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Systematic name Azide
Molecular formula N3
SMILES [N-]=[N+]=[N-]
Molar mass 65.0099 g/mol
Appearance Colorless [1]
CAS number 14343-69-2[2]
Boiling point Boiling point:: 673.08 °C [3]
Molecular shape linear[4]
Crystal structure [Linear] hexagonal[5]
Related compounds
Other anions CO2 and N2O [6]
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Disclaimer and references

Azide is a polyatomic ion with the molecular formula N3. It has many properties and special characteristics that make it unique. First of all, Azide's properties include a colorless and odorless substance with a linear shape that can be explosive. Of course there are many more details that make up this compounds properties, but these are the main things that define the compound. Secondly, It occurs naturally in compounds with aryl and alkyl, but can be separated from them by using certain methods. This compound is usually found in other compounds. A couple of the most familiar ones are sodium azide and hydrazoic acid. Thirdly, azide has many uses as well. It can be used for air bags, preservatives in vaccines in the medical field, drugs, agricultural pest controls, and different explosives. Even though it is a very dangerous compound it is still very useful for many things. Lastly, this compound was first discovered in 1809 by a man with the name of Theodore Curtius. Not only did he discover azide, but he also helped chemistry's history and discovery in so many different ways. It is so amazing that God can use people to find and develop small compounds, like azide, and use them to help the world.



Azide is composed of many properties as one might clearly see. First of all, it has a molecular weight of 65.009869 g/mol. Its hydrogen bonder acceptor count is two, though it has nothing in the donor count . It has no rotatable bound count either. Aide's exact mass is 64.998991 g/mol and its monoisotopic mass is 64.998991 g/mol. This clearly shows both masses are relatively close. It has a topological polar surface area of 3 A^2. This compound also has a heavy atom count of 4. The complexity of it results in 15.5. Then lastly, it has a covalently-bonded unit count of 2. Somethings that azide doesn't include are formal charge, isotope atom count, defined atom stereocenter count, undefined atom stereocenter count, defined bond stereocenter count, and undefined bond stereocenter count. [7]


Azide also has a good amount of physical properties that set it apart. In short this chemical is odorless, colorless, and it is a crystalline solid. It color literally ranges from no color to white. It is a solid crystalline with more of a hexagonal type shape. This compound has no smell at all. It does not even have a warning smell like some poisonous chemicals(except in special cases when azide is combined with other chemicals). All in all this compound is a pretty basic compound not to much out of the ordinary. Though it is unique in different ways. For example Azide's color, shape, and non smell set it apart from all the other compounds. It has similar properties to other compounds, it physical properties really make it stand out. [8]

Synthesis / Occurrences

Sodium Azide's appearance.

Azide is a very special compound. In order to conduct experiments with it, one must use very strict safety precautions. Organic azides are mostly seen in aryl and alkyl azides. There are a few different ways to safely separate the azide from an aryl or alkyl. One way is to use monolithic azide reagent. This method is extremely helpful in the separation of azide from the other two natural specimens. Not only can it separate azide, but it can convert it into different chlorides too. This method, of monolithic azide reagent, was first used in 2006 by Steven Ley's research group.[9]

Azide can usually be found with other chemicals. One example of this is sodium azide. Sodium azide is usually an odorless white substance that can be used as a poison. Though it can be have a strong smell when it is combined with certain liquids, such as water or some acids. This strong smell may be used as a warning to people if the aroma is pungent enough. This azide may, in addition, can become a dangerous gas when it comes into contact with solid metals.[10] Another chemical that is frequently combined with azide is hydrogen. Hydrogen azide also known as hydrazoic acid is a very interesting compound. This is also a colorless compound. It is extremely explosive and may also be dissolved in water. This compound is capable of exploding at a room temperature or pressure, showing that azide of any kind can be dangerous. Although it is capable of being handled. This compound can be safely handled in certain situations, when it is dilute.[11]


One of many uses for azide.

Azide chemicals can be used in many things. Some of the more common uses are in air bags, agricultural pest controls, and different explosives. They also can be recognized in the medical field. For example azide can be found in preservatives in different vaccines and in a few types of drugs. First of all when an azide get heated up it starts to decompose very quickly and can even result in an explosion. This reaction can result in many gases being released. That is why it can be used in the air bags of cars. This compound can also be very deadly, especially to viruses and cells. Cells like fungi, bacteria, and even animal and human cells. This is the reason why they are use in pesticides, vaccines, and drugs. These are a few explanations of how they are used.[12]

Azide chemical can also be used in explosives. When something like a very hard solid scrapes, bumps, or impacts an azide it can end in an explosion. This shows that they can explode very easily. That means when anyone uses an azide compound they must be very careful in how they handle it. Explosions mostly happen with inorganic azides. One of these better recognized inorganic azides is Lead azide Pb(N3)2. Lead azide is very sensitive, especially when it is touched or tampered with. The lead azide acts like a gun would. After a gun is set off and the bullet has left it, the gun usually has a ton of gas(smoke) floating around it. It explodes and then gas is produced. The same goes for other azide metals such as copper, silver, mercury, and barium..[13]


Now that it is clear what azides are, where did they start? We know everything started in creation, but when did they get noticed? Well they were first noticed in 1890, by a man of science named Curtius.[14] Theodor Curtius to be exact. He was born on 27th of May in a place called Duisberg, Germany. He became a German chemist and he also taught as a professor. He taught at three different universities. Their names were Kiel, Bonn, and Heidelberg. He contributed a great deal to science and chemistry, including the discovery of azide. Curtius then died on February 8, 1928 in Heidelberg, Germany. Though he didn't die without leaving a mark in chemistry history first.[15]


How azide works in different circumstances


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  2. Azide anion National Institute of Standards and technology. Web. accessed January 13, 2015 Author Unknown.
  3. Azide Royal Society of Chemistry . Web. accessed January 13, 2015 Author Unknown.
  4. . Azide Wikipedia. Web. last modified: 25 September 2014 Author Unknown.
  5. Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions Royal Society of Chemistry . Web. accessed January 13, 2015 Author Unknown.
  6. Azide Wikipedia. Web. last modified: 25 September 2014 Author Unknown.
  7. . sodium azide PubChem. Web. accessed: January 13, 2015 Author Unknown.
  8. . sodium azide PubChem. Web. accessed: January 13, 2015 Author Unknown.
  9. Azide Synthesis Steven Ley Research Group. Web. accessed January 26, 2015 Author Unknown.
  10. Facts About Sodium Azide Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web. last updated April 10, 2013 Author Unknown.
  11. Hydrazoic acid Learn Chemistry. Web. last updated August 31, 2011. Author Unknown
  12. . ChemNote: Azides "Chemsee. Web. accessed: January 11, 2015 Author unknown.
  13. . ChemNote: Azides "Chemsee. Web. accessed: January 11, 2015 Author unknown.
  14. Schneider, Stefan. Liquid azide salts Web. accessed January 26, 2015.
  15. . Curtius, Theodor The Free Dictionary. Web. accessed January 26, 2015 Author Unknown.