Detection of Explosives: Janovsky Test Dinitrotoluene and Trinitrotoluene Test

Dinitrotoluene and trinitrotoluene with potassium hydroxide form a compound with characteristic red-violet color.

Scale, 50 mL laboratory beaker, glass storage bottles, a spot plate (Fig. 1).

Materials and Chemicals
• Potassium hydroxide (conc. solution)
• Aceton

Fig. 1. Materials


Fig. 2. Characteristic color of the test

A few milligrams of sample is dissolved in a drop of acetone and then mixed with a drop of strong potassium hydroxide solution. A characteristic red color (Fig. 2) indicates di- and tri-nitroaromatic compounds.