Nitromethane Synthesis: From Lab to Industry
Nitromethane Synthesis: From Lab to Industry


Nitromethane, with the chemical formula CH₃NO₂, represents a significant organic compound with diverse applications in various industries. Understanding its chemical properties, reactivity, and uses is crucial for harnessing its potential across different fields.

Chemical Structure:

  • Molecular Formula: CH₃NO₂
  • Chemical Structure:
  • Functional Groups: Nitro group (-NO₂)

Physical Properties:

  • Appearance: Nitromethane is a colorless, oily liquid with a slightly sweet odor.
  • Density: Its density is approximately 1.14 g/cm³.
  • Boiling Point: Nitromethane has a boiling point of around 101.2°C, making it a volatile liquid at ambient conditions.
  • Solubility: It is miscible with many organic solvents but exhibits limited solubility in water.

Chemical Properties:

  • Reactivity: Nitromethane is a versatile solvent and reagent in organic synthesis, participating in various reactions such as nitration, reduction, and Michael addition.
  • Combustibility: It is highly combustible, supporting combustion in air and releasing energy upon burning.
  • Acid-Base Properties: Nitromethane exhibits weak acidic properties due to the presence of the nitro group, making it susceptible to nucleophilic attack.


  • Solvent: nitromethane synthesis serves as a solvent for numerous organic compounds, particularly in industries such as pharmaceuticals, explosives, and fuel additives.
  • Fuel Additive: It is used as a performance-enhancing additive in racing fuels, improving combustion efficiency and engine performance.
  • Explosives: Nitromethane is a key component in the synthesis of explosives and propellants due to its high energy content and reactivity.

Safety Considerations:

  • Toxicity: Nitromethane is toxic and may cause irritation upon contact with skin, eyes, or inhalation of vapors. Proper handling and ventilation are essential when working with this compound.
  • Flammability: Due to its highly flammable nature, nitromethane should be stored and handled with caution to prevent fire hazards.


Nitromethane stands as a versatile organic solvent and reagent with wide-ranging applications in various industries, including pharmaceuticals, explosives, and fuel additives. Its unique chemical properties, reactivity, and solvating ability make it a valuable component in organic synthesis and industrial processes, paving the way for innovation and advancement in multiple fields.

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