cyanic acid

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Wikipedia.

cyanic acid

a colourless poisonous volatile liquid acid that hydrolyses readily to ammonia and carbon dioxide. Formula: HOCN
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cyanic Acid


an equilibrium mixture of two tautomeric forms, cyanic acid (I) and isocyanic acid (II), the latter being more common under ordinary conditions:

Cyanic acid is a colorless, highly mobile liquid, with a sharp odor. It has a melting point of – 80°C, a boiling point of 23.6°C, and a density of 1.14 g/cm3 (at 0°C). It is readily soluble in water and ether. An aqueous solution of cyanic acid is a rather strong acid, with a dissociation constant of 1 × 10–4. Liquid cyanic acid polymerizes spontaneously even at 0°C, and at 20°C it sometimes explodes upon polymerization. The polymerization products are the cyclic trimer cyanuric acid, (HOCN)3, and the linear polymer cyamelide, (HOCN)n. Cyanic acid hydrolyzes readily in dilute aqueous solutions, a process that proceeds particularly rapidly in the presence of mineral acids:

HOCN + H2O →CO2 + NH3

Cyanic acid may be produced by the catalytic oxidation of hydrocyanic acid at temperatures of 560°C–640°C or by the thermal depolymerization of cyanuric acid in a stream of carbon dioxide. It is an intermediate in the industrial synthesis of melamine from urea. Among the derivatives of cyanic acid that have the greatest practical importance are cyanogen chloride, calcium cyanamide, and the cyanates.


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

cyanic acid

[sī′an·ik ′as·əd]
(organic chemistry)
HCNO A colorless, poisonous liquid, which polymerizes to cyamelide and fulminic acid.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.