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Energetic Material – Explosives

Idaho National Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

INL has invented a process for creating energetic materials, including trinitrotoluene (TNT).  By using a carbon dioxide environment, which reduces the amount of acid generated from the nitration reaction (orthonitrotoluene, ONT and dinitrotoluene, DNT). The process uses a surfactant, a nitrating agent, and a source of organic material to be nitrated. 


The method makes trinitrotoluene by mixing a surfactant with the nitric acid, which helps to dehydrate the nitric acid in order to produce nitronium ions. Within the carbon dioxide environment, organic material to be nitrated is mixed with the nitronium ions. This reaction replaces the need for chemical oxidizers and also eliminates toxic by-products that occur in existing processes.


 -  Creates energetic material, specifically trinitrotoluene,

 -  Includes mixing a surfactant with the nitric acid in order to produce nitronium ions, and

 -  Mixes nitroniumions with the carbon dioxide in order to form the desired organic material.

Applications and IndustriesNitronium ions, explosives, energetic material, trinitrotoluene, carbon dioxideTechnology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

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To: Ryan Bills<>