Monday, August 26, 2013
Nitroglycerin - Coolest Organic Molecule
My favorite organic molecule is Nitroglycerin. It was discovered by an Italian chemist, Ascanio Sobero, in 1846. It's been used to manufacture explosives and dynamite used by mining industries and construction companies. Therefore, this organic molecule is extremely dangerous and should be handled with care whenever coming in contact with it. For example, several chemists died in a huge laboratory exposition some years after its discovery during testing of nitroglycerin molecules. Nitroglycerin is a dense, oily liquid that detonates when heated to 218 degrees. It’s very explosive because it contains oxidant and fuel, it's exothermic (the reaction releases an enormous amount of heat), and it produces large amounts of gas. The chemical equation is as follows:
4C3H5(ONO2)3(l) --> 12CO2(g) + 10H20(g) + 6N2(g) + O2(g)
Surprisingly, this organic molecule is also used to treat chest pains. Nitroglycerin relaxes blood vessels in the body so the heart doesn't have to work as hard and need as much oxygen. It only contains one milligram of nitroglycerin diluted with inert matter, therefore making it completely unexplosive. Brands such as Nitrolingual, Nitromist, Nitrostat are all over the counter brands that use nitroglycerin in their products for chest pains in tablets and/or sprays. However, the side effects of these medicines include blurred vision, vomiting, dry mouth, hives, pale skin, blistering, and dizziness.
The coolest part about Nitroglycerin is that it's powerful enough to make explosives but can also be consumed by the human body.
Medline Plus www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus
General Chemistry Online frostburg.edu/chem