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Author: Subject: Handling Nitrogen Triiodide NI3
IrC
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[*] posted on 4-6-2006 at 11:19


"There must be a way to contain this stuff?"

The chemistry teacher I had was one of the smartest people I ever knew. I remember him sitting there thinking about what had gone wrong as it should not detonate while wet. His conclusion was that a large crystal grew due to how supersaturated my solution was, combined with the heating which allowed a large crystal to grow and become dry on the inside, causing it to become super sensitive. If this is so storage is not possible, as crystals would always form even at normal room temperatures, becoming sensitive over time. I would have to say storage of this chemical is not possible unless there was little to none in the container full of alcohol/ammonia. This I remember, that alcohol with a small amount of ammonia was needed for safekeeping of the compound. I imagine over time this chemical was given up on as there is no way to keep it.
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[*] posted on 9-6-2006 at 18:07
NI3


iirc Seymour Lecker mentions this explosive in his book "improvised explosives" as one of the 10 explosive he describes how to make.
I've never understood why he even mentioned it.
The stuff is deadly, as others have stated - it can go off on its own.
Many experienced chemists have been severely maimed by this unpredictable substance, best to give it a miss.
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[*] posted on 10-6-2006 at 01:11


is there also a NBr3 or a NCl3? If there is, are these substances as sensitive as NI3?
does anybody have information about this?




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[*] posted on 10-6-2006 at 05:08


<a href="http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=2945">Halogenated amines - the others</a>

this threads worth is pretty tenuous.
Although perhaps I'm discriminating? lost proper hearing in one ear and almost lost an eye to this stuff when I was a k3wl who didn't know any better. Best left alone IMHO.




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[*] posted on 10-6-2006 at 06:15


Explosives have a way of weeding out the unworthy - or at least preventing them from typing for awhile.

The idea that you could handle and store Nitrogen Triiodide is a great example of hubris.




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[*] posted on 10-6-2006 at 07:15


I'm NOT going to make ANY experiments with this stuff.
I hope that others also won't try such things.
It IS very dangerous (and illegal..)!
We all know, that NOBODY of us is able to control this stuff, so I think giving any advise for making or handling this stuff is some kind of mad and gets other people into trouble.
DO NOT try to make some NI3 and DO NOT think that you will be able to contol it!

What about sience instead of BOOOM ? would't this be a good idea for you??




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[*] posted on 10-6-2006 at 12:13
NCl3


Nitrogen Trichloride is probably the most unstable of that group. Exposure to sunlight
is all that's necessary for an explosion.




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[*] posted on 10-6-2006 at 18:20


Quote:
Originally posted by Potassiumcyanide
is there also a NBr3 or a NCl3? If there is, are these substances as sensitive as NI3?
does anybody have information about this?


Yes. Each of the halogens forms a nitrogen trihalide, and the stability of such trihalides decreases as one moves down the group.

NF3: NF3 is actually a very stable, fairly inert gas which is not explosive at all.

NCl3: NCl3 is an oily yellow liquid that is fairly shock sensitive and is sensitive to UV light. It forms readily when bleaches and ammonia are mixed and will detonate randomly.

NBr3: NBr3 has been made before, but it is incredibly unstable and detonates as soon as it is formed. It is a nasty little bugger and is only succeeded by NI3 as the most unstable of the nitrogen trihalides.

NI3: NI3 is a reddish brown crystalline substance that is INSANELY unstable. Loud noises, changes in air pressure, changes in temperature, etc. will set it off. The stuff tends to explode as soon as it is formed.

Now NI3 should NOT be confused with the NI3.NH3 adducts that are commonly made. The nitrogen triiodide being referenced here in this thread is somewhat stabilized by the adduct it forms with ammonia molecules. Therefore, when one makes NI3 from iodine crystals and ammonia, you really aren't making nitrogen triiodide, but the nitrogen triiodide/ammonia adduct which is somewhat stable. It will still detonate with a great deal of force and unpredictability, but it's not the same thing as pure NI3.

The stability of the nitrogen trihalides decreases quite a bit as one moves down the group. However this is to be expected as the electronegativity of the halogens decrease and the atomic size increases, thus destabilizing the N-Halogen bond.




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[*] posted on 10-6-2006 at 22:01


Two notes to add:

Nitrogen trichloride is EXTREMELY dangerous. Any contact with organic material (a speck of dust, etc) will cause it to detonate violently. Also its synthesis usually calls for an ammonium salt and chlorine gas. Bleach + ammonia only works in some isolated cases (industrial accidents) and can easily form other products.

