Sodium azide sample
| IUPAC name
| Systematic IUPAC name
| Other names
|Molar mass||65.0099 g/mol|
|Density||1.846 g/cm3 (20 °C)|
|Melting point||275 °C (527 °F; 548 K) (violent decomposition)|
|Boiling point||Violent decomposition|
| 38.9 g/100 m; (0 °C)|
40.8 g/100 m; (20 °C)
55.3 g/100 m; (100 °C)
|Solubility|| Very soluble in anhydrous ammonia|
Slightly soluble in benzene
Insoluble in acetone, chloroform, diethyl ether, hexane, toluene
|Solubility in methanol||2.48 g/100 m; (25 °C)|
|Solubility in ethanol||0.22 g/100 m; (0 °C)|
|Vapor pressure||~0 mmHg|
Std enthalpy of
|Safety data sheet||ScienceLab|
|Flash point||300 °C|
|Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):|
LD50 (Median dose)
|27 mg/kg (oral, rats/mice)|
| Lithium azide|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Sodium azide is a sodium salt with the chemical formula NaN3.
Sodium azide will decompose at temperatures over 300°C to yield nitrogen gas.
- 2 NaN3 → 2 Na + 3 N2
In contact with a strong acid will release hydrazoic acid.
- NaN3 + H+ → HN3 + Na+
Sodium azide can be destroyed by reacting it with nitrous acid
- 2 NaN3 + 2 HNO2 → 3 N2 + 2 NO + 2 NaOH
Sodium azide is a white odorless salt. Sodium azide is soluble in water (40.8 g/100 mL at 20 °C) and ammonia, but insoluble in acetone, ether, chloroform and hexane.
Industrially sodium azide is prepared via "Wislicenus process", by reacting sodium amide with nitrous oxide. Sodium amide is prepared by reacting metallic sodium with anhydrous ammonia, in inert atmosphere.
- 2 Na + 2 NH3 → 2 NaNH2 + H2
- 2 NaNH2 + N2O → NaN3 + NaOH + NH3
As this method uses metallic sodium and inert conditions, it is expensive for the amateur chemist, though not impossible. Here's one person who managed to make it work.
A less complex synthesis involves the reaction of a nitrite ester with hydrazine:
- R-ONO + N2H4 + NaOH → NaN3 + R-OH + 2 H2O
- Generating pure nitrogen gas
- Preparation of pure sodium
Sodium azide is extremely toxic. The toxicity of azides is similar that of cyanides, the lethal dose for an adult human is around 0.7 g.
Sodium azide should be stored in spark-free containers, away from moisture or any acidic vapors.
When disposed of, it must never be poured down the drain, as it will react to either copper or lead plumbing to yield hydrazoic acid. Hydrolysis can also occur in aqueous solutions, at certain pH. Sodium azide must be treated with nitrous acid before being discarded. Acidified sodium nitrite can also be used.