Nitro compound

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The structure of the nitro group

A nitro compound is a molecule that has the nitro group. The nitro group is made of one nitrogen atom connected with two oxygen atoms (-NO2). The nitrogen is also bonded to the rest of the molecule.

Nitrogen normally has only three bonds. In a nitro group it is considered positively charged. Then one of the oxygen is negatively charged, and the other has a double bond. In reality, the best way to represent the nitro group is to consider it to have delocalized electrons. Then all three atoms are sp2 hybridised.

Nitro compounds are very explosive. This is because at high temperature, they can decompose and release nitrogen gas. This reaction is very exothermic (gives out a lot of energy). Many explosives have nitro groups, for example trinitrotoluene (TNT).