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Encyclopedia > Potassium cyanide
Potassium cyanide
CAS number 151-50-8
EINECS number 205-792-3
RTECS number TS8750000
Molecular formula KCN
Molar mass 65.12 g/mol
Melting point

634°C Image File history File links Size of this preview: 387 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (2196 × 3398 pixels, file size: 425 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) photo of old pot of poison, (Hampshire, UK, April 2006), by R. de Salis. ... CAS registry numbers are unique numerical identifiers for chemical compounds, polymers, biological sequences, mixtures and alloys. ... The EINECS number (for European Inventory of Existing Chemical Substances) is a registry number given to each chemical substance commercially available in the European Union between 1 January 1971 and 18 September 1981. ... RTECS, also known as Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances, is a database of toxicity information compiled from the open scientific literature that is available for charge. ... A chemical formula is a concise way of expressing information about the atoms that constitute a particular chemical compound. ... Molar mass is the mass of one mole of a chemical element or chemical compound. ... The melting point of a crystalline solid is the temperature range at which it changes state from solid to liquid. ...

Solubility in other solvents 71.6 g/100 ml (25°C)
Std enthalpy of
−131.5 kJ/mol
Standard molar
127.8 J.K–1.mol–1
EU classification Very toxic (T+)
Dangerous for the environment (N)
R-phrases R26/27/28, R32
S-phrases (S1/2), S7, S28, S29
S45, S60, S61
LD50 5–10 mg/kg (oral in rats, mice, rabbits)[1]
Related Compounds
Other cations Sodium cyanide
Related compounds Hydrogen cyanide
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state
(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)

Infobox disclaimer and references

Potassium cyanide is the inorganic compound with the formula KCN. This colorless crystalline compound, similar in appearance to sugar, is highly soluble in water. The vast majority of KCN is used in gold mining followed by use in organic synthesis, and electroplating. Smaller applications include jewelry for chemical gilding and buffing. Solubility is a chemical property referring to the ability for a given substance, the solute, to dissolve in a solvent. ... The standard enthalpy of formation or standard heat of formation of a compound is the change of enthalpy that accompanies the formation of 1 mole of a substance in its standard state from its constituent elements in their standard states (the most stable form of the element at 1 atmosphere... In chemistry, the standard molar entropy is the entropy content of one mole of substance, under conditions of standard temperature and pressure. ... Council Directive 67/548/EEC of 27 June 1967 on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances (as amended) is the main European Union law concerning chemical safety. ... R-phrases are defined in Annex III of European Union Directive 67/548/EEC: Nature of special risks attributed to dangerous substances and preparations. ... S-phrases are defined in Annex IV of European Union Directive 67/548/EEC: Safety advice concerning dangerous substances and preparations. ... This article is about the toxicological term. ... This article is about the electrically charged particle. ... Sodium cyanide is a highly toxic chemical compound, also known as sodium salt of hydrocyanic acid and cyanogran. ... R-phrases , , , , . S-phrases , , , , , , , , . Flash point −17. ... The plimsoll symbol as used in shipping In chemistry, the standard state of a material is its state at 1 bar (100 kilopascals exactly). ... Traditionally, inorganic compounds are considered to be of mineral, not biological, origin. ... A chemical formula is a concise way of expressing information about the atoms that constitute a particular chemical compound. ... Crystal (disambiguation) Insulin crystals A crystal is a solid in which the constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are packed in a regularly ordered, repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. ... This article is about sugar as food and as an important and widely traded commodity. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Solution. ... Gold mining consists of the processes and techniques employed in the removal of gold from the ground. ... Organic synthesis is the construction of organic molecules via chemical processes. ... Jewelry (the American spelling; spelled jewellery in Commonwealth English) consists of ornamental devices worn by persons, typically made with gems and precious metals. ... A gilded Tibetan Vajrasattva Gilding is the art of applying metal leaf (most commonly gold or silver leaf) to a surface. ... Metal polishing, also termed Buffing, is the process of smoothing metals and alloys and polishing to a bright, smooth mirror-like finish. ...

