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Hydrogen cyanide (with
the historical common name of Prussic acid) is a chemical compound with
chemical formula HCN.
It is a colorless,
extremely poisonous liquid that boils slightly above room temperature at
26 °C (79 °F).
Hydrogen cyanide is a
linear molecule, with a triple bond between carbon and nitrogen.A
solution of hydrogen cyanide in water is called hydrocyanic acid. The
salts of hydrogen cyanide are known as cyanides.
HCN is produced on an
industrial scale and is a highly valuable precursor to many chemical
compounds ranging from polymers to pharmaceuticals.
The most important
process is the Andrussow oxidation invented by Leonid Andrussow to
prepare hydrogen cyanide in which methane and ammonia react in the
presence of oxygen at about 1200 °C over a platinum catalyst.
In the Shawinigan
Process, hydrocarbons, e.g. propane, are reacted with ammonia to form
Hydrogen Cyanide may be produced naturally by microorganisms as well as
from the cyanogenic degradation of glycosides.
HCN is removed from
gas mixtures containing hydrogen sulphide by treating the gas mixture
with a catalyst comprising the elements nickel, uranium and thorium
disposed as their oxides on a gamma alumina support.
measuring cell for detecting hydrogen cyanide by means of at least one
measuring electrode and a counter electrode disposed in an electrolyte.
Al2O3 was able to be
used as catalyst for continuous operation in the preparation of hydrogen
cyanide from hydrocarbons and ammonia, preferably in the BMA method.
Process for removing
HCN from ethanedinitrile by contacting hydrogen cyanide-containing
ethanedinitrile with an organic reagent under formation of a covalent
In the laboratory,
small amounts of HCN are produced by the addition of acids to cyanide
salts of alkali metals.
HCN is the precursor
to sodium cyanide and potassium cyanide, which are used mainly in gold
and silver mining and for the electroplating of those metals.
HCN is obtainable from
fruits that have a pit, such as cherries, apricots, apples, and bitter
almonds, from which almond oil and flavoring are made. Many of these
pits contain small amounts of cyanohydrins such as mandelonitrile and
amygdalin, which slowly release hydrogen cyanide.
HCN is formed in
interstellar clouds through one of two major pathways via a
neutral-neutral reaction and via dissociative recombination.
Sodium and Potassium
cyanide & other cyanide salts may be made from hydrogen cyanide and
these are widely used in metal processing including electroplating and
HCN have also been
used as a fumigant to control pests in grain stores and also been used
for the disinfestation of buildings, such as flour mills, warehouses and
hydrogen cyanide fumigation was measured in several varieties of
hawaiian cut flowers and foliage as a potential disinfestation
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