When solid, dry nitrogen triiodide is gently touched with a feather, a sharp explosion and a puff of violet smoke (I2 vapor) occur.
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)
Handle only when wet! Use ear protection. Be careful with this stuff.