The name, pentaerythrite, indicates that the substance contains five carbon atoms and (like erythrite) four hydroxy 1 groups. In commercial practice the reaction is carried out at 65-70°. After 2 hours at this temperature, the calcium is precipitated by means of sulfuric acid, the mixture is filtered, and the filtrate is concentrated and crystallized by evaporation in vacuum. Penta-
Pentaerythrite Tetranitrate (PETN, penta, nipcryth, penthrit) Four equivalents of formaldehyde in warm aqueous solution in the presence of calcium hydroxide react with one equivalent of acctaldchyde to form pentaerythrite. Three of the four react with the three cr-hydrogens of the acctaldchyde, the fourth acts as a reducing agent, converts the —CHO group to —CHa— OH, and is itself oxidized to formic acid.
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