The ammonia from the NI<sub>3</sub>.xNH<sub>3</sub> adducts (x is a large #, <12, IIRC) evaporates off and leaves the more unstable NI<sub>3</sub>.xNH<sub>3</sub> adducts (small x) and maybe even some bare NI<sub>3</sub>. I'm not too sure about this last point because, though, making pure NI<sub>3</sub> needs exotic synthesis methods, i.e. for some reason this simple method doesn't work.




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[*] posted on 11-6-2006 at 00:15


How about mixed nitrogen halides, such as NClBr2? Could they be expected to be intermediate in stability between, say, in the case of NClBr2, NCl3 and NBr3? Of course, I imagine it would be quite difficult to prepare these mixed halides pure.

[Edited on 11-6-2006 by Pyrovus]




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[*] posted on 11-6-2006 at 07:28


Quote:
Originally posted by Pyrovus
How about mixed nitrogen halides, such as NClBr2? Could they be expected to be intermediate in stability between, say, in the case of NClBr2, NCl3 and NBr3? Of course, I imagine it would be quite difficult to prepare these mixed halides pure.

[Edited on 11-6-2006 by Pyrovus]


I would assume that it would be insanely difficult to do, if not impossible. The properties of ammonia (the starting product) and all of the halogenation materials would seem to prohibit selective addition/subtraction of different halogens. I.E. once you get the chlorine atoms on there, you really can't selectively pull a few off and replace them with bromine or iodine atoms.

The whole instability of the nitrogen trihalides (outside of NF3) is due to the relatively weak N-X bonds and the huge steric hinderance caused by having the three very large halogen atoms squeezed into a tiny area around the nitrogen atom. Since NCl3 is still insanely unstable, even if it was possible to replace one or two of the Cl atoms with a different halogen the steric hindernace would still exist and you'd have just as "useless" a compound.




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[*] posted on 11-6-2006 at 07:31


How about mono- or dichloramine plus fluorine? NF2Cl could potentially be somewhat stable.

Tim




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[*] posted on 11-6-2006 at 07:36


Quote:
Originally posted by 12AX7
How about mono- or dichloramine plus fluorine? NF2Cl could potentially be somewhat stable.

Tim


Possibly, but would the fluorine leave one of the chlorine atoms on there, or would it rip it right off?




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[*] posted on 11-6-2006 at 07:44


Idunno...F2 does seem pretty harsh, would be better to get say difluoroamine, if it exists, and chlorinate that, eh?

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[*] posted on 11-6-2006 at 07:57


Come to think of it, I recall reading somewhere that tetrafluorohydrazine, N2F4 readily dissociates into NF2. owing to the exceptionally weak N-N bond. I think at room temperature it's something like 50% dissociated. So, if you were to react this with chlorine, you could presumably get NF2Cl:
NF2 + Cl2 -> NF2Cl + Cl.
NF2 + Cl. -> NF2Cl

[Edited on 11-6-2006 by Pyrovus]




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[*] posted on 12-6-2006 at 06:51
Danger Will Robinson


This seems a very popular thread for war stories. Here's mine.
During a lecture at college I witnessed from some distance the
safe transport of NI3 by the adjunct who made it. He appeared from
the back room holding a stick at arms length with a ping pong ball
sized heap of the stuff at it's end. I new immediately what he had
and watched with fascination as he walked very deliberatedly
carrying it like an egg balanced on a spoon, behind the lecturer
across to the other side of the amphitheatre and gingerly layed it
on the bench there. There it remained drying until the the end of
the period when as a demonstration of an exothermic reaction the
lecturer tickled the heap with a feather duster on a pole used to
clean the overhead lighting . I still remember today it sounding
like a 350 Norma magnum with a short barrel from 3 feet away and I
was a good 60 feet away.

Since he was a graduate assistant the adjunct had always prepared
this substance prior to class as it cannot be safely stored. He
later recounted how one time while with his date , having gotten
the stuff on his clothes in much the same manner as [ IrC ] here ,
he periodically snapped crackled and popped throughout that day.

Quote:
Originally posted by IrC
Back in 1967 a 1000 ml beaker exploded while I was stirring it,
leaving me soaking wet. I had to slowly dry out the rest of the
day as I went to my various classes, creating mayhem in each class
as every few minutes my clothes would explode here and there
leaving purple stains all over me. About 7 hours later as I walked
home from school I was still exploding every so often.

Quote:
Originally posted by Quantum
The idea that you could handle and store Nitrogen Triiodide is a
great example of hubris.

I was personally reprimanded by my commander for merely speaking
about making some. I had intended to paint a bit in a book of
matches to place a deck of cards on it and with some other players
try to remove one card at a time without causing ignition.
He was not amused.

The only use I can think of is by performing magicians as the
ignition for nitrocellulose flash paper set off by opening a book.

