Hexanitrostilbene (HNS), also called JD-X, is an organic compound with the formula [(O2N)3C6H2CH]2. It is a yellow-orange solid.[1] It is used as a heat-resistant high explosive. It is slightly soluble (0.1 - 5 g/100 mL) in butyrolactone, DMF, DMSO, and N-methylpyrrolidone.

IUPAC name
Other names
1,1'-(1,2-ethenediyl)bis[2,4,6-trinitrobenzene]; 1,2-bis-(2,4,6-trinitrophenyl)-ethylene; hexanitrodiphenylethylene, HNS
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.039.525
UN number 0392
TNT mixtures: 0388, 0389
Molar mass 450.23 g/mol
Appearance Yellow crystalline powder
Density 1.7 g/cm3
Melting point 316 °C (601 °F; 589 K)
Explosive data
Shock sensitivity Low
Friction sensitivity Low
Detonation velocity 7000 m/s
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Production and use

It is produced by oxidizing trinitrotoluene (TNT) with a solution of sodium hypochlorite. HNS boasts a higher insensitivity to heat than TNT, and like TNT it is insensitive to impact. When casting TNT, HNS is added at 0.5% to form erratic micro-crystals within the TNT, which prevent cracking.[1] Because of its insensitivity but high explosive properties, HNS is used in space missions. It was the main explosive fill in the seismic source generating mortar ammunition canisters used as part of the Apollo Lunar Active Seismic Experiments.[2]

Its heat of detonation is 4 kJ/g.[3]

It was developed by Kathryn Grove Shipp at the U.S. Naval Ordnance Laboratory in the 1960s and has been improved on since then.[4]

See also


  1. Jacques Boileau, Claude Fauquignon, Bernard Hueber and Hans H. Meyer "Explosives" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, 2009, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. doi:10.1002/14356007.a10_143.pub2
  2. NASA reference publication
  3. Hexanitrostilbene and Its Properties
  4. Peter Golding, Asoka M. Jayaweera-Bandara, Henry Duffin, "Production of HNS" Patent 5023386. Filed: January 4, 1990.
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