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, the bond is considered positively charged. Then one bond 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.

Reaction[change | change source]

Nitro compounds are very explosive. This is because, at high temperature, nitro compounds 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).