Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

State of Na3N

  1. Nov 7, 2011 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    What state is Na3N in at room temperature?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I think it's solid, but I'm not sure.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2011 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    There is, in short, no such stuff.

    You have asked several questions today with no answers yet. There is something seeming a bit strange about them frankly but I hope you get answers.

    I mean I would think anyone who needed to know about that stuff would know it was NaN3 - sodium azide.

    It is a white crystalline substance but the first thing much more important to know than that is that it is very toxic and potentially mortal. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_azide
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011
  4. Nov 7, 2011 #3
    No it's Na3N not NaN3,

    I am talking about the decomposition of solid sodium azide (NaN3) to sodium nitride Na3N and nitrogen gas (N2). I just want to know what state sodium nitride is in at room temperature.
  5. Nov 7, 2011 #4


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    OK sorry. I had forgotten about nitrides because although they exist and are useful they do not seem to come into ordinary chemistry much.

    I had had in mind to say you can manage these days to put the most unexpected combinations of atoms together violating traditional chemistry intuition but then I thought such chemistry would be irrelevant for you as it is for most of us.

    It seems I was not far wrong for sodium nitride. It seems to be a laboratory rarity - extreme rarity. I now read that it is synthesised using atomic beams and deposited on a sapphire surface, which mean that the merest smidgens of it have ever been made and this nitride is said to be very unstable. I don't know that the reaction you mention has ever been observed, sodium azide can be made to decompose just to nitrogen and sodium which of course will soon react with something else. (In airbags).

    I found this: "Na3N—An Original Synthetic Route for a Long Sought After Binary Nitride (pages 1701–1702)
    The game of hide and seek is over: The existence of a binary sodium nitride Na3N (see structure) has been the subject of speculation for a long time. Recently, through a novel experimental method, the synthesis and structural characterization of this compound has been successful. The compound crystallizes in the unexpected anti-Re3O structure type.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/1521-3773%2820020517%2941:10%3C%3E1.0.CO;2-F/issuetoc"[/I] [Broken] So it looks to be a solid which I would expect and the crystal structure has even been determined.

    Quite a recent discovery, 2002. Chemistry teachers usually discourage you from following up oddballs and rarities as you have to know the things you are likely to meet which is hard enough. You are not very likely to end up doing any chemistry that requires sapphire for instance. But knowing about such splendid obscurities has a horrible fascination and is motivating if you are really attracted by chemistry. :smile: I've learned something now from this.

    Are you sure that was the question though? :biggrin:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  6. Nov 8, 2011 #5
    Yes I thought it would decompose into nitrogen and sodium too, but apparently it's Na3N... I'll ask around and post my results.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook