I attended high school in the 1960s. A school chum hooked me on chemistry. I made it my career. He made the subject interesting by his anecdotes. One concerned the contact explosive, nitrogen triiodide (NI₃). He laughed at the idea of painting a toilet seat with the stuff. Any kid who would site down on it would get the surprise of his life.
Making Nitrogen Triiodide
How may nitrogen triiodide be produced? In pure form, it is quite a complex task, beyond the resources of most budding chemists. However, in not-so-pure form, it is made by combining iodine (I₂) with ammonia (NH₃) dissolved in water—ammonium hydroxide (NH₃ + H₂O → NH₄OH)—existing in complex form with molecules of ammonia, apparently [NI₃·(NH₃)n] where n is 1 or 3.
More importantly, is it simply the fun stuff of pranks, or is it dangerous to use? Hopefully the reader is a person of good sense. Watch the video below to see if you don’t agree it is too dangerous to casually play with as some sort of student play toy.
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