Take a hint from the wealth of wisdom here , use military grade
primary explosives only. If ease of preparation is your requirement
try Silver Nitride made from Silver oxide and Ammonium Hydroxide
it is much more stable though I would still not want to store it.

.

[Edited on 12-6-2006 by franklyn]
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[*] posted on 15-6-2006 at 00:01


Quote:
Originally posted by franklyn
Helater recounted how one time while with his date , having gotten
the stuff on his clothes in much the same manner as [ IrC ] here ,
he periodically snapped crackled and popped throughout that day.


What's fun is how a small pile of it will detonate upon being jiggled, where only part of the pile is dry. As most people have probably realized, there aren't any flames or much heat involved, but the detonation velocity is fairly ridiculous, and so everything in the area gets coated with almost microscopic particles of the stuff. Once it's atomized like that, it dries rapidly and every surface within range (usually including you) will pop like it's Chinese New Years if you just tickle it.

Another couple cute things to do are take a q-tip and apply it inside keyholes and door lock mechanisms. Gives the person holding the key quite a surprise!

Quote:
Originally posted by Quantum
The idea that you could handle and store Nitrogen Triiodide is a
great example of hubris.


Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is. I made not quite a kilo of it about 14 months ago in preparation for our senior prank at school. In what was probably a wise move, we collectively decided not to include contact explosive in the final prank, so I still have it (basically a lifetime supply). If you try to dry it out and store it, the loss of a finger or two might teach you something about doing your homework before messing with explosives. But as long as it's wet, it's relatively safe, and I thorougly tested this before I even thought about storing it away. So I still have at least 700 or 800 grams of it, sealed in a screw-top plastic vial (with parafilm, in an airtight polybag) under distilled water. If I have company or some other occasion to play around, open the container up, stick it out to dry wherever the detonation is planned, and come back in a bit with my nice long metal pole. As I said, 14 months later, no problems to speak of.
Bottom line: be smart.
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[*] posted on 15-6-2006 at 02:01


I donĀ“t think anybody who makes a kilo of this stuff for a "prank" is smart by definition. I am sure anybody who keeps 800 grams stored, wet or not, is not "smart" but a danger to society.


Have a nice day.
/ORG

[Edited on 15-6-2006 by Organikum]




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[*] posted on 15-6-2006 at 08:52


I'm a bit skeptical of having 800 grams of it not detonate just from the mass of its own crystals resting upon it. Having seen and heard of 8g detonating underwater with minimal provocation, I think your conclusion of storing it safely underwater is a fallacy. Also, considering that you're from the San Francisco Bay Area, (which means California, where everything is a hazardous or carcinogenic) I think finding that much iodine would attract attention seeing as it is watched.


I suggest he gets an immediate promotion from "Harmless" to "Hazard to Self". Using a sensitive high explosive for a senior prank in any post 9/11 American High School is the fast track for incarceration.
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[*] posted on 15-6-2006 at 15:01


My introduction to NI3 came during my senior year of high school. I was watching the movie "The Manhattan Project" on TV one Saturday and in the beginning of the movie they show a prank where someone makes NI3 and puts it on the inside of a drawer. When the stereotypical "geek" goes to close the drawer, it explodes open and everyone laughs. The person who played the prank said that it was nitrogen triiodide. I was curious, so I did some research and looked up the chemical. I then found that it was indeed a real compound and could easily be made.

I asked my high school chemistry teacher if I could make some, and she IMMEDIATELY said 'NO!'. She was not fond of doing any experiments involving halogens for some reason. So I had to wait until college before I made it. I then discovered E-Bay and the wealth of items you can buy there; pure iodine being one of them. (This was actually when my element collection truly first started). So I got the iodine, got some cheap grocery store ammonia and made my first batch.

As has been mentioned, when you make a batch if a large pile is used, the outside stuff will dry first before the inside stuff does. In addition, if you're impatient like I am you'll try and set it off before it's fully dry. As a result, the pile I made and put in the corner of my dorm bathroom detonated, but not all the way. Therefore, a great deal of it was spread all over the place and the bathroom kept popping and crackling for a good few hours.

Once I made it a few times, however, it really lost its "specialness". It soon become more of a hassle to make than it was worth. The pure iodine makes a mess of everything, and the ammonia fumes are nasty to breathe. Just not all that fun anymore. Maybe it's because I'm getting older. :P (Though it was fun putting some sugar crystals on a wet pile and letting it all dry and then detonating when a fly or a hornet went to get the sugar. hehehehe.)




