Tetranitratoxycarbon, more formally known as tetrakis(nitratoxycarbon)methane, is a hypothetically-possible molecule, not yet synthesised, and unknown to science until ten-year-old Clara Lazen (a fifth-grader in Kansas City, Missouri) assembled a model of it in 2012. She is credited as co-author of a scientific paper on the molecule.
Science teacher Kenneth Boehr was using ball-and-stick models to represent simple molecules during a fifth-grade class, when ten-year-old Clara Lazen assembled a complex model and asked whether it was a real molecule.
Unsure of the answer, Boehr sent a picture of the model to a chemist friend, Robert Zoellner, a Professor in Chemistry at Humboldt State University. Zoellner checked the molecule against the 'Chemical Abstracts' database and confirmed that Lazen's had a unique and previously unrecognized structure.
Tetranitratoxycarbon consists of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon, with molecular structure C(CO3N)4. As an oxygen-rich compound of carbon and nitrogen, similar to nitroglycerin, it is predicted to have explosive properties, but to be too thermally unstable for practical use.
Tetranitratoxycarbon (since it has not yet been synthesized) has many possible reactions that it may undergo. For example, one possible equation for its decomposition is: C(CO3N)4 --> 5CO2 + O2 + 2N2 with the standard enthalpy change equaling -1326kJ/mol using the bond-energy method. Another potential reaction lies in its combustion with atmospheric oxygen, with the equation: C(CO3N)4 + O2 --> 5CO2 + 2NO2 + N2 with the standard enthalpy change equaling -1144kJ/mol.
- Zoellner, Robert W.; Clara L. Lazen; Kenneth M. Boehr (2012-01-01). "A computational study of novel nitratoxycarbon, nitritocarbonyl, and nitrate compounds and their potential as high energy materials". Computational and Theoretical Chemistry 979: 33–37. doi:10.1016/j.comptc.2011.10.011. ISSN 2210-271X. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
- "Professor Confirms, Publishes 10-year-old’s New Molecule". Humboldt State Now. Humboldt University. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
- "10-Year-Old Accidentally Creates New Molecule in Science Class". Popular Science. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
- "Ten Year Old "discovers" explosive". Explosci.com Now. Explosci. Retrieved 20 March 2012.