- A cyanide is any chemical compound that contains monovalent combining group CN
Cyanide & Happiness facts
- This group, known as the cyano group, consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom
- In inorganic cyanides, such as sodium cyanide and potassium cyanide this group is present as the negatively charged polyatomic cyanide ion (CN−); these compounds, which are regarded as salts of hydrocyanic acid, are highly toxic
- The cyanide ion is isoelectronic with carbon monoxide and with molecular nitrogen
- Organic cyanides are usually called nitriles; in these, the CN group is linked by a covalent bond to a carbon-containing group, such as methyl (CH3) in methyl cyanide (acetonitrile)
- Because they do not release cyanide ions, nitriles are generally less toxic, or in the case of insoluble polymers such as acrylic fiber, essentially nontoxic unless burned
- Hydrocyanic acid, also known as hydrogen cyanide, or HCN, is a highly volatile liquid used to prepare acrylonitrile, which is used in the production of acrylic fibers, synthetic rubber, and plastics
- Cyanides are employed in a number of chemical processes, including fumigation, case hardening of iron and steel, electroplating, and the concentration of ores
- In nature, substances yielding cyanide are present in certain seeds, such as the pit of the cherry and the seeds of apples
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