trinitrotoluene or TNT (trĪˌnĪˌtrōtŏlˈyōēn) [key], CH3C6H2(NO2)3, crystalline, aromatic compound that melts at 81°C. It is prepared by the nitration of toluene. Trinitrotoluene is a high explosive, but, unlike nitroglycerin, it is unaffected by ordinary shocks and jarring, and must be set off by a detonator. Because it does not react with metals, it can be used in filling metal shells. It is often mixed with other explosives, e.g., with ammonium nitrate to form amatol.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on trinitrotoluene from Fact Monster:

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