In most explosive molecules a nitro group is present. When NO2 is attached in the right place inside a molecule, it causes that molecule to have explosive properties. When an explosion goes off, it yields an extremely stable N2 molecule. The N2 molecule is held together by a triple bond (one of the strongest bonds that can occur). To break this triple bond would require a tremendous amount of energy; likewise, when this kind of bond is created, an equally tremendous amount of energy is released. This exothermic reaction is what gives nitro compounds their explosive properties. For such a rapid reaction to occur though, oxygen has to be present within the molecule; because the oxygen in the atmosphere can not be available quick enough. Because of this it does not just take a nitrogen atom in a molecule to cause such a dangerous reaction, the nitrogen atom has to be paired with an oxygen atom. Both para- nitrotoluene and para- aminobenzoic are made up of seven carbon atoms, seven hydrogen atoms, one nitrogen atom, and two oxygen atoms, but only the nitrotoluene is explosive. This is due to it being the only one that has a nitrogen atom paired with an oxygen atom. The more nitro compound groups (nitrogen paired with oxygen) a molecule has, the more explosive it is. Without explosives man-kind would still be fighting with bows and arrows. Explosive developments have created: firearms, dynamite, rockets, and other useful tools/weapons. Before Alfred Noble created the stable explosive dynamite, miners and militarists had to use the very unstable nitroglycerin. Nitroglycerin was so unstable that just by dropping a small drop onto the ground would cause an explosion. Nobel diluted nitroglycerin into kieselguhr, also called diatomaceous earth, which then created a putty like explosive, dynamite, that could controlled in a safer and more consistent matter. Dynamite was used in and as weapons of war, but it was mainly used to destroy mountains, or anything else, due to firearms not being able to handle the extreme pressures. Giving us the ability to flatten land to build on caused man-kind to be able to build and go just about anywhere. It has given us the ability to also wage war and conquer other societies with ease. Military campaigns would become even more dangerous to bystanders and those who did not want to take part, due to the extreme danger of explosives. Without explosives many battles and wars could have ended differently; due to not being able to destroy enemy positions or not being able to kill thousands with one bomb. Also without explosives engineering feats such as the Canadian Pacific Railway, Panama Canal, and the removal Ripple Rock would have not been possible. So although nitro compounds have been majorly used for destruction, without it man-kind would have not been able to build and expand like it has.
Boom Boom Juice (Nitro Compounds)