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Author: Subject: Worried about nitrogen trichloride
Gremory
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[*] posted on 14-2-2020 at 09:55
Worried about nitrogen trichloride


This morning, i made some nitrogen triiodide, after leaving the ammonia-iodine solution to stand for 30 mins, I filtered off the ammonia solution, and poured the solid left in the flask onto some tissue paper, and I set it off later that day.

Assuming the solution that passed through the filter to be unreacted ammonia, I added some HCl to form ammonium chloride, neutralising the ammonia to prevent harming fish in the environment when I disposed of the solution.

However, the solution turned a mystifying orange colour, and I thought this was to do with impurities in my acid, which I had distilled from brick acid. But when I tried to replicate this with clean ammonia solution and the same acid, I got just misty fumes of ammonium chloride, so clearly the iodine/nitrogen triiodide was playing a part in the reaction.

I'm worried I may have inadvertently formed nitrogen trichloride, according to a reaction something like this:

NI3 + 3HCl ---> NCl3 + 3HI

According to the sciencemadness wiki page on nitrogen trichloride, it is hydrolysed by water, and an acidic solution will destroy it. I've measured the pH of the orange solution, and it's between 1 and 2, so that would suggest that if NCl3 was formed, it would be destroyed by the acidic solution, if not the (admittedly cold) water. The solution was formed about 2h30 ago, and so far has not detonated.

Just to be safe(ish), in case it is nitrogen trichloride, I've put the bottle containing the solution in a large flowerpot, covered it with sand, and left it outside.

Is this nitrogen trichloride? If so, how can I get destroy it without getting a free stay in the hospital (or the morgue). And if it's not nitrogen trichloride, what the hell is it?
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Tsjerk
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[*] posted on 15-2-2020 at 00:40


How much did you make you are afraid going to the morgue? And if it is a significant amount, aren't you afraid the flowerpot will turn a potential detonation into a detonation with flowerpot shrapnel?

So you are making NI3, which is a hypersensitive primary, and then panic over NCl3, which according to your research shouldn't be stable in the given conditions?
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TheMrbunGee
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[*] posted on 15-2-2020 at 00:56


Yea, something is off in you story, how much did you have? And how much ammonia did you had, that you are worrying about the fish. The scale of your experiment is mystery, but after what you told, I do not see any explosion risk other than NI3.



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Gremory
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[*] posted on 15-2-2020 at 01:07


I prepared the nitrogen triiodide with 1 gram of iodine, but a significant proportion of it did not react, and the solution was filtered, so nearly all the nitrogen triiodide must have been removed from the ammonia solution. But it was a quote from Humphry Davy which got me worried at first "It must be used with great caution. It is not safe to experiment upon a globule larger than a pin's head. I have been severely wounded by a piece scarcely bigger. "

But of course, there are multiple reasons why this probably isn't NCl3:

- The orange colour is dispersed throughout the solution, not as an oil at the bottom.

- The solution is acidic, so it should be destroyed if it were present.

- I can find no trace of this reaction being possible

I'm not so much worried about it being a nitrogen trichloride now that I've looked into it a bit more (and if there is any, there won't be much, I reckon the sand filled flowerpot will sufficiently slow down the shrapnel from a detonation) as I am curious what it is.

I wondered whether it might the orange colour might be instead from iodine monochloride, like so:

NI3 + 4HCl ---> NH4Cl + 3ICl
Although this reaction seems like it wouldn't take place, and I can also find no record of it online, ICl is apparently soluble in solutions of strong acids, and there is an excess of HCl.

Oh and btw, what I said about the morgue was a joke.
I would appreciate if anyone else has any ideas.
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Gremory
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[*] posted on 15-2-2020 at 01:10


As for the ammonia, I used around 20ml.
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[*] posted on 15-2-2020 at 03:23


Don't you have access to a sewer? Throwing the remains of this reaction down a drain will make the compounds in there become part of the nice buffer in there.

I would be more worried of a gram of NI3... That will send parts of a beaker into your body.
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[*] posted on 15-2-2020 at 04:39


It is for that reason that I did not use a glass beaker, and I think very little of it the iodine reacted, as I did not get a very powerful, nor even particularly loud detonation.

As I've said, I'm not so much worried about a detonation now, as I am curious what happened, and what is causing the orange colour.
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