SOME additional information of an interesting character concerning the extremely explosive sodium and potassium compounds of nitromethane, is contributed to the current Berichte of the German Chemical Society by Prof. Zelinsky of Moscow. A short time ago Prof. Victor Meyer described (Berichte, 27, 1601) a mode of preparing the sodium compound CH2NaNO2 in a state of purity. The process consists in diluting a quantity of nitromethane, CH3NO2, with ether and treating the liquid with a solution of sodium in alcohol, when the sodium compound is precipitated. The precipitate requires to be washed with ether, and is then dried over oil of vitriol; the dry compound thus obtained affords numbers on analysis agreeing with the anhydrous formula above given. In a former method of preparation described by Prof. Meyer, alcoholic soda was employed as precipitant, but the sodium nitromethane obtained invariably contained either water or alcohol; the use of sodium ethylate affords it anhydrous. Even the hydrated compound first isolated proved to be explosive; but upon placing a small quantity of it upon a watch-glass, and warming over a water-bath, in a short time it became suddenly converted into the anhydrous compound which immediately exploded with great violence. When a small quantity of the anhydrous compound prepared by use of sodium ethylate was placed in a test-tube, gently compressed, and then warmed, an, explosion of so violent a nature occurred that the test-tube was completely pulverised.
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TUTTON, A. The Explosive Nature of the Sodium and Potassium Derivatives of Nitromethane. Nature 51, 328 (1895). https://doi.org/10.1038/051328a0