The present invention relates to a process to produce 1,3-diamino-2,4,6-trinitrobenzene (DATB) or 1,3,5-triamino-2,4,6,-trinitrobenzene (TATB) by: (a) reacting at ambient pressure and a temperature of between about 0.degree. and 50.degree. C. for between about 0.1 and 24 hr, a trinitroaromatic compound of structure V: ##STR1## wherein X, Y, and Z are each independently selected from --H, or --NH.sub.2, with the proviso that at least 1 or 2 of X, Y, and Z are hydrogen, with an amount effective to produce DATB or TATB of 1,1,1-trialkylhydrazinium halide wherein alkyl is selected from methyl, ethyl, propyl or butyl and halide is selected from chloride, bromide or iodide. in the presence of a strong base selected from sodium butoxide, potassium butoxide, potassium propoxide, sodium propoxide, sodium ethoxide, potassium ethoxide, sodium methoxide, potassium methoxide, and combinations thereof; in a solvent selected from the group consisting of methanol, ethanol, propanol, butanol, dimethylsulphoxide, N-methylpyrrolidone, hexamethylphosphoramide, dimethylformide, dimethylacetamide and mixtures thereof, provided that when alcohols are present primarily DATB and picramide is formed; and (b) isolating the DATB or TATB produced. DATB and TATB are useful specialty explosives. TATB is also used for the preparation of benzenehexamine, a starting material for the synthesis of novel materials (optical imaging devices, liquid crystals, ferromagnetic compounds).
ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of California, for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.