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2,4,6-TRINITROTOLUENE structure
Chemical Name:
Molecular Formula:
Formula Weight:
MOL File:

2,4,6-TRINITROTOLUENE Properties

Melting point:
Boiling point:
refractive index 
1.5500 (estimate)
Flash point:
2 °C
storage temp. 
Solubility Very sparingly soluble in water; soluble in acetone, benzene; less soluble in ethanol
PH Range
Colorless (11.5) to orange (14.0)
Exposure limits
TLV-TWA (skin) 0.5 mg/m3 (ACGIH and MSHA), 1.50 mg/m3 (OSHA).
Stability Unstable. Risk of explosion if heated or struck. Reacts violently - potentially explosively - with reducing agents. Reacts with heavy metals.
Major Application
Explosive, energetic materials, preparation of diamond
CAS DataBase Reference
118-96-7(CAS DataBase Reference)
  • Risk and Safety Statements
  • Hazard and Precautionary Statements (GHS)
  • NFPA
Hazard Codes  E,T,N,Xn,F,B
Risk Statements  2-23/24/25-33-51/53-36-20/21/22-11-1
Safety Statements  35-45-61-36/37-26-16
RIDADR  0209
WGK Germany  2
HazardClass  1.1D
Signal word: Danger
Hazard statements:
Code Hazard statements Hazard class Category Signal word Pictogram P-Codes
H225 Highly Flammable liquid and vapour Flammable liquids Category 2 Danger P210,P233, P240, P241, P242, P243,P280, P303+ P361+P353, P370+P378,P403+P235, P501
H319 Causes serious eye irritation Serious eye damage/eye irritation Category 2A Warning P264, P280, P305+P351+P338,P337+P313P
Precautionary statements:
P210 Keep away from heat/sparks/open flames/hot surfaces. — No smoking.
P261 Avoid breathing dust/fume/gas/mist/vapours/spray.
P337+P313 IF eye irritation persists: Get medical advice/attention.
P403+P235 Store in a well-ventilated place. Keep cool.

NFPA 704

Diamond Hazard Value Description
2 4
Health   2 Intense or continued but not chronic exposure could cause temporary incapacitation or possible residual injury (e.g. diethyl ether, ammonium phosphate, iodine)
Flammability   4 Will rapidly or completely vaporize at normal atmospheric pressure and temperature, or is readily dispersed in air and will burn readily. Includes pyrophoric substances. Flash point below room temperature at 22.8 °C (73 °F). (e.g. acetylene, propane, hydrogen gas)
Instability   4 Readily capable of detonation or explosive decomposition at normal temperatures and pressures (e.g. nitroglycerin,chlorine dioxide, nitrogen triiodide)

(NFPA, 2010)

2,4,6-TRINITROTOLUENE price More Price(2)

Manufacturer Product number Product description CAS number Packaging Price Updated Buy
Sigma-Aldrich ERT-022S 2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene solution 118-96-7 022s-1.2ml $21.1 2018-11-20 Buy
Sigma-Aldrich ERT-107S 2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene solution 10mg/mL in acetonitrile, ampule of 5mL, certified reference material 118-96-7 107s-5ml $764 2018-11-20 Buy

2,4,6-TRINITROTOLUENE Chemical Properties,Uses,Production


2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene (TNT) is a yellow, odourless, unstable solid. TNT does not occur naturally in the environment. TNT is an explosive used in military shells, bombs, and grenades; in industrial uses; and in underwater blasting. TNT is a high explosive that is unaffected by ordinary shocks and therefore must be set off by a detonator. TNT is often mixed with other explosives such as ammonium nitrate to form amatol. Because it is insensitive to shock and must be exploded with a detonator, it is the most favoured explosive used in munitions and construction. TNT reacts violently, is potentially explosively, reacts with heavy metals, and is a chemical with risk of explosion if heated or struck.

