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(sī`ənīd'), chemical compound containing the cyano groupcyano group
, in chemistry, functional group that consists of a carbon atom joined to a nitrogen atom by a triple bond; it can be joined to an atom or another group by a single bond to the carbon atom. When a cyano group is joined to hydrogen, it forms hydrogen cyanide.
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, -CN. Cyanides are salts or esters of hydrogen cyanidehydrogen cyanide,
HCN, colorless, volatile, and extremely poisonous chemical compound whose vapors have a bitter almond odor. It melts at −14°C; and boils at 26°C;. It is miscible in all proportions with water or ethanol and is soluble in ether.
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 (hydrocyanic acid, HCN) formed by replacing the hydrogen with a metal (e.g., sodium or potassium) or a radical (e.g., ammonium or ethyl). The most common and widely used cyanides are those of sodium and potassium; they are often referred to simply as "cyanide." Both are white, crystalline, chemically active compounds. They are used as insecticides, in making pigments, in metallurgy (e.g., electroplating and case hardening), and in refining gold and silver by the cyanide processcyanide process
or cyanidation,
method for extracting gold from its ore. The ore is first finely ground and may be concentrated by flotation; if it contains certain impurities, it may be roasted.
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. Organic cyanides are called nitriles. The ethyl ester of hydrogen cyanide (CH3CH2CN) is called variously ethyl cyanide, propionitrile, propane nitrile, nitrilopropane, and cyanoethane; propane nitrile is the approved name in the nomenclature system for organic chemistry adopted by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). Most cyanides are deadly poisons that cause respiratory failure. Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include an odor of bitter almond on the breath, dizziness, convulsions, collapse, and, often, froth on the mouth. In case of cyanide poisoning a doctor should be summoned immediately. If the poison was swallowed, vomiting should be induced. Artificial respiration should be used if needed.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a salt of hydrocyanic acid. The cyanide salts of the alkali metals MCN and the alkaline-earth metals M(CN)2, where M is a metal, are thermally stable but are hydrolyzed in aqueous solutions. The cyanides of the heavy metals are thermally unstable and, with the exception of Hg(CN)2, are insoluble in water.

The oxidation of cyanides leads to the formation of cyanates; for example, 2KCN + O2 → 2KOCN. Many metals upon the action of an excess of potassium cyanide or sodium cyanide yield complexes. This proves useful in the extraction of gold and silver from ores (cyanidation, cyanide process):

4NaCN + 2Au + ½O2 + H2O → 2Na[ Au(CN)2] + 2NaOH

Gold and silver are separated from solution by electrodeposition or by the action of metallic zinc. Solutions of the cyanide complexes of gold, silver, zinc, and other metals are used in electroplating technology for the production of coatings. Cyanides are also used in organic synthesis, for example, in the production of nitriles, and as catalysts (in benzoin condensation).

Cyanides are extremely toxic. (For information on the effect of cyanides on the organism and on safety measures when handling them, seeHYDROCYANIC ACID.)


Bobkov, S. S., and S. K. Smirnov. Sinil’naia kislota. Moscow, 1970.
Zil’berman, E. N. Reaktsii nitrilov. Moscow, 1972.
Tomilov, A. P., and S. K. Smirnov. Adipodinitril i geksamet ilendiamin. Moscow, 1974.
Williams, H. E. Cyanogen Compounds, 2nd ed. London, 1948.
Migrdichian, V. The Chemistry of Organic Cyanogen Compounds. New York, 1947.
Methoden der Organischen Chemie (Houben-Weyl), 4th ed., vol. 8. Stuttgart, 1952.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(inorganic chemistry)
Any of a group of compounds containing the CN group and derived from hydrogen cyanide, HCN.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


, cyanid
1. any salt of hydrocyanic acid. Cyanides contain the ion CN-- and are extremely poisonous
2. another name (not in technical usage) for nitrile
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The aim is to obtain film materials of soluble polyfaryl ether ketone) polymers containing phthalonitrile with relatively high molecular weights, whereas the solvent resistance, thermal properties, and mechanical properties can be enhanced by realization of cure reactions of the cyano groups on terminal phthalonitrile units.
In cyano mesogens, dimerization is believed to be important for the occurrence of reentrant nematic phases because dimers do not pack efficiently into layers perpendicular to the long axis of the dimer.
Though cyanofeerocene is a better acceptor than ferrocene, the cyano group on cyanoferrocene causes the cyclopentadieny1 rings to tilt such that the unsubstiuted side of cyanoferrocene does not have as much separation for the donor to intercollate between the cyclopentadieny1 rings.
The researchers sandwiched PPV in between layers of the new cyano polymer to help charge transport, and they replaced troublesome calcium cathodes with simpler aluminum ones, further improving the film's operation.
The columns examined included standard C18 (250 mm x 4.6 i.d; 5 [micro]m; Hypersil[R], Thermo-scientific), C8 (250 mm x 4.6 i.d; 5 [micro]m; Luna Phenomenex[R]), cyano (150 mm x 4.6 i.d; 5 [micro]m; Zorbax CN[R]; Agilent[R]), phenyl-hexyl (250 mm x 4.6 i.d; 5 [micro]m; Hypersil[TM], Thermo-scientific), Synergi Polar RP (150 mm x 4.6 i.d; 4 [micro]m; Phenomenex), Diol (250 mm x 4.6 i.d; 5 [micro]m; LiChrospher[TM] 100), and C1-SAS (250 mm x 4.6 i.d; 5 [micro]m; Hypersil, Thermoscientific).
Formation of furo[2,3-d]pyrimidinone 2 is believed to proceed via benzoylation of the amino group and conversion of cyano group to the amide group, followed by 1,6-exo-trig cyclization of the amino group to the carbonyl group as formulated in Scheme 1.
The highest oxygen content was 19.8% at 180[degrees]C, which indicated that the hydrolysis degree of cyano group was the deepest under this condition.
Unfortunately, many SFC separations have been forced to utilize older types of stationary phases from normal phase HPLC, such as unmodified silica, diol, amino and cyano. These phases are poorly adapted to SFC and present a number of limitations for SFC separations.
4-N-N-Bis-2' H Ph - N - 237 cyano ethyl [([CH.sub.2] - amino [CH.sub.2] - benzaldehyde [CH.sub.2]) .sub.2] 13.
HCN and chemical evolution: the possible role of cyano compounds in prebiotic synthesis.
[pi]-Conjugated molecules with cyano groups have also been studied because of their electron withdrawing character which leads the wavelength of the emitted light to be shifted [21].