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Transformations of High Explosives


Creation of Scientific Grounds, Techniques and Technologies for the Transformation of the Explosive 2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene (Trotyl, TNT) into valuable Civil Products (Polymeric Materials, Dyes, Biologically Active Compounds, etc.).

Tech Area / Field

  • MAT-EXP/Explosives/Materials

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Kulikov G G

Leading Institute
Institute of Organic Chemistry, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • INEOS (Organo-Element Compounds), Russia, Moscow


  • Dow Chemical Company, USA, MI, Midland\nHoechst AG, Germany, Frankfurt

Project summary

Currently Russia has accumulated a great amount (hundreds of thousands tons) of munitions liable to disposal, their main component being 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT). The work on its extraction is being in progress now. The objective of this project is the use of TNT as a cheap raw material for civil products. This approach seems most expedient for utilizing the TNT excess in this country. The project envisages the development of TNT-based aromatic compounds (benzoid di- and polyamines, including N-substituted ones, isocyanates, carbamates, nitroamines, nitro- and aminophenol derivatives, polyatomic phenols, aromatic ethers, fluorine-containing ones among them, and their thioanalogs, and nitrogen-containing heterocycles) which can be further used as monomers and semiproducts.

The following materials are planned to be produced on their basis:

1) High molecular polymers: polyimides, polyamides and polyurethanes (including polyurethane foams).

2) New dyes of a broad color spectrum.

3) Plant-protecting and other biologically active substances.

4) Additives to polymeric compositions (antioxidants, cross-link agents, etc.).

Directed synthesis of the above monomers and semiproducts is accessible only in case the following milestone problems in the chemistry of polynitroaromatic compounds are solved:

i) nucleophilic substitution of the aromatic nitro group nonactivated either by ortho- or by para-substituents;

ii) selective reduction of nitro groups (by number and position) to ammo groups, reducing alkylation of nitro groups;

iii) TNT-based heterocyclization. Theoretical (quantum chemistry and electron transfer theories), catalytic, electrochemical and synthetic methods with the further production of target structures will be employed to solve these problems.

Polymers, dyes and the other technical products mentioned above will be then synthesized. They will comprise the most promising materials for the production of which the elaboration of technologically expedient methods is planned.

The research team for the project effort consists of highly qualified specialists who have been involved in the development of new explosives for mass destruction weapons and other energetic materials.


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