decomposes at 200 °C
2,4,6-trinitro-m-cresol, or just trinitrocresol, is a rarely used explosive compound similar to picric acid in its chemical and physical properties. The only difference from picric acid is the addition of a methyl group to the benzene ring. This explosive has been developed most heavily by the French, they call it Cresilite. Trinitrocresol is best used as a booster explosive or a primary explosive mixed with other more sensitive compounds.
|m-cresol||100-mL Florence flask|
|nitric acid||graduated cylinder|
Prepare a mixture of 20 mL of m-cresol and 33 mL of 99% sulfuric acid in a round-bottomed 100-mL Florence flask. Reflux the contents of the flask for 6 hours at 120 °C. After refluxing, slowly add 40 mL of 52% nitric acid. During the addition, and for 3 hours afterward, keep the temperature at 100 °C by cooling and heating as necessary. After the 3 hours, cool the flask to 90 °C over a period of 20 minutes, then cool it to 70 °C over a period of 1 hour. Use either compressed air blowing into the liquid, or a salt-ice bath to regulate the temperature. Next, allow the flask to sit undisturbed for 12-15 hours where it can assume room temperature and begin to crystallize the trinitrocresol. After sitting, decant of as much of the acid as possible and drown the remaining crystals with water. Quickly filter to collect the crystals, wash them with a small amount of cold water. You should have yellow-brown crystals of trinitro-m-cresol. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.
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