Sodium cyanide - NaCN

What is Sodium cyanide?

NaCN is a cyanide salt, a sodium salt, and a one-carbon compound with chemical name Sodium cyanide. It is also called Cyanogran or Cyanide of sodium or Cyanobrik. It is extremely poisonous and inhibits various metabolic processes. It is widely used as a test reagent for proper functioning of chemoreceptors and in industrial processes.

Cyanogran is a crystalline solid white in colour which can also be obtained in powder or lump solid form. It contains an equal number of cyanide anions and sodium cations.

Properties of Sodium cyanide – NaCN


Sodium cyanide

Molecular weight/molar mass of NaCN

46.006 g/mol

Density of Sodium cyanide

1.880 g/dm3

Boiling Point of Sodium cyanide

21.15 °C

Melting Point of Sodium cyanide

−9.3 °C

Sodium cyanide structure – NaCN

Sodium cyanide structure

NaCN Uses (Sodium cyanide)

  • Sodium cyanide is used in the extraction of gold.
  • Used in the mining industry.
  • Used as a rodenticide.
  • Used as to clean metals.
  • Used in the manufacturing of dyes.
  • Used in the making of electroplating solution.
  • Used in the production of hydrocyanic acid.
  • Used in agricultural chemicals.
  • Used to prepare nitriles.
  • Used as a chelating agent.

Production of Sodium cyanide

Cyanide of sodium is obtained by reacting hydrogen cyanide (HCN) with sodium hydroxide (NaOH):

HCN + NaOH → NaCN + H2O

In the year 2006, worldwide production of Cyanobrik was estimated to approximately 5,00,000 tons. It was produced by the Castner process which involved the reaction of sodium amide (NaNH2) with carbon at high temperature.

NaNH2 + C → NaCN + H2

Health hazards

Cyanogran is extremely toxic. Safe amount of oral lethal dose in humans is considered to be less than 5 mg/kg for a 70 kg person. This compound is fatal when inhaled absorbed through the skin, or swallowed. Contact with it can cause burns eyes and skin. It is toxic when inhaled, ingested or in contact with vapours, or dusts and may result in death. On reacting with moist air or water it releases corrosive, flammable, toxic gases.

Learn more about the Structure, physical and chemical properties of NaCN from the experts at BYJU’S.

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