Pyrotechnics, Rocketry & Explosive Science

How to Prepare Erythritol Tetranitrate

Erythritol Tetranitrate forms colorless or white crystals, leaflets, or powder with a melting point of 61 Celsius. It is soluble in alcohol, ether, and glycerol, but insoluble in water. Erythritol Tetranitrate explodes on strong percussion, but still requires a primary explosive for proper initiation when used in explosives compositions.

Erythritol Tetranitrate is prepared by dissolving erythritol into 98% sulfuric acid, followed by treatment with 90% nitric acid. The reaction mixture is stirred for a short time afterwards, and then allowed to stand. The whole reaction mixture is then mixed with cold water, which causes precipitation of the ETN. The ETN is then dissolved into warm 95% ethanol, and then after filtration (to remove impurities), the ethanol mixture is treated with an excess of cold water. The addition of the cold water causes the ETN to precipitate. The ETN is then washed, and then dried

In this booklet, you are going to gain knowledge on the materials required, procedure and safety considerations when preparing Erythritol tetranitrate.

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