Highly toxic, KCN is odorless but due to [[hydrolysis, solids emit small amounts of hydrogen cyanide, which smells like bitter almonds (not everyone can smell it—the ability thereof is due to a genetic trait.[2]). It is also used by entomologists as a killing agent in collecting jars, as most insects succumb within seconds, minimizing damage of even the most fragile types. Toxic redirects here, but this is also the name of a song by Britney Spears; see Toxic (song) Look up toxic and toxicity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Binomial name (Mill. ... Entomology is the scientific study of insects. ... Orders Subclass Apterygota Archaeognatha (bristletails) Thysanura (silverfish) Subclass Pterygota Infraclass Paleoptera (Probably paraphyletic) Ephemeroptera (mayflies) Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) Infraclass Neoptera Superorder Exopterygota Grylloblattodea (ice-crawlers) Mantophasmatodea (gladiators) Plecoptera (stoneflies) Embioptera (webspinners) Zoraptera (angel insects) Dermaptera (earwigs) Orthoptera (grasshoppers, etc) Phasmatodea (stick insects) Blattodea (cockroaches) Isoptera (termites) Mantodea (mantids) Psocoptera...



KCN is produced by treating hydrogen cyanide with potassium hydroxide.[3] Approximately 50,000 tonns are produced yearly (the production of sodium cyanide is 10x that amount). It is detoxified most efficiently with hydrogen peroxide:[3] R-phrases , , , , . S-phrases , , , , , , , , . Flash point −17. ... R-phrases , , , , S-phrases , , , ,, , , , Flash point Non-flammable Related Compounds Related compounds Water Ozone Hydrazine Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 Â°C, 100 kPa) Infobox disclaimer and references Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a very pale blue liquid which appears colourless in...

KCN + H2O2 → KOCN + H2O


In gold mining, KCN and NaCN form water-soluble salts from gold metal in the presence of air: Gold mining consists of the processes and techniques employed in the removal of gold from the ground. ... Sodium cyanide is a highly toxic chemical compound, also known as sodium salt of hydrocyanic acid and cyanogran. ...

4 Au + 8 KCN + O2 + 2 H2O → [Au(CN)2]- + 4 OH-

Very few methods exist for this extraction process.

KCN and the related NaCN are widely used in organic synthesis for the preparation of nitriles and carboxylic acids. Illustrative is the Von Richter reaction. Organic synthesis is the construction of organic molecules via chemical processes. ... A nitrile is any organic compound which has a -C≡N functional group. ... Structure of a carboxylic acid The 3D structure of the carboxyl group A space-filling model of the carboxyl group Carboxylic acids are organic acids characterized by the presence of a carboxyl group, which has the formula -C(=O)OH, usually written -COOH or -CO2H. [1] Carboxylic acids are Bronsted... The Von Richter reaction is an organic reaction. ...


Main article: Cyanide poisoning

Cyanide salts are among the most rapidly acting of all known poisons.[citation needed] Cyanide is a potent inhibitor of cellular respiration, acting on mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase and hence blocking oxidative phosphorylation. This prevents the body from oxidising food to produce useful energy. Lactic acidosis then occurs as a consequence of anaerobic metabolism. Initially, acute cyanide poisoning causes a red or ruddy complexion in the victim because the tissues are not able to use the oxygen in the blood. Cyanide poisoning occurs when a living organism injests cyanide. ... Cellular respiration was discovered by mad scientist Mr. ... Cytochrome c oxidase The enzyme cytochrome c oxidase (PDB 2OCC, EC 1. ... The Electron Transport Chain. ... Lactic acidosis is a condition caused by the buildup of lactic acid in the body. ... Glycolysis is the initial metabolic pathway of carbohydrate catabolism. ... General Name, symbol, number oxygen, O, 8 Chemical series nonmetals, chalcogens Group, period, block 16, 2, p Appearance colorless (gas) pale blue (liquid) Standard atomic weight 15. ...

