Ethylene glycol dinitrate

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Ethylene glycol dinitrate, IUPAC name 1,2-dinitroxyethane, also known as nitroglycol or EGDN, is a pale yellow, syrupy, explosive liquid. In the series of alkyl nitrates it is among those which have a 1:1 rato of nitroxy groups per carbon atom, and also exhibits a perfect oxygen balance.



Thanks to its perfect oxygen balance, EGDN is one of the strongest explosives known, with a lead block test value of 650 cm3 (10% higher than NG). It is more sensitive to initiation but can also detonate incompletely with low velocity. The reported detonation velocity is around 7800 m/s.


Its properties are very similar to nitroglycerin. It is however less viscous, less dense and more volatile. The freezing point is -22 °C, and it has therefore been used for dynamites in cold climates.


EGDN can be prepared by nitrating ethylene glycol under careful monitoring.



Like nitroglycerin, EGDN is highly explosive, although somewhat less sensitive to impact. One disadvantage EGDN has against NG is that EGDN is more volatile. This makes a person working with it more susceptible to its vasodilation effects, which is where the nitro group in the nitrated alcohol causes the body to widen blood vessels, resulting in phenomenal headaches.


Never store EGDN!


EGDN can be neutralized with a sodium hydroxide solution.


Chemistry and Technology of Explosives - Volume II, first edition, 1965.

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