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   » » Wiki: Methyl Nitrate
Tag Wiki 'Methyl Nitrate'.

Methyl nitrate is the methyl of and has the CH3NO3. It is a colourless explosive volatile liquid.

It can be produced by the condensation of and :

CH3OH + HNO3 → CH3NO3 + H2O

A newer method uses and :

CH3I + AgNO3 → CH3NO3 + AgI

Methyl nitrate can be produced on a laboratory or industrial scale either through the of a mixture of methanol and nitric acid, or by the of methanol by a mixture of and nitric acids. The first procedure is not preferred due to the great explosion danger presented by the methyl nitrate . The second procedure is essentially identical to that of making . However, the process is usually run at a slightly higher temperature and the mixture is stirred mechanically on an industrial scale instead of with compressed air.

Electrolytic production methods have been reported involving electrolyzing sodium acetate and sodium nitrate in acetic acid.

Methyl nitrate is also the product of the oxidation of some organic compounds in the presence of nitrogen oxides and chlorine, namely or di-tert-butyl ether, while also producing nitromethane. Oxidation of nitromethane using nitrogen dioxide in an inert atmosphere can also yield methyl nitrate.

Explosive properties
Methyl nitrate is a sensitive . When ignited it burns extremely fiercely with a gray-blue flame. Methyl nitrate is a very strong explosive with a detonation velocity of 6,300 m/s, like , ethylene glycol dinitrate, and other . The sensitivity of methyl nitrate to initiation by is among the greatest known, with even a number one , the lowest power available, producing a near full detonation of the explosive.

Despite the superior explosive properties of methyl nitrate, it has not received application as an explosive due mostly to its high volatility, which prevents it from being stored or handled safely.

As well as being an explosive, methyl nitrate is and causes headaches when inhaled.

Methyl nitrate has not received much attention as an explosive, but as a mixture containing 25% methanol it was used as rocket fuel and volumetric explosive under the name Myrol in during World War II. This mixture would at a constant rate and so its composition would not change over time. It presents a slight explosive danger (it is somewhat difficult to detonate) and does not detonate easily via shock.
(2024). 9783527320097, Wiley-VCH. .
(2019). 9783110557848, . .

According to A. Stettbacher, the substance was used as a combustible during the in 1933. Gartz shows in a recent work that only methyl nitrate with its production and explosion potential can represent the famous and mysterious "shooting water" from the German Feuerwerkbuch ("fireworks book") of about 1420

(2024). 9783813208672, E.S. Mittler & Sohn. .
(the oldest technical text in , handwritten in and later printed in ).

An extract of the text from the 1420 Feuerwerkbuch is as follows (written in Early New High German):


The structure of methyl nitrate has been studied experimentally in the gas phase (combined gas-electron diffraction and microwave spectroscopy, GED/MW) and in the crystalline state (X-ray diffraction, XRD) (see Table 1). In the solid state there are weak interactions between the O and N atoms of different molecules (see figure).
+Table 1: Structural parameters of methyl nitrate

Bond lengths in Å , angles in °


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