Chemical Properties

Yellow, monoclinic needles. Soluble in alcohol and ether; insoluble in water.

Chemical Properties

TNT exists in five isomers; 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene is the most commonly used. It is a colorless to pale yellow odorless solid (pellets, cast blocks, and cast slabs) or crushed flakes.


TNT is the abbreviation of the aromatic nitrated aromatic compound 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene. It is a pale-yellow crystalline solid that was first synthesized in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand (1811 1894), but it was not immediately used as an explosive. TNT is made by nitrating toluene using nitric acid, sulfuric acid, and oleum (a mixture of sulfuric acid and SO3). Nitration of toluene occurs in stages, with the nitro units added sequentially in a stepwise process as the reaction proceeds. The last nitro unit is accomplished by using oleum (SO3 dissolved in sulfuric acid). After nitration, unused acids are recycled, and the product is washed with sodium sulfite and water to remove impurities.
TNT is one of the most common explosives. Unlike nitroglycerin, TNT will not explode when subjected to signifi cant shock and friction. It is classifi ed as a secondary explosive, which means it requires an initiating explosive to detonate. The Germans began production of TNT in the last decade of the 19th century, and it was used in the mining industry. Military engineers adapted mining explosives for use in warfare, and TNT started to be incorporated in munitions in 1902. The first widespread use of TNT occurred during World War I. Between World War I and II, TNT replaced picric acid as the explosive of choice in munitions. It was also mixed with other compounds to produce more powerful explosives with unique characteristics. Amatol is a mixture containing between 40% and 80% ammonium nitrate and TNT. Pentolite is a mixture of PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate) and TNT. Another common explosive mixture is RDX (cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine) and TNT. RDX is an abbreviation for Royal Demolition Explosive.


TNT has limited use as a chemical intermediate in pharmaceuticals and for photographicchemicals. It is used to produce other nitrated compounds. Removing the methylgroup from TNT produces 1,3,5-trinitobenzene, and removing methyl and a nitro groupproduces 1,3-dinitrobenzenze (1,3-DNB). Both trinitrobenzene and dinitrobenzene can beused as explosives. Trinitrobenzene is more powerful than TNT but less sensitive to impact.Dinitrobenzene has been used in the production of nitrocellulose, which is used for smokelessgunpowder and guncotton.


2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene (TNT) is used as a high explosive in mining and in military. It is produced by nitration of toluene with a mixture of nitric and sulfuric acids.


Explosive, intermediate in dyestuffs and photographic chemicals.


ChEBI: A trinitrotoluene having the nitro groups at positions 2, 4 and 6.


A yellow crystalline solid. It is a highly unstable substance, used as an explosive. The compound is made by nitrating methylbenzene and the nitro groups are in the 2, 4, and 6 positions.


triton: A nucleus of a tritium atom,consisting of a proton and two neutronsbound together; the ion T+ formed by ionization of a tritium atom. See also hydron.

General Description

A slurry of a yellow water-insoluble crystalline solid. Can burn, although difficult to ignite. When water has been driven off or evaporated the residue is easily ignited, burns vigorously, and is highly explosive . Produces toxic oxides of nitrogen during combustion. May explode under exposure to intense heat. Primary hazard is blast of an explosion, not flying projectiles or fragments.

Reactivity Profile

TRINITROTOLUENE may begin a vigorous reaction that culminates in a detonation if mixed with reducing agents, including hydrides, sulfides and nitrides. May explode in the presence of a base such as sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide even in the presence of water or organic solvents.

Health Hazard

Some are toxic and may be fatal if inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through skin. Contact may cause burns to skin and eyes. Fire may produce irritating, corrosive and/or toxic gases. Runoff from fire control or dilution water may cause pollution.

