Nitromethane (CH3NO2): Properties, Applications, and Safety Considerations


This article examines the chemical properties, applications, and safety considerations of nitromethane (CH₃NO₂), a versatile organic compound with diverse industrial and research applications. By exploring its physical properties, chemical reactivity, and environmental impact, this study aims to provide insights into the significance of nitromethane and its role in chemistry, engineering, and materials science.


Nitromethane, with the chemical formula CH₃NO₂, is a simple organic compound consisting of a nitro group (-NO₂) attached to a methyl group (-CH₃), making it an important precursor, solvent, and fuel additive in various industries and scientific disciplines.

Physical Properties and Composition:

  • Density and Melting Point: Nitromethane is a colorless, oily liquid with a density of approximately 1.14 g/cm³ and a melting point of -29.6°C, making it denser and more viscous than water and other common organic solvents.
  • Boiling Point and Vapor Pressure: Nitromethane has a relatively high boiling point of 101.2°C and a low vapor pressure, indicating its stability and low volatility under normal atmospheric conditions.

Chemical Reactivity and Applications:

  • Solvent and Reaction Medium: Nitromethane serves as a versatile solvent and reaction medium in organic synthesis, facilitating a wide range of chemical reactions, including condensation, alkylation, and nitration, due to its polar nature and ability to dissolve both polar and nonpolar compounds.
  • Fuel Additive and Propellant: Nitromethane is used as a fuel additive in high-performance engines, such as those in drag racing and model aircraft, where it enhances combustion efficiency and provides additional power and torque compared to traditional gasoline blends.

Safety Considerations and Environmental Impact:

  • Toxicity and Health Hazards: Nitromethane is highly toxic and poses significant health hazards upon inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact, including irritation, respiratory effects, and central nervous system depression, necessitating proper handling and personal protective equipment.
  • Environmental Contamination: The production and use of nitromethane can result in environmental contamination through spills, leaks, and emissions, leading to soil and water pollution, as well as air quality concerns, particularly in industrial settings and racing facilities.

Regulatory Considerations and Risk Management:

  • Occupational Exposure Limits: Regulatory agencies and occupational health authorities have established exposure limits and guidelines for nitromethane to protect workers and the public from potential health risks associated with its production, handling, and use.
  • Risk Mitigation Strategies: Risk mitigation strategies for nitromethane include engineering controls, such as ventilation and containment systems, as well as administrative controls, such as training, monitoring, and emergency response protocols, to minimize exposure and mitigate potential accidents and incidents.


In conclusion, nitromethane is a valuable compound with diverse applications and significant safety considerations in chemistry, industry, and research. By understanding its properties, applications, and risks, stakeholders can make informed decisions and implement appropriate measures to ensure the safe and responsible use of nitromethane while minimizing its environmental impact and safeguarding human health and well-being.

Here you can read about nitromethane – 75-52-5, CH3NO2, density, melting point.

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