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IUPAC name
Chemical formula C6N6O12
Molar mass 348.0996 g/mol
Shock sensitivity None
Friction sensitivity None
Density 1.985 g/cm3
Explosive velocity 9,340 m/s
RE factor  ?
Melting point 256-264 °C
Autoignition temperature N/A
Appearance Yellow or brown powdered crystals
CAS number
PubChem [1]

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. Its molecular mass is 348.0996 g/mol, its density 1.985 g/cm³, and its heat of formation is 17.48 kJ/mol.

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 [2]. In this application HNB and tetranitromethane is preferred to more conventional explosives because the explosion products CO2 + N2 are enough simple mixture to simulate gas dynamic processes, and it's quite similar to conventional gas dynamic laser medium. Water and hydrogen as product of many explosive 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(N02)3 -> partial reduction -> C6H3(NH0H)3 -> Nitration -> C6(NO2)3(NH0H)3 -> oxidation -> C6(NO2)6
straightway nitration of benzene is practically impossible, because -NO2 are deactivating groups for further nitration.


  • Velocity of detonation:
    • 9,340 m/s measured at density 1.965 [3]
  • Chapman-Jouget detonation pressure: 43 GPa
  • Crystal Density: 2.01

See also


Heats of Formation and Chemical Compositions

The synthesis and characterisation of halogen and nitro phenyl azide derivatives as highly energetic materials., PhD Thesis, Adam, D; 2001

Accurate determination of pair potentials for a CwHxNyOz system of molecules: A semiempirical method, Thiel et al, 1995

R. L. Atkins, R. A. Hollins, W. S. Wilson (1986). "Synthesis of polynitro compounds. Hexasubstituted benzenes". J. Org. Chem. 51: 3261-3266. doi:10.1021/jo00367a003.

A. T. Nielsen, R. L. Atkins, W. P. Norris (1979). "Oxidation of poly(nitro)anilines to poly(nitro)benzenes. Synthesis of hexanitrobenzene and pentanitrobenzene". J. Org. Chem. 44: 1181-1182. doi:10.1021/jo01321a041.

Z. A. Akopyan, Yu. T. Struchkov, V. G. Dashevskii (1966). "Crystal and molecular structure of hexanitrobenzene". Journal of Structural Chemistry 7: 385-392. doi:10.1007/BF00744430.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hexanitrobenzene". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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