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Name: Krystal
Status: Student
Age: 17
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 

How did nitroglycerine go from an explosive to a medicine?

Hi Krystal...yes...looks like something impossible but it is true... Nitroglycerin or glyceryl trinitrate is a high explosive, and also component of many dynamites.

It molecular formula is C3H5(ONO2)3, it has a high nitrogen content( 18.5%) and contains more than enough oxigen atoms to oxidize the carbon and hydrogen atoms while nitrogen is beeing liberated, so it is one of the most powerful explosives known.

Its detonation generates gases that would occupy more than 1,200 times the original volume at room temperature. But since the heat liberated raises the temperature up to 5,000 degrees C, the pressure goes over 20,000 atm, so... Now for the medicinal use: trinitroglycerin, as other related drugs are used for relief of chest pain in coronary heart disease, the so called angina pectoris. The effect is done by relaxing the coronary blood vessel (and others also) so the coronary blood flow increases and blood pressure falls. In high doses, anti-anginal drugs also depress heart muscle contractions and decrease the heart rate. The mechanism of anti-anginal action has not yet been established with certainty but it is probably indirect, either by an improvement in the oxigen supply to the heart or a reduction in the oxigen required by the heart to function regurlarly.

Strange...but both actions seem to be results of the oxigen in the molecule Anyway...take in account also that the quantity used as medicine is minimal.

Thanks for asking NEWTON!

((Dr.Mabel Rodrigues)

It is also used together with nitrocellulose in some propellants espetially for rockets and missiles.

By other hand is is employed as vasodilator to ease cardiac pain, as in the case of patients with angina pectoris

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