November 09, 2015
Image of 1,5-Di(nitramino)-1H-tetrazole 3D Image of 1,5-Di(nitramino)-1H-tetrazole

Can very powerful explosives be environmentally friendly? This past July, Thomas M. Klapötke, Dennis Fischer, and Jörg Stierstorfer at Ludwig Maximilian University (Munich) reported a non-nuclear organic explosive called 1,5-di(nitramino)-1H-tetrazole (DNT).

This molecule, which was predicted to be extremely explosive, is so sensitive to friction and impact that it may be too difficult to use safely. But the researchers also made some metal salts of DNT that may be safer. One, the dipotassium salt, is impact sensitive but is stable up to 240 ºC. The authors believe that this environmentally benign salt may be a good replacement for tetrazene, a commonly used, but toxic, explosive.

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