Health Hazard

The toxic effect of TNT are dermatitis, cyanosis, gastritis, yellow atrophy of the liver, somnolence, tremor, convulsions, and aplastic anemia. Sneezing, sore throat, and muscular pain have also been noted in people exposed to this compound. It is an irritant to skin, respiratory tract, and urinary tract. Prolonged exposure may produce liver damage. The oral LD50 value in rats is in the range 800 mg/kg.
Levine and coworkers (1990) have conducted a 6-month oral toxicity test of TNT in beagle dogs. The major toxic effects observed were hemolytic anemia, methemoglobinemia, liver injury, splenomegaly, and death. A dose of 32 mg/kg/day was lethal to the dogs.
TNT tested nongenotoxic to the bone marrow of mice and the liver of rats (Ashby et al. 1985). It produced a negative response at dose levels up to 1000 mg/kg in the liver assay. High levels of hemoglobin and red-colored urine in the TNT-treated rats suggest a possible carcinogenic hazard to the hemopoietic and urinary tissues of animals at toxic levels on chronic exposure (Ashby et al. 1985). .

Fire Hazard

TNT is a high explosive. In comparison to many other high explosives, it is insensitive to heat, shock, or friction. Small amounts may burn quietly without detonation. However, when heated rapidly or subjected to strong shock, it detonates. Its detonation temperature is 470°C (878°F) and its velocity is between 5.1 and 6.9 km/s. In combination with other explosives, TNT is widely used as a military and industrial explosive. Amatol, cyclonite, and tetrytol are some of the examples of such explosive combinations. Amatol is a composition of 80% ammonium nitrate and 20% TNT by mass. TNT itself has a very high brisance.
Products from the detonation of 1.5-2.0 kg of TNT in air- and oxygen-deficient atmospheres consisted of low-molecularweight gases and high-molecular-weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (Johnson et al. 1988). Greiner and associates (1988) examined the soots produced from the detonation of cast composites of TNT mixed with nitroguanidine or RDX in 1 atmosphere of argon. The soot contained 25 wt% diamond 4-7 nm in diameter, the IR spectrum and particle size of which resembled those from meteorites. .

Safety Profile

Suspected carcinogen. Poison by subcutaneous route. Moderately toxic by ingestion. Human systemic effects by ingestion: hallucinations or distorted perceptions, cyanosis, and gastrointestinal changes. Experimental reproductive effects. Mutation data reported. A skin irritant. Has been implicated in aplastic anemia. Can cause headache, weakness, anemia, liver injury. May be absorbed through skin. Flammable or explosive when exposed to heat or flame. Moderate explosion hazard; will detonate under strong shock. It detonates at around 24O℃ but can be distilled safely under reduced pressure. It is a comparatively insensitive explosive. In small quantities it will burn quietly if not confined. However, sudden heating of any quantity will cause it to detonate; the accumulation of heat when large quantities are burning will cause detonation. In other respects it is one of the most stable of all high explosives, and there are but a few restrictions for its handling. It is for this reason, from the military standpoint, that TNT is quantitatively the most used. It requires a fall of 130 cm for a 2 kg weight to detonate it. It is one of the most powerful high explosives. It can be detonated by the usual detonators and blasting caps (at least a No. 6). For full efficiency, the use of a highvelocity initiator, such as tetryl, is required. TNT is one of those explosives containing an oxygen deficiency. In other words, the addition of products that are oxygen rich can enhance its explosive power. Also monoand dinitrotoluene may be added for reduction of the temperature of the explosion and to make the explosion flashless. Various materials are added to TNT to make what are known as permissible explosives. TNT may be regarded as the equivalent of 40% dynamite and can be used underwater. It is also used in the manufacture of a detonator fuse known as cordeau detonant. For the military, TNT finds use in all types of bursting charges, includmg armor-piercing types, although it is somewhat too sensitive to be ideal for this purpose and has since been replaced to a great extent by ammonium picrate. It is a relatively expensive explosive and does not compete seriously with dynamite for general commercial use. Highly dangerous; explodes with shock or heating to 297°C. Various materials can reduce the explosive temperature: red lead - (to 192℃), sodium carbonate (to 218℃), potassium hydroxide (to 192°C). Mixtures with sodium dichromate + sulfuric acid may ignite spontaneously. Reacts with nitric acid + metals (e.g., lead or iron) to form explosive products more sensitive to shock, friction, or contact with nitric or sulfuric acids. Reacts with potassium hydroxide dissolved in methanol to form explosive acinitro salts. Bases (e.g., sodium hydroxide, potassium iodide, tetramethyl ammonium octahydrotriborate) induce deflagration in molten TNT. Can react vigorously with reducing materials. When heated to decomposition it emits highly toxic fumes of NOx. See also NITRO COMPOUNDS of AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS and EXPLOSIVES, HIGH.

