Crystal Structure, Sensitiveness and Theoretical Explosive Performance of Xylitol Pentanitrate (XPN)

Kelly Anne S. Stark, Jason F. Alvino, K. Paul Kirkbride, Christopher J. Sumby, Gregory F. Metha, Claire E. Lenehan, Mark Fitzgerald, Craig Wall, Mark Mitchell, Chad Prior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Xylitol pentanitrate (XPN) is a little-studied nitrate ester of similar molecular structure to the military energetic materials pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) and nitroglycerin (NG). XPN was crystallised from a mixture of ethanol and water by slow evaporation and studied by single crystal X-ray diffraction. XPN crystallises in the centrosymmetric monoclinic space group P2 1 /n, with a calculated density of 1.852 g cm −3 . Sensitiveness analysis of the energetic material revealed it to be a primary explosive, significantly more sensitive than PETN to friction and impact. The calculated heat of formation of XPN, −500.48 kJ mol −1 , and the density were exploited utilising the Cheetah 7.0 suite of programs to predict explosive performance parameters. The theoretical explosive performance of XPN was comparable to the calculated explosive parameters of erythritol tetranitrate (ETN), PETN and cyclotrimethylene trinitramine (RDX).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-549
Number of pages9
JournalPropellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • crystal structure
  • explosive performance
  • Nitrate ester
  • sensitivity
  • Xylitol pentanitrate


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