Decomposition of Nitrogen Triiodide

 

Hazards: 

CAUTION! WHEN DRY, NITROGEN TRIIODIDE IS EXTREMELY UNSTABLE AND CAN DETONATE UNEXPECTEDLY.  A SLIGHT TOUCH OR EVEN MOVEMENT OF AIR CAN SET OFF THE LOUD EXPLOSION.  In contrast, wet nitrogen triiodide is relatively safe to handle.

When dry, nitrogen triiodide is extremely unstable and can detonate unexpectedly.  This demo produces a loud explosion.  You may wish to cover your ears.  Ammonia and iodine cause burns.  Avoid contact.

 

Materials: 

50 mL beaker

stirring rod

spatula

filter papers

feather mounted on a long pointer

ringstand with three iron rings

 

Procedure: 

To detonate, touch the bottom circle with a feather mounted on a long pole.  The explosion will detonate the other two portions.

 

Discussion: 

The decomposition of nitrogen triiodide is expressed in the following balanced equation:

8NH3 + NI3 ==> 5N2 + 6NH4I + 9I2

 

 

To schedule a demonstration, please send an email to the demonstration lab.

 

Contact:

Eric Camp

Lecture Demonstration Technician

Bagley Hall 171

(206) 543-1606

ericcamp@uw.edu

 

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