Sodium cyanide

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White, poisonous solid used for the extraction of Gold and Silver from ores. Sodium cyanide is reacts with moist air or acids to form Hydrogen cyanide which is then used as an Insecticide and Fumigant. In glassmaking, sodium cyanide is used as a reducing agent.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Cyanogran; Cyanegg [DuPont]


  • Highly toxic by ingestion, inhalation, and skin absorption.
  • Contact causes irritation.
  • Reacts with moist air or acids to form highly toxic hydrogen cyanide gas.
  • ThermoFisher: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in water. Slightly soluble in ethanol.

Composition NaCN
CAS 143-33-9
Melting Point 563 C
Density 1.6 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 49.01
Refractive Index 1.452
Boiling Point 1496 C

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 736
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 8750
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: ref. index = 1.452
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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