Molecule of the Week


July 23, 2012

2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene—yes, TNT—is a well-known explosive with many uses: munitions, construction, and mining, to name a few. It’s less dangerous than you might think because it’s difficult to detonate; its relative safety is one reason that it’s used so widely. Its toxicity is more of a concern than its explosivity. TNT was first prepared by J. Wibrand in 1863—for use as a yellow dye. Its modern manufacturing process begins with toluene and consists of three separate nitration steps.

More about this molecule from CAS, the most authoritative and comprehensive source for chemical information.