Usage areas of Sodium cyanide
Sodium cyanide is an inorganic compound with the formula NaCN. It is a white, water-soluble solid. Cyanide has a high affinity for metals, resulting in the high toxicity of this salt. Its main application is gold mining, also exploiting its high reactivity towards metals. When treated with acid, it forms the toxic gas NaCN.
Sodium cyanide is produced by treating hydrogen cyanide with sodium hydroxide:
HCN + NaOH → NaCN + H20
- NaCN is mainly used in the mining industry for the extraction of gold and other precious metals. This application exploits the high affinity of gold (I) to oxidize gold metal producing sodium gold cyanide salt (or gold NaCN) and sodium hydroxide and cause dissolution in the presence of air (oxygen) and water.
- In a similar process, potassium cyanide (KCN, a close relative of NaCN) is used to produce potassium gold cyanide (KAu(CN) 2). No other methods are available for this extraction process.
- Some commercially important chemical compounds are derived from cyanide, including cyanuric chloride, cyanogen chloride, and many nitriles.
- In organic synthesis, cyanide, classified as a potent nucleophile, is used to prepare nitriles, which are commonly found in many specialty chemicals, including pharmaceuticals.
- Because it is highly toxic, NaCN is used to kill or stun quickly, such as in illegal cyanide fishing and jar picking used by entomologists.
Application of Sodium cyanide
Extraction of Gold and Sliver from ores, electroplating, Heat of metals (case hardening), making hydrocyanic acid, as an intermediate for the production of Agrochemicals, cleaning metals, manufacture of dyes and pigments, Nylon intermediates, ore flotation and also used as an intermediate for production of many organic chemicals and pharmaceutical intermediates.
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