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After nitration, TNT is stabilized by a process called sulfitation, where the crude TNT is treated with aqueous sodium sulfite solution to remove less stable isomers of TNT and other undesired reaction products.The rinse water from sulfitation is known as red water and is a significant pollutant and waste product of TNT manufacture.
The green band (marked "Trotyl") indicates that the grenade is blind or use as exercise.TNT has been used in conjunction with hydraulic fracturing, a process used to recover oil and gas from shale formations.The technique involves displacing and detonating nitroglycerin in hydraulically induced fractures followed by wellbore shots using pelletized TNT.First, toluene is nitrated with a mixture of sulfuric and nitric acid to produce mononitrotoluene (MNT).The MNT is separated and then renitrated to dinitrotoluene (DNT).In the laboratory, 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene is produced by a two-step process.
A nitrating mixture of concentrated nitric and sulfuric acids is used to nitrate toluene to a mixture of mono- and di-nitrotoluene isomers, with careful cooling to maintain temperature.
In the final step, the DNT is nitrated to trinitrotoluene (TNT) using an anhydrous mixture of nitric acid and oleum.
Nitric acid is consumed by the manufacturing process, but the diluted sulfuric acid can be reconcentrated and reused.
TNT is valued partly because of its insensitivity to shock and friction, with reduced risk of accidental detonation compared to more sensitive explosives such as nitroglycerin.
TNT melts at 80 °C (176 °F), far below the temperature at which it will spontaneously detonate, allowing it to be poured or safely combined with other explosives.
In chemistry, TNT is used to generate charge transfer salts.