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:
(frostburg.edu/chem)

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.
(www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus)

The coolest part about Nitroglycerin is that it's powerful enough to make explosives but can also be consumed by the human body.

References

Medline Plus www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus

General Chemistry Online frostburg.edu/chem

5 comments:

  1. I found your blog post extremely interesting and never would have thought that nitroglycerin with its explosive nature would have ever been used to treat chest pain!

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  2. Ka-boom!

    I admit Nitroglycerin is pretty interesting. I know nitroglycerin as a substance that is liquid, like gas or oil. So learning that it is used for explosives is amazing since it is potent and reactive enough to cause damage to stuffs when mixed with other stuffs, but what is most shocking is that the very same stuff that can be used for explosives is also used for medicine such as chest and heart pain!

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  3. Great post. As an EMT, I have administered nitroglycerin to patients before. One patient I recall was having serious chest pain and had a very high blood pressure. It was about 200/150 or so which is bad! As you said, nitroglycin dilates the blood vessels and helps alleviate chest pain for a variety of reasons. I have seen nitroglycerin work. For this particular patient, his BP lowered and his pain lessened. You just need to be sure the patient has a high enough blood pressure or else they will pass out if they take it. There are a few other contraindications too, like if they are taking ED meds.

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  4. Working in the Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Warfare and Defense field in the Army i have had the opportunity to play around with Nitroglycerin. I can attest to its considerable damaging affects. As a CBRN officer we have to do Sensitive Site Assessments and Sensitive Site Extractions of HME "home-made explosive" labs. In training we have noticed a pattern that most HME labs contain nitric acid, rie or some type of castrol beans as well as nitroglycerin. Very good post!!!!!

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  5. It really is interesting because it is used for two completely opposite things.

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