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Last updated date: 23rd Jul 2024
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What is Nitration?

In Inorganic chemistry, nitration definition is given as a chemical process class that introduces the nitro group into an organic chemical compound. The term Nitration is also incorrectly applied to different processes forming the nitrate esters among alcohols and nitric acid, which take place in synthesizing the nitroglycerin. The major difference between the final structure of nitro compounds and nitrates are, the nitrogen atom is bonded directly to a non-oxygen atom, mainly to the carbon or other nitrogen atoms. While in the organic nitrates, the nitrogen shares a bond with an oxygen atom, which in turn bonded to a carbon atom.

Nitration Mechanism

Under the branch of Organic chemistry, Nitration can be defined as the process where a hydrogen atom which is an organic compound changes one or more nitro groups. This reaction can be called exothermic as it occurs under high temperatures. When nitration reactions are conducted on a large scale which produces a large amount of heat and multiple Nitrations. Therefore, Nitration reactions are claimed to be hazardous. To prevent such accidents, systematic tooling is used which can dispose of the excess heat generated. 

The nitration reaction comes with its by-products. Some of the by-products of nitration can be highly explosive. Hence, often these nitration reactions are conducted at low temperatures.

Electrophilic Substitution Reaction between Benzene and Nitric Acid

Benzene is treated with concentrated sulfuric acid solution and concentrated nitric acid at a temperature that is not more than 500C. When the temperature rises, there exists a higher chance of obtaining more than one nitro group (-NO2) being substituted in the ring. Nitrobenzene is formed.

\[C_{6}H_{6} + HNO_{3} \rightarrow C_{6} H_{5}NO_{2} + H_{2}O \] or

The sulfuric acid, which is concentrated, acts as a catalyst.

The Formation of Electrophile

An electrophile is the nitryl cation, or nitronium ion, NO2+, formed by the sulphuric and nitric acid reactions.

Electrophilic Substitution Mechanism

Stage 1

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Stage 2

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Nitration is the most studied and researched organic reaction. Both the aromatic and aliphatic compounds can be nitrated by different methods such as heterolytic (electrophilic and nucleophilic) and radical nitrations. Aromatic nitration is the most frequent, and the Aliphatic is a free radical electrophilic. Nitroaromatic compounds are used as intermediates in plant synthesis, pharmaceuticals, dyestuffs, and insecticides.

Aromatic Nitration

The typical nitration syntheses apply so-called "mixed acid", a mixture of sulfuric acid and concentrated nitric acids. This mixture forms the nitronium ion (NO2+), the active species in the aromatic nitration. This active ingredient that can be isolated in the nitronium tetrafluoroborate case also affects nitration without the need for mixed acid. In mixed-acid synthesis, sulfuric acid is not consumed and thus acts as a catalyst and an absorbent for water as well. In the benzene case's nitration, the reaction is conducted at a warm temperature, which does not exceed 500C. The process is one of the examples of electrophilic aromatic substitution, which involves the attack using the electron-rich benzene ring:

There are also some alternative mechanisms that have been proposed, including the one involving a Single Electron Transfer (SET).

Nitrating Agents

  • Concentrated, Fuming, and aqueous nitric acid

  •  Mixtures of nitric acid with sulfuric acid, acetic anhydride, acetic acid, chloroform, and phosphoric acid

  • Nitrogen tetroxide, \[ N_{2} O_{4} \]

  • Nitrogen pentoxide, \[ N_{2} O_{5} \]

To make an intelligent choice of nitrating system for the specific nitration, it is desirable to know what species exist in the various systems and understands the reaction mechanism under consideration.

Thermodynamics of Nitration

  • Nitration reaction results are highly exothermic.

  • The thermal properties of nitrating acids study are required for an adequate understanding of this unit process.

  • The nitration reaction must be controlled by systematic cooling designed to withdraw the evolved energy.

  • When the entire energy set free by an exothermic reaction is forced to appear as heat, its quantity lost to the cooling mechanism equals the decrease in enthalpy \[ Q = - \triangle H \]

Applications of Nitration

  • Nitration reactions are notably used in the production of explosives such as converting guanidine to nitroguanidine and converting toluene to trinitrotoluene.

  • They are also widely used as chemical intermediates and precursors.

  • Nitration can also add nitrogen to a benzene ring, which can be used in substitution reactions further.

