Nitrogen trichloride

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Template:Chembox E numberTemplate:Chembox SolubilityInWater
Safety data
Other names Trichloramine
Nitrogen(III) chloride
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RTECS number QW974000
Molar mass 120.36 g/mol
Appearance yellow oily liquid
Density 1.635 g/mL, liquid
Melting point
Boiling point
Viscosity ? mPa·s at ? °C
Molecular shape trigonal pyramidal
Dipole moment 0.6 D
Std enthalpy of
+232 kJ/mol
Standard molar
? J.K−1.mol−1
EU classification {{{value}}}
Related compounds
Other anions {{{value}}}
Other cations {{{value}}}
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state
(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)

Infobox disclaimer and references

Nitrogen trichloride, also known as trichloramine, is the chemical compound with the formula NCl3. This yellow, oily, pungent-smelling liquid, is most commonly encountered as a byproduct of chemical reactions between ammonia-derivatives and chlorine (for example, in swimming pools between disinfecting chlorine and urea in urine from bathers). In pure form, NCl3 is highly reactive. Nitrogen trichloride can form in small amounts when public water supplies are disinfected with monochloramine. Nitrogen trichloride was trademarked as Agene and used to artificially bleach and age flour. It has been used as a teargas.

Preparation and structure

The compound is prepared by treatment of ammonium salts, such as ammonium nitrate with chlorine:

4 NH3 + 3 Cl2 → NCl3 + 3 NH4Cl

Intermediates in this coversion include chloramine and dichloramine, NH2Cl and NHCl2, respectively.

Like ammonia, NCl3 is a pyramidal molecule. The N-Cl distances are 1.76 Â, and the Cl-N-Cl angles are 107°.[1] The electronegativities are very similar for nitrogen (3.04) and chlorine (3.16).


Nitrogen trichloride is a dangerous explosive, being sensitive to light, heat, and organic compounds. Pierre Louis Dulong first prepared it in 1812, and lost two fingers and an eye in two separate explosions. An explosion from NCl3 blinded Sir Humphry Davy temporarily, inducing him to hire Michael Faraday as a coworker. Belgian researchers reported a possible link between NCl3 and rising numbers of childhood asthma cases.[2]


  1. Holleman, A. F.; Wiberg, E. "Inorganic Chemistry" Academic Press: San Diego, 2001. ISBN 0-12-352651-5.
  2. Bernard A, Carbonnelle S, de Burbure C, Michel O, Nickmilder M (2006). "Chlorinated pool attendance, atopy, and the risk of asthma during childhood" (PDF). Environmental Health Perspectives. 114 (10). Text " pages 1567-1573 " ignored (help)

Further reading

  • Jander, J. (1976). Adv. Inorg. Chem. Radiochem. 19: 2.
  • P. Kovacic, M. K. Lowery, K. W. Field (1970). "Chemistry of N-bromamines and N-chloramines". Chemical Reviews. 70 (6). doi:10.1021/cr60268a002. Text " pages 639-665

" ignored (help)

  • Hartl, H.;, Schoner, J.; Jander, J.; Schulz, H. (1975). "Structure of Solide Nitrogen-Trichloride (-125°C)". Zeitschrift für Anorganische und Allgemeine Chemie. 413 (1). Text " pages 61-71

" ignored (help)

  • Cazzoli, G.; Favero, P. G.; Dalborgo, A. (1974). "Molecula-Structure, Nuclear-Quadruple Coupling-Constant and Dipole-Moment of Nitrogen Trichloride from Microwave Spectroscopy". Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy. 50 (1–3). Text " pages 82-89

" ignored (help)

  • Bayersdo, L.; Engelhar, U., Fischer, J.; Hohne, K.; Jander, J. (1969). "Nitrogen-chlorine compounds: Infrared spectra and Raman spectra of nitrogen trichloride". Zeitschrift für anorganische und allgemeine Chemie. 366 (3–4). Text " pages 169-

" ignored (help)

External links

de:Stickstofftrichlorid lt:Azoto trichloridas hu:Nitrogén-triklorid