Sodium Cyanide

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sodium cyanide

[′sōd·ē·əm ′sī·ə‚nīd]
(inorganic chemistry)
NaCN A poisonous, water-soluble, white powder melting at 563°C; decomposes rapidly when standing; used to manufacture pigments, in heat treatment of metals, and as a silver- and gold-ore extractant.

Sodium Cyanide


NaCN, a colorless hygroscopic crystalline compound, with a melting point of 564°C and density of 1.5955 g/cm3 (at 20°C). Sodium cyanide crystallizes in the form of NaCN·2H2O, but above 34.7°C, it crystallizes in anhydrous form. It is readily soluble in water and forms a 32.4 percent solution at 10°C and a 45.0-percent solution at 35°C. It hydrolyzes in aqueous solutions:

NaCN + H2O ⇆ HCN + NaOH

Like KCN, it readily forms complexes.

In industry, sodium cyanide is produced mainly by the neutralization of hydrocyanic acid by sodium hydroxide, NaOH. (For information on the uses of sodium cyanide, see.) Sodium cyanide is extremely toxic. (For information on its effects on the organism and on safety measures for its handling, seeHYDROCYANIC ACID.)


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