  • The group of nitro acts as a ring deactivator. Having nitrogen present in a ring is very useful because it can be used as a directing group and a masked amino group.

  • The products of aromatic nitrations are more essential intermediates in industrial chemistry.

Engineering Factors For Nitration

1. Temperature

The temperature affects the below factors in aromatic nitrations. The kinetic rate is constant for various chemical steps increases with the temperature.

Solubilities present in the acid phase of both the nitrated and uninitiated aromatics increase with a temperature probe.

Viscosities decrease and the diffusivity coefficients increase with temperature.

Also, the interfacial area changes with the temperature. Equilibrium constants change with a temperature change.

2. Agitation

The increased degree of agitation tends to promote reactant transfer in the two-phase system, and as a result, increased agitation causes an increased rate of reaction generally.

3. Composition 

The composition of the organic phase and acid affect the concentration of the reactants. It also affects the concentration effect of mutual Solubilities of the two phases to some extent.

4. Ratio

The ratio of acid to the organic phase is significant relative to the type of emulsion formed.

FAQs on Nitration

1. Mention about Ipso Nitration?

With aryl chlorides, nonaflates, and triflates, ipso substitution can occur as well in the so-called ipso nitration. In 1971, firstly, the phrase was used by Perrin and Skinner in an investigation into trichloroanisole nitration. In one protocol, the 4-chloro-n-butylbenzene is reacted with sodium nitrite in at-butanol in the presence of 0.5 mol% Pd2(dba)3 phase-transfer catalyst and a biaryl phosphine ligand to 4-nitro-n-butylbenzene. 

2. What is the difference between Nitrites and Nitrates?

‘Nitrite’ and ‘Nitrate’ are inorganic compounds that are composed of oxygen and nitrogen. Both of these terms are often used interchangeably because of similar pronunciations. There is a difference in their shape, chemical structure, and properties because of the number of oxygen atoms in each compound.

Following are some of the differences between nitrite and nitrate:

  • Nitrates are the salts with a negative ion, called nitrate.

  • Nitrites are the salts with a negative ion, called nitrite.

  • Nitrate ion has the formula,NO3

  • Nitrite ion has the formula NO2.

  • For example, Ca(NO3)2 (calcium nitrate) and NaNO3 (sodium nitrate) both are nitrates.

  • And, Ca(NO2)2 (calcium nitrate) and NaNO2 (sodium nitrite) both are nitrites.

3. Is there any limit to the number of attempts for NEET exams?

Earlier the students were limited to three attempts to clear the NEET exams. But this was the case up until the year 2020. Now there is no such limit on the number of attempts provisionally. There is an ongoing case in court for the same. As the matter is still in court and the decision is not yet declared candidates of the SC/ST/OB category can appear for the NEET exams. The age bar for candidates is 25 years and above for this exam.

4. What all should be included with the photograph while uploading it?

Many candidates upload their passport size photographs with a white background, name, and date at the bottom. But these were required earlier by the candidates. The latest notification issued on the same matter indicates that name and date are no more a requirement for candidates. The uploaded photograph should be recently clicked for easy identification. The candidates can read more about the instructions regarding the upload of photographs on the official website of NEET. 

5. Have there been any changes in NEET in recent years?

There have been many changes in recent years regarding the NEET exams. Those seeking admissions for medical courses now only have to appear for a single entrance exam, that is, NEET.  NEET exam has dismissed the other entrance exams such as JIPMER and AIIMS in the medical field. The 2021 registration process for NEET exams was conducted in 2 sets. There have been slight changes in the exam pattern in 2021. Each subject has section A which consists of 35 questions and section B which consists of 15 questions. Candidates can attempt any 10 questions in section B. However, there have been no updates regarding NEET 2025 yet. 

6. What is the basic eligibility criteria for NEET exams?

While applying for NEET exams 2025, it is mandatory for the candidates ought to be at least 17 years of age as of December 31st of that year. If a candidate is born on December 31st, it will be considered under the criteria as well. Candidates appearing for the exam must have completed class 12 or an equivalent exam from a centrally recognized board or state board and hold a major in subjects Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and English. Candidates from OCI, PIO, and NRI backgrounds can also appear for this exam. The qualifying marks required by candidates in their board exams are 50% for the general category and 40% for SC/ST/OBC category.