Industrielle Synthese und Umgang mit einem hochexplosiven Produkt am Beispiel des Nitroglyzerins

Industrial Synthesis and Handling of a Highly Explosive Material – Nitroglycerine as Example


  • Markus Sigrist



The first synthesis of nitroglycerine was achieved by Sobrero in 1846 by treating glycerine with a mixture of sulphuric and nitric acid. It is a powerful explosive, but because of many accidents its use in a pure form was forbidden in 1873. Alfred Nobel solved the problem of the high sensitivity to shock by absorbing the liquid in kieselguhr – the dynamite was invented.
The risks of nitroglycerine can be summarised as follows:
– Risks during synthesis (overheating, incomplete reaction, instability under acidic conditions)
– Risks during handling (mechanical shock, rapid heating especially under confinement, freezing below 13°)
– Toxicological effects.
Most risks can be managed by the following means:
– Safety distances to endangered people
– Automatic safety systems for nitration plants
– Good neutralisation and washing of nitroglycerine
– Regular control of stability (Abel Test) and of pH
– Transportation only in diluted form, for short distances in emulsions with water
– Protection methods for the people exposed to nitroglycerine.