What is Magnesium nutride?
Magnesium-nitride, an inorganic chemical compound with the chemical formula Mg3N2, is part of the cubic crystal system. At room temperature pure magnesium is yellow-green, but it contains some magnesium oxide impurities. Magnesium is gray. Like other metal nitrides like magnesium nitride it reacts with the water to make ammonia. This can be used as a catalyst.
What does magnesium nitride actually look like?
Magnesium-nitride is often called yellow. However, we have never seen any yellow residue after the first heat. Students notice the lack of yellow products often and silently skip or ask about the second heat.
Is magnesium nitride water-soluble?
Magnesium-nitrate, a water-soluble source for crystalline magnesium, is compatible with both nitrates (acidic) and low pH compounds. Magnesium compounds containing nitrates are generally water-soluble. Oxidants are also available for nitrate compounds.
Application of Magnesium Nitride
Magnesium oxide can be used as catalyst to synthesise cubic boron trioxide. This was also used in the successful first synthesis.
Robert Wentorf, a 1957 chemist, attempted to convert hexagonalboron nutride into cubic boron nutride. He tried various methods to convert the boron nitride into cubic boron tiride. He tried all possible catalysts (such those used for diamond synthesis), but nothing worked.
He added magnesium to hexagonal-boron nitride  later out of curiosity and desperateness. It was discovered that the magnesium contained tiny dark lumps that could scratch polished boron nitride, which was the only known to cause such scratches at the time.
Wentorf noticed ammonia-like odors in magnesium nitride and moist air. He concluded that magnesium nitride was formed by the reaction between magnesium nitride and boron. This acted as a catalyst to transform hexagonal boron nutride into cubic.
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