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Chemistry LibreTexts

Feather Exposion

  • Page ID
    3114
  • [ "article:topic", "Fundamental" ]

    When solid, dry nitrogen triiodide is gently touched with a feather, a sharp explosion and a puff of violet smoke (I2 vapor) occur.

    Introduction

    Reactions

    Making nitrogen triiodide (NI3) involves several reactions:

    NH3 + H2O + I2 -> NH4I + HOI

    NH3 + 3HOI -> NH3·NI3 + 3H2O

    NH3 + 2HOI ->  NHI3 + 2H2O

    NH3 +3HOI -> NI3 + 3H2O

    The decomposition (explosion) of nitrogen triiodide occurs via this reaction:

    8 NH3·NI3 (s) -> 5 N2 (g) + 6 NH4I (s) + 9 I2 (s)

    Safety

    Handle only when wet! Use ear protection. Be careful with this stuff.