Ascanio Sobrero | Discoverer of nitroglycerin

Ascanio Sobrero – discoverer of nitroglycerin

Ascanio Sobrero

Biography & Contributions

Ascanio Sobrero was an Italian chemist born on October 12, 1812 – died on May 26, 1888. Sobrero was a great genius who invented dynamite and many other explosives. He also constructed companies and laboratories in more than 20 countries all over the world.

Nitroglycerin Properties

Nitroglycerin is an organic nitrate compound rather than a nitro compound. Nitroglycerin is a heavy, colorless, oily, explosive liquid most commonly produced by nitrating glycerol with white fuming nitric acid under conditions appropriate to the formation of the nitric acid ester. Nitroglycerin is also a major component in double-based smokeless gunpowders used by reloaders.

Nitroglycerin was later adopted as a commercially useful explosive by Alfred Nobel. Large quantities of nitroglycerin were manufactured during World War I and World War II for use as military propellants and in military engineering work.

The industrial manufacturing process often uses a nearly 1:1 mixture of concentrated sulfuric acid and concentrated nitric acid. This can be produced by mixing white fuming nitric acid and concentrated sulfuric acid.

Nitroglycerin is an oily liquid that may explode when subjected to heat, shock or flame. It is dangerously sensitive and dropping or bumping a container may cause it to explode. Nitroglycerin was also used as an ingredient in military propellants for use in firearms. Nitroglycerin has been used in conjunction with hydraulic fracturing, a process used to recover oil and gas from shale formations. Nitroglycerin has an advantage over some other high explosives, that on detonation it produces practically no visible smoke.

Nitroglycerin belongs to a group of drugs called nitrates, which includes many other nitrates like isosorbide dinitrate and isosorbide mononitrate. It is also a potent antihypertensive agent. Nitroglycerin is available in tablets, ointment, solution for intravenous use, transdermal patches, or sprays administered sublingually.

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