Xylitol Pentanitrate – a Rarely Used Liquid Explosive Compound

Xylitol is polyhydric alcohol that, when nitrated, can be used to make an explosive. Xylitol pentanitrate (XPN) is a rare liquid explosive compound with extremely high viscosity that is produced by completely nitrating xylitol, a sugar alcohol compound with five carbon atoms. It is a relatively unknown nitrate ester with a molecular structure similar to the military energetic materials pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) and nitroglycerin (NG).

It is a white crystalline explosive in its pure form, similar to other fully nitrated polyols. Slow evaporation was used to crystallize XPN from a mixture of ethanol and water, which was then studied using single-crystal X-ray diffraction. However, lower nitrated forms are produced during synthesis, resulting in a viscous liquid mixture that is difficult to purify. The energetic material’s sensitivity analysis revealed it to be a primary explosive, significantly more sensitive to friction and impact than PETN.

Nitroglycerin (NG) and pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) are nitrate esters that are widely used by military forces around the world. Erythritol tetranitrate (ETN) has been thoroughly investigated for potential use by conventional armed forces, but due to poor chemical stability, it has yet to find legitimate applications.

Xylitol pentanitrate is an extremely viscous liquid explosive compound formed by completely nitrating xylitol, a sugar alcohol compound with five carbon atoms. It is a white crystalline explosive in its pure form, similar to other fully nitrated polyols. However, lower nitrated forms are produced during synthesis, resulting in a viscous liquid mixture that is difficult to purify.

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol sweetener that is used as a natural sugar substitute. It can be found in the fibers of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including berries, corn husks, oats, and mushrooms. Corn fiber, birch, raspberries, plums, and corn can all be used to make it. Xylitol is roughly as sweet as sucrose but contains only two-thirds of the amount of food energy. As with most sugar alcohols, initial consumption can cause bloating, diarrhea, and flatulence, though this is generally less common than with other sugar alcohols such as sorbitol.