“A Devilish Compound” experiment
How to make nitrogen triiodide, which explodes instantly, releasing purple smoke
You don’t want to mess with this substance! Even chemists are afraid to touch it. Here’s an explosive experiment with nitrogen triiodide.
Reagents and equipment:
- crystal iodine;
- ethyl alcohol;
- filter paper;
Put crystal iodide in the beaker and add ammonia. A dark brown sediment forms. After the sediment has settled, place it in a paper filter and wash away the remains of iodine and ammonia with ethyl alcohol. Dry the sediment for 30 minutes. When the substance has dried, touch it with a feather. It explodes instantly, releasing purple smoke.
In the interaction of iodine and ammonia, a black sediment forms – nitrogen triiodide. Nitrogen triiodide is an extremely explosive substance. With any mechanical impact, it breaks down with the release of purple iodine vapor. This instability is explained by the fact that the molecule of this compound contains three large iodine atoms, and so the nitrogen-iodine bond is very long, and therefore unstable. This compound strives to break these bonds as quickly as possible. Any external impact, even the touch of a feather, causes it to break down instantly into more stale compounds – iodine and nitrogen.
Observe safety rules when working with nitrogen triiodide. Don’t touch it without special protective equipment.