Methyl ammonium nitrate

According to Urbanski in, "The Chemistry and Technology of Explosives," vol 2, Methyl ammonium nitrate was first used as an explosive ingredient by the Germans during World War Two. Urbanski, not following standard naming conventions used by chemists, called the substance mono-methylamine nitrate, a name that has largely stuck among chemists who formulate energetic materials. Methly-ammonium nitrate is created when methylamine is mixed with strong nitric acid.

Methyl-ammonium nitrate is somewhat similar in explosive properties to ammonium nitrate (AN) which yields 85% of the power of nitroglycerine when the ammonium nitrate is incorporate into an explosive. The addition of the carbon containing methyl group imparts better explosive properties and helps create a more favorable oxygen balance.

Following World War Two, relative to less costly ammonium nitrate, methyl-ammonium nitrate was largely ignored by explosives manufacturers. Ammonium nitrate fuel-oil mixtures (ANFO) were sufficient for most large-diameter explosives uses.

Methyl-ammonium nitrate saw a resurgence when E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Inc., seeking to lower the cost of its TNT-based "Tovex" water gels, incorporated a mixture of methyl-ammonium nitrate with ammonium nitrate which served as a basis for DuPont's water gels manufactured under the names, "Tovex" "Extra" and "Pourvex" "Extra." Methyl-ammonium nitrate, also known as PR-M (which stands for "Potomac River - Mono-methylamine nitrate") soon was seen as the possible path toward creating a low cost blasting agent (water gel explosives) that might replace the explosives based on nitroglycerin (dynamites).

In late 1973, DuPont started to phase out dynamite and replace it with water gels based on PR-M.

However, PR-M proved to have unusual "mass effects." That is, if there was sufficient mass, under certain conditions, PR-M could explode without warning. On August 6, 1974, a tank car contain PR-M blew up in Wenatchee rail yard, killing two and injuring 66 others. On July 4, 1976, a PR-M storage with 60,000 pounds of PR-M detonated at DuPont's Potomac River Works. [ [ HistoryLink Essay: Burlington Northern tank-car explodes in South Wenatchee killing two people and injuring 66 on August 6, 1974 ] ] Though there was no loss of life, there were many injuries and a substantial loss of property.

Within two years, DuPont moved out of water gel explosives.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ceric ammonium nitrate — Ammonium cerium(IV) nitrate IUPAC name Diammonium cerium(IV) nitrate …   Wikipedia

  • nitrate — nitration, n. n. /nuy trayt, trit/; v. /nuy trayt/, n., v., nitrated, nitrating. n. 1. Chem. a salt or ester of nitric acid, or any compound containing the univalent group ONO2 or NO3. 2. fertilizer consisting of potassium nitrate or sodium… …   Universalium

  • Nitrate — The nitrate ion. The net charge of the whole ion is 1−. The nitrate ion is a polyatomic ion with the molecular formula NO− 3 and a molecular mass of 62.0049 g/mol. It is the conjugate base of …   Wikipedia

  • Methylammonium nitrate — Methylammonium nitrate …   Wikipedia

  • Tovex — (also known as Threnchrite, Seismogel, and Seismopac) is a water gel explosive that has several advantages over traditional dynamite. Tovex has almost entirely replaced dynamite. Tovex enjoys a number of advantages over nitroglycerin based… …   Wikipedia

  • chemical industry — Introduction       complex of processes, operations, and organizations engaged in the manufacture of chemicals and their derivatives.       Although the chemical industry may be described simply as the industry that uses chemistry and… …   Universalium

  • Dictionary of chemical formulas — This is a list of chemical compounds with chemical formulas and CAS numbers, indexed by formula. This complements alternative listings to be found at list of inorganic compounds, list of organic compounds and inorganic compounds by element. Table …   Wikipedia

  • Nitrous oxide — N2O redirects here. For other uses, see N2O (disambiguation). Laughing gas redirects here. For other uses, see Laughing gas (disambiguation). Not to be confused with nitric oxide (formula NO) or nitrogen dioxide (formula NO2). For other uses, see …   Wikipedia

  • Functional group — For other uses, see Functional group (disambiguation) and Moiety (disambiguation). Benzyl acetate has an ester functional group (in red), an acetyl moiety (circled with green) and a benzyloxy moiety (circled with orange). Other divisions can be… …   Wikipedia

  • environment — environmental, adj. environmentally, adv. /en vuy reuhn meuhnt, vuy euhrn /, n. 1. the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences; surroundings; milieu. 2. Ecol. the air, water, minerals, organisms, and all other external factors… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.