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[*] posted on 15-6-2006 at 15:09


I played with NI3 when I was younger. It did exactly what it said on the bottle.
mick
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[*] posted on 17-6-2006 at 01:39


Quote:
Originally posted by Fleaker
I'm a bit skeptical of having 800 grams of it not detonate just from the mass of its own crystals resting upon it. Having seen and heard of 8g detonating underwater with minimal provocation, I think your conclusion of storing it safely underwater is a fallacy. Also, considering that you're from the San Francisco Bay Area, (which means California, where everything is a hazardous or carcinogenic) I think finding that much iodine would attract attention seeing as it is watched.


Well, like I said, I've kept the triiodide for 14 months-ish. I keep it outside in a shed, not next to my bed with the rest of my element collection and mishmash of chemicals.
I acquired my iodine when I first got interested in chemistry, when things were relatively more lax, through local contacts rather than large companies or eBay. I still have a couple pounds I don't really know what to do with, but its hard to get nowadays, so I appreciate having a stock when I need bits for various purposes.

Quote:
I suggest he gets an immediate promotion from "Harmless" to "Hazard to Self". Using a sensitive high explosive for a senior prank in any post 9/11 American High School is the fast track for incarceration.


I thought the triiodide-prank idea was a recipe for disaster from the beginning, but some kids in my grade were so gung-ho about it, I didn't want to rain on their parade. I did talk some sense into them- not so much because the NI3 would actually hurt anyone (the best way to spread it around is put it in a watering can, so it spreads all over and theres plenty of water to evaporate before it becomes volatile. Note: clean can well afterwards!) but, you know- people freak out at the littlest things nowadays.

If anyone has any suggestions as to a worthwhile use for that absolutely ridiculous amount of contact explosive, toss ideas at me.
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[*] posted on 17-6-2006 at 13:49


I would not feel comfortable with 800 grams of NI3.nNH3 around, not even when it is stored under water. I'm no expert on this subject, but I know of some compounds, which can be like a time bomb, which will set off, when its time expires, but the moment of expiry is unknown. It might form larger crystals over the months, it might loose ammonia over the months, which goes into the water, or even, when you look bad at it, when you stepped out of your bed with the wrong leg, it may set off.

I at least would add some ammonia to the water and store it under dilute ammonia. I've read that this makes the stuff already more safe on storage, but even then, I would not feel comfortable with 800 grams of that stuff around. Also, what, if you ever get a fire in your shed, or when the bottle is accidently dropped, when you take something out of it? There are many scenario's for total disaster and I must not think of a detonation of 800 grams of that stuff.

An interesting experiment with this stuff may be to check whether you can detonate it under water. Take 100 mg or so, put that in a metal sturdy pan full of water and then try to crunch this, while the material is under water.




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[*] posted on 20-6-2006 at 23:14


Quote:
Originally posted by woelen
I at least would add some ammonia to the water and store it under dilute ammonia. I've read that this makes the stuff already more safe on storage, but even then, I would not feel comfortable with 800 grams of that stuff around.


The bottle is airtight- adding ammonia would introduce a variable I don't want to mess with.

Quote:
Also, what, if you ever get a fire in your shed, or when the bottle is accidently dropped, when you take something out of it? There are many scenario's for total disaster and I must not think of a detonation of 800 grams of that stuff.


Actually, fire is pretty much the safest method of disposal. Surprisingly, it will just decompose quite calmly into iodine and nitrogen (and ammonia, if its wet) upon heating with a flame. I mean, if it was already dry and then you lit a match by it, I would suppose it would detonate, but if it's not already dry and dangerous, flame and extreme heat just tear it apart nicely before it can get in the situation to tear itself apart. I have tested this plenty- it is not really feasible to detonate more than a few grams at once, no matter the situation, because it must be dry, and once it is dry, a few grams together will spontaneously decompose, so there is really no 'total disaster' option, as boring as that makes the prospect of me having that 'huge' amount outside.
If there was, I'm sure someone would have devised some unpleasant device to make use of an exothermic reaction to detonate a huge amount at once for quite a destructive potential.

Quote:
An interesting experiment with this stuff may be to check whether you can detonate it under water. Take 100 mg or so, put that in a metal sturdy pan full of water and then try to crunch this, while the material is under water.


I've tried this. It is quite impossible to detonate while wet- I've heard all sorts of wild stories about NI3 detonating under its own weight, completely submerged in water, but frankly none of it is true.
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[*] posted on 1-7-2006 at 17:57


Nitrogen Tri iodide The MOVIE

http://jchemed.chem.wisc.edu/jcesoft/cca/cca0/movies/ni3iod....

http://www.angelo.edu/faculty/kboudrea/demos/nitrogen_triiod...


http://www.wikimirror.com/Nitrogen_triiodide

http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/ni3/ni3j.htm

More links and resources _

http://www.justnitrogen.com/nitrogentriiodide

.
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