hydrogen cyanide


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hydrogen 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. Its water solution is a weak acid (see acids and basesacids and bases,
two related classes of chemicals; the members of each class have a number of common properties when dissolved in a solvent, usually water. Properties
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) commonly known as hydrocyanic acid or prussic acid. Its salts are called cyanidescyanide
, chemical compound containing the cyano group, -CN. Cyanides are salts or esters of hydrogen cyanide (hydrocyanic acid, HCN) formed by replacing the hydrogen with a metal (e.g., sodium or potassium) or a radical (e.g., ammonium or ethyl).
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. Hydrogen cyanide may be synthesized directly from ammonia and carbon monoxide or from ammonia, oxygen (or air), and natural gas. It is a byproduct of the production of coke from coal and is recovered (along with hydrogen sulfide) from coke-oven exhaust gases. It may also be prepared by reacting a cyanide salt, e.g., calcium cyanide, with a strong acid, e.g., sulfuric acid, or by thermal decomposition of formamide. Because impure hydrogen cyanide can undergo spontaneous explosive polymerization and decomposition, a small amount of stabilizer (usually phosphoric acid) is added to it. The principal use of hydrogen cyanide is in the manufacture of organic chemicals, e.g., acrylonitrile, methyl methacrylate, and adiponitrile, that are used in producing synthetic fibers and plastics. It is also used in the chemical laboratory, and is sometimes used in agriculture as a fumigant. Hydrogen cyanide is found in nature in some vegetable substances, e.g., bitter almond, peach stones, cherry and cherry laurel leaves, and sorghum; it is usually combined in glycoside molecules (see sugarsugar,
compound of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen belonging to a class of substances called carbohydrates. Sugars fall into three groups: the monosaccharides, disaccharides, and trisaccharides. The monosaccharides are the simple sugars; they include fructose and glucose.
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) and is released when they are broken down by enzymes during metabolism.
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hydrogen cyanide

[′hī·drə·jən ′sī·ə‚nīd]
(inorganic chemistry)
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment air quality control officials in January approved a change to Suncor's air pollution permit that exempts the company from a federal requirement to disclose hydrogen cyanide emissions.
The concentration of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) was measured by a UV/Vis spectrophotometer according to the Iso-nicotinic-acid-3-methyl-1-phenyl-5-pyrazolone spectrophotometric method as described in the Chinese national standard Determination of hydrogen cyanide of the Stationary source emission HJ/T28-1999 [15].
Not all information on TCEQ enforcement is readily available, but agency records show that Ascend paid the agency a $6,120 for leaking 178 pounds of hydrogen cyanide in 2011 - three years before six workers were hospitalized.
The toxic gases most commonly formed by combining the chemicals in household cleaners are hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen cyanide (4).
Once called Prussic acid, hydrogen cyanide (HCN) was first isolated from the Prussian blue dye in 1783 by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele.
Written by Christianson, an author and investigative reporter with a particular interest in the history of imprisonment and gas chambers, this book explores in-depth the development of hazardous gases such as chlorine, phosgene, mustard gas, lewisite, hydrogen cyanide, and a variety of nerve agents.
However, new research by a team led by William Randel, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, used satellite readings to show that hydrogen cyanide, a tell-tale ingredient of Asian pollution, was being thrust up by exceptional updrafts of air inside the monsoon's clouds.
According to the Military Times report, troops may have been exposed to dangerous poisons including arsenic, freon, carbon monoxide, ethylbenzene, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfuric acid, xylene and benzene, an aircraft fuel known to cause leukemia.
Among the molecules Ziurys and her team have reported are table salt (NaCl); a compound called phosphorus nitride (PN), which contains two of the five most necessary ingredients for life; molecules of HNC, which is a variant form of the organic molecule, hydrogen cyanide; and an ion molecule form of carbon monoxide that comes with a proton attached (HCO+).
A woman researcher was experimenting with sodium nitroprusside and phosphoric acid - the chemical components of hydrogen cyanide.
I was running on pure adrenaline, or rather adrenaline and nicotine, with a bit of formaldehyde, arsenic, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide thrown in for good measure.
Tobacco smoke contains a host of deadly substances including carbon monoxide, tar, nicotine, arsenic, benzine and hydrogen cyanide.