Diethylene glycol dinitrate
Diethylene glycol dinitrate is a nitrated
Nitration is a general chemical process for the introduction of a nitro group into a chemical compound. The dominant application of nitration is for the production of nitrobenzene, the precursor to methylene diphenyl diisocyanate...

In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid in which at least one -OH group is replaced by an -O-alkyl group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and...

 produced by the action of concentrated nitric acid
Nitric acid
Nitric acid , also known as aqua fortis and spirit of nitre, is a highly corrosive and toxic strong acid.Colorless when pure, older samples tend to acquire a yellow cast due to the accumulation of oxides of nitrogen. If the solution contains more than 86% nitric acid, it is referred to as fuming...

, normally admixed with an excess of strong sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid is a strong mineral acid with the molecular formula . Its historical name is oil of vitriol. Pure sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive, colorless, viscous liquid. The salts of sulfuric acid are called sulfates...

 as a dehydrating agent, upon diethylene glycol
Diethylene glycol
Diethylene glycol is an organic compound with the formula 2O. It is a colorless, practically odorless, poisonous, and hygroscopic liquid with a sweetish taste. It is miscible in water, alcohol, ether, acetone, and ethylene glycol. DEG is a widely used solvent...


Diethylene glycol dinitrate is a colorless, odorless, viscous, oily liquid, specific gravity
Specific gravity
Specific gravity is the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a reference substance. Apparent specific gravity is the ratio of the weight of a volume of the substance to the weight of an equal volume of the reference substance. The reference substance is nearly always water for...

 1.4092 at 0 °C and 1.3846 at 20 °C; freezing point −11.5 °C under a standard atmosphere, the theoretical boiling point of approximately 197 °C difficult to confirm as the compound begins to decompose and spontaneously inflames at or slightly below this temperature. Partial pressure is reported as 0.007 mmHg (933.3 mPa) at 22.4 °C and 760 mmHg (101,325 Pa). It is readily miscible in most non-polar solvents, methanol
Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, wood naphtha or wood spirits, is a chemical with the formula CH3OH . It is the simplest alcohol, and is a light, volatile, colorless, flammable liquid with a distinctive odor very similar to, but slightly sweeter than, ethanol...

, and cold acetic acid
Acetic acid
Acetic acid is an organic compound with the chemical formula CH3CO2H . It is a colourless liquid that when undiluted is also called glacial acetic acid. Acetic acid is the main component of vinegar , and has a distinctive sour taste and pungent smell...

. Solubility in water (4.1 gm/L at 24 °C) and ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

 is very low. While chemically similar to a number of powerful high explosives, pure diethylene glycol dinitrate is extremely hard to initiate and will not propagate a detonation wave. It inflames only with difficulty (requiring localized heating to decomposition point) unless first atomized, and burns placidly even in quantity.

Mixed with nitrocellulose
Nitrocellulose is a highly flammable compound formed by nitrating cellulose through exposure to nitric acid or another powerful nitrating agent. When used as a propellant or low-order explosive, it is also known as guncotton...

 and extruded under pressure, diethylene glycol dinitrate forms a tough colloid
A colloid is a substance microscopically dispersed evenly throughout another substance.A colloidal system consists of two separate phases: a dispersed phase and a continuous phase . A colloidal system may be solid, liquid, or gaseous.Many familiar substances are colloids, as shown in the chart below...

 whose characteristics (good specific impulse
Specific impulse
Specific impulse is a way to describe the efficiency of rocket and jet engines. It represents the derivative of the impulse with respect to amount of propellant used, i.e., the thrust divided by the amount of propellant used per unit time. If the "amount" of propellant is given in terms of mass ,...

, moderate burn rate and temperature, great resistance to accidental ignition and casual handling) make it well suited as a solid propellant for rocketry. It was widely used in this capacity, by both sides, during World War II. It also found use as a "productive" desensitizer (one that contributes to the overall power of the explosion rather than having a neutral or negative effect) in nitroglycerine and nitroglycol based explosives such as dynamite
Dynamite is an explosive material based on nitroglycerin, initially using diatomaceous earth , or another absorbent substance such as powdered shells, clay, sawdust, or wood pulp. Dynamites using organic materials such as sawdust are less stable and such use has been generally discontinued...

 and blasting gelatin. It is also used as plasticizer
Plasticizers or dispersants are additives that increase the plasticity or fluidity of the material to which they are added; these include plastics, cement, concrete, wallboard, and clay. Although the same compounds are often used for both plastics and concretes the desired effects and results are...

 for energetic material
Energetic material
Energetic materials are a class of material with high amount of stored chemical energy that can be released.Typical classes of energetic materials are e.g. explosives, pyrotechnic compositions, propellants , and fuels ....


If ingested, like nitroglycerine, it produces rapid vasodialation through the release of nitrogen monoxide, NO. Popularly-termed nitric oxide
Nitric oxide
Nitric oxide, also known as nitrogen monoxide, is a diatomic molecule with chemical formula NO. It is a free radical and is an important intermediate in the chemical industry...

, NO is a physiological signaling molecule that relaxes smooth muscle. Consequently, diethylene glycol dinitrate has occasionally been used medically to relieve angina, substernal chest pain
Chest pain
Chest pain may be a symptom of a number of serious conditions and is generally considered a medical emergency. Even though it may be determined that the pain is non-cardiac in origin, this is often a diagnosis of exclusion made after ruling out more serious causes of the pain.-Differential...

 associated with impaired cardiac circulation. The rational is that the concurrent headache it induces is somewhat less severe than other nitro compound
Nitro compound
Nitro compounds are organic compounds that contain one or more nitro functional groups . They are often highly explosive, especially when the compound contains more than one nitro group and is impure. The nitro group is one of the most common explosophores used globally...


At present, interest in the chemical seems to be mostly historical: more potent perchlorate
Perchlorates are the salts derived from perchloric acid . They occur both naturally and through manufacturing. They have been used as a medicine for more than 50 years to treat thyroid gland disorders. They are used extensively within the pyrotechnics industry, and ammonium perchlorate is also a...

–metal mixtures have long since supplanted it as a solid propellant; safer explosives have replaced nitroglycerine, true dynamites (the term is often used generically, even by experienced field technicians, to refer to almost any explosive supplied in small, discrete packages) retaining only a few specialist uses. The medical application was never widespread, the standard nitroglycerine being faster acting and almost literally dirt cheap; oral nitrates in any case being only palliative, not an effective treatment.

Triethylene glycol dinitrate
Triethylene glycol dinitrate
Triethylene glycol dinitrate is a nitrated alcohol ester of triethylene glycol. It is used as an energetic plasticizer in explosives and propellants. Its chemical formula is O2N-O-CH2CH2-O-CH2CH2-O-CH2CH2-O-NO2. It is a pale yellow oily liquid...

, diethylene glycol dinitrate, and trimethyloleate trinitrate are being considered as replacements for nitroglycerin in propellants.
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