Potential Exposure

TNT is used as an explosive, that is, as a bursting charge in military explosive shells, bombs, grenades, and mines; and an intermediate in dyestuffs and photographic chemicals.

First aid

If this chemical gets into the eyes, remove any contact lenses at once and irrigate immediately for at least 15 minutes, occasionally lifting upper and lower lids. Seek medical attention immediately. If this chemical contacts the skin, remove contaminated clothing and wash immediately with soap and water. Seek medical attention immediately. If this chemical has been inhaled, remove from exposure, begin rescue breathing (using universal precautions, including resuscitation mask) if breathing has stopped and CPR if heart action has stopped. Transfer promptly to a medical facility. When this chemical has been swallowed, get medical attention. Give large quantities of water and induce vomiting. Do not make an unconscious person vomit.


TNT is stored in a permanent magazine, separated from combustible and oxidizable materials, initiators, and heat sources. It is shipped in amounts not exceeding 60 lb (27 kg) in weight in metal containers enclosed in wooden or fiberboard boxes.


UN1356 Trinitrotoluene, wetted with not <30% water, by mass, Hazard Class: 4.1; Labels: 4.1-Flammable solid. UN0209 Trinitrotoluene or TNT, dry or wetted with < 30% water, by mass, Hazard Class: 1D; Labels:1DExplosive (with a mass explosion hazard); D-Substances or articles which may mass detonate (with blast and/or fragment hazard) when exposed to fire.

Purification Methods

Crystallise TNT from *benzene and EtOH. Then fuse (CARE) and allow to crystallise under vacuum. Gey, Dalbey and Van Dolah [J Am Chem Soc 78 1803 1956] dissolved TNT in acetone and added cold water (1:2:15), the precipitate was filtered off, washed free from solvent and stirred with five parts of aqueous 8% Na2SO3 at 50-60o for 10minutes. This was filtered, washed with cold water until the effluent was colourless, and air dried. The product was dissolved in five parts of hot CCl4, washed with warm water until the washings were colourless and TNT was recoverd by cooling and filtering. It was recrystallised from 95% EtOH and carefully dried over H2SO4. The dry solid should not be heated without taking precautions for a possible EXPLOSION. Work with small quantities. [Beilstein 5 H 347, 5 I 172, 5 II 268, 5 III 767, 5 IV 873.]


Sensitive to shock and heat. Incompatible with initiating explosives, combustible materials. Aromatic nitro compounds, such as trinitrobenzene, range from slight to strong oxidizing agents. Keep away from strong reducing agents, including hydrides, alkali metals; aluminium and other metal powder; phosphorus; sulfides and nitrides, alkaline material, strong bases; contact may initiate vigorous reactions 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 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. Incompatible with strong oxidizers (chlorates, nitrates, peroxides, permanganates, perchlorates, chlorine, bromine, fluorine, etc.); contact may cause fires or explosions.

Waste Disposal

TNT is dissolved in acetone and incinerated. The incinerator should be equipped with an afterburner and a caustic soda solution scrubber.

2,4,6-TRINITROTOLUENE Preparation Products And Raw materials

Raw materials

Preparation Products


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