes, and nitroalkyl peroxonitrates. These substances can be generally described by the formula RNOx, the R being the organic portion of the molecule. Many are used in organic synthesis, but the biggest use of compounds in this group is in military and commercial explosives. Nitromethane is somewhat soluble in water; the higher nitroalkanes are insoluble in water.
Nitropyrene, nitroglycerine, dinitrophenol, trinitrotoluene, dinitrotoluene, nitropropane, amyl nitrate, nitrobenzene, dinitrocresol, dinitroaniline, ethyl nitrate, glyceryl trinitrate, dinitrobenzene, nitrocellulose, nitroanisole, nitrocyclohexane, nitroethane, n-nitrosodiethanolamine.