Explosion of nitrogen triiodide

Special substance explodes on hitting

Scientific name: Preparation and decomposition with an explosion of nitrogen triiodide

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Safety

Wear eye protection goggles. Open air or hood. Non-combustible materials must be around.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

4 NH3 + 3 I2 → 3 NH4I + NI3 (theoretical)

2 NI3 → N2 + 3 I2 (theoretical)

5 NH3 + 3 I2 → 3 NH4I + NI3*NH3 (real)

8 NI3*NH3 → 5 N2 + 6 NH4I + 9 I2 (real)

Step-by-step instruction

WARNING! This experiment is dangerous! You should NOT perform this at home. ONLY carry out this experiment, if you are a trained chemist, and you understand local safety and legal requirements, which are required to perform such experiments

  1. Weigh out 2 grams of iodine crystals. Grind them in a mortar.
  2. Pour 60 ml of aqueous ammonia (about 30%) in a beaker
  3. Add iodine crystals to aqueous ammonia with stirring.
  4. Pass the resulting mixture through a piece of filter paper.
  5. Dry the filter paper with the precipitate.
  6. Hit the dried paper with a hammer.
  7. Observe the explosion with release of purple iodine vapor.

Scientific background

The substitution of hydrogen for iodine atoms takes place in the synthesis. The resulting material explodes by mechanical action. Instability caused by the big length of the bond N-I and the huge size of three iodine atoms per one nitrogen atom in the substance, and so the decomposition reaction has low activation energy.

Danger:
Coolness:
Difficulty:

Published on 20 April 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst