We have adopted this year, as the explosive for our torpedoes, trinitrotoluol, or TNT, in view of the enormous advantages that it offers in force, stability, etc., over guncotton. We have substituted, at the same time, for fulminate of mercury in the detonators a new explosive, hvdronitride of lead.
TNT or Trotyl.
TNT is obtained by the nitration of toluene, much the same as nitroglycerine is obtained by the nitration of glycerine.
Toluene is a liquid substance, colorless, boiling at no° C. and is obtained by the distillation of coal tar. It is the first homologue of benzene, which it much resembles. For this reason toluene is also called methyl benzene. It was discovered in 1838 by Pelletier and Walter. It is found also, in the literature of chemistry, under the name “toluol,” for which reason trinitrotoluene is also called “trinitrotoluol.”
It is to be noted that, during nitration, one or more atoms of hydrogen (H) are replaced by one or more radicals (N02).
Mononitrotoluene.—The mononitrotoluene is obtained industrially by treating toluene with a mixture of nitric acid at 40°