Neha Patil


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Molar mass  348.1 g/mol
Density  1.98 g/cm³
Hexanitrobenzene httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Appearance  Yellow or brown powdered crystals

Hexanitrobenzene, also known as HNB, is a high-density explosive compound with chemical formula C6N6O12, obtained by oxidizing the amine group of pentanitroaniline with hydrogen peroxide in sulfuric acid.



HNB has the undesirable property of being moderately sensitive to light and therefore hard to utilize safely. It is not currently used in any production explosives applications, though it is used as a precursor chemical in one method of production of TATB, another explosive.

HNB was experimentally used as a gas source for explosively pumped gas dynamic laser. In this application, HNB and tetranitromethane are preferred to more conventional explosives because the explosion products CO2 and N2 are a simple enough mixture to simulate gas dynamic processes and quite similar to conventional gas dynamic laser medium. The water and hydrogen products of many other explosives could interfere with vibrational states of CO2 in this type of laser.


During World War II a method of synthesis of hexanitrobenzene was suggested in Germany, and the product was supposed to be manufactured on a semi-industrial scale according to the following scheme:

C6H3(NO2)3 → C6H3(NHOH)3 (partial reduction) C6H3(NHOH)3 → C6(NO2)3(NHOH)3 (nitration) C6(NO2)3(NHOH)3 → C6(NO2)6 (oxidation)

Complete nitration of benzene is practically impossible, because the nitro groups are deactivating groups for further nitration.

Additional properties

  • Chapman-Jouget detonation pressure: 43 GPa
  • Crystal Density: 2.01
  • References

    Hexanitrobenzene Wikipedia

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