The effects of potassium cyanide are virtually identical to sodium cyanide. Once more than 100–200 mg of potassium cyanide is absorbed, consciousness is lost within one minute, sometimes within 10 seconds, depending on the person involved and the amount of food present in the stomach.[citation needed] After a span of about 45 minutes, the body goes into a state of coma or deep sleep and the person may die within two hours if not treated medically. During this period, convulsions may occur. Death occurs mainly by cardiac arrest. Sodium cyanide is a highly toxic chemical compound, also known as sodium salt of hydrocyanic acid and cyanogran. ... For the industrial process, see anaerobic digestion. ... Consciousness is a quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and ones environment. ... For other uses, see Coma (disambiguation). ...

A number of prominent Nazis, including Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler, committed suicide using lethal pills which contained potassium cyanide.[4] The substance was also used in the 1978 mass murder/suicide of over 900 people at Jonestown, Guyana.[5] The National Socialist German Workers Party (German: , or NSDAP, commonly known as the Nazi Party), was a political party in Germany between 1919 and 1945. ... Hermann Göring Hermann Wilhelm Göring (also spelled Hermann Goering in English) (January 12, 1893–October 15, 1946) was a prominent and early member of the Nazi party, founder of the Gestapo, and one of the main architects of Nazi Germany. ... Heinrich Luitpold Himmler ( ; 7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was commander of the Schutzstaffel (SS) and one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and the Nazi hierarchy. ... A suicide pill (also known as an L-pill or lethal pill) is a pill, capsule, ampoule or tablet containing a fatally poisonous substance that a person ingests deliberately in order to quickly cause their own death. ... Year 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1978 Gregorian calendar). ... This article is about the Peoples Temple settlement. ...

In fiction

Main article: Cyanide poisoning

Potassium cyanide (and other forms of cyanide) often appear in fiction. In crime fiction it is a popular choice as a murder weapon. Cyanide poisoning occurs when a living organism injests cyanide. ... This article is about the chemical compound. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with mystery_fiction. ...


  1. ^ Bernard Martel. Chemical Risk Analysis: A Practical Handbook. Kogan, 2004, page 361. ISBN 1903996651.
  2. ^ Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) 304300
  3. ^ a b Andreas Rubo, Raf Kellens, Jay Reddy, Norbert Steier, Wolfgang Hasenpusch "Alkali Metal Cyanides" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology 2006 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH, Weinheim, Germany.ISBN: 10.1002/14356007.i01 i01
  4. ^ "Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees: Police Continue Search for Child Pornographer; Hermann Goering's Suicide Solved?; Atlanta Bride-to-be Still Missing; Massachusetts Money Find a Hoax?" (Transcript), CNN.com, 29 April 2005. Retrieved on 2007-11-09. 
  5. ^ http://www.opb.org/radio/archives/2007/04/there_was_no_ch_1.php Text and first-hand account audio recording #4 indicate it was cyanide and bitter, respectively.

The Mendelian Inheritance in Man project is a database that catalogues all the known diseases with a genetic component, and - when possible - links them to the relevant genes in the human genome. ... CNN.com is the news website maintained by CNN. The website debuted on August 30, 1995, and it describes itself as the first major news and information website on the Internet. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 313th day of the year (314th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Reddening of the eyes and pupil dilation are symptoms of cyanide poisoning.
A cyanide antidote kit (amyl nitrite, sodium nitrite and sodium thiosulfate) should be available in any cyanide work area.
Cyanides must be oxidized to harmless waste before disposal.
Ingestion of potassium cyanide or sodium cyanide causes congestion and corrosion of the gastric mucosa.
The hemodialysis clearance of cyanide in the presence of thiosulfate was 38.3 + or - 5.4 ml/min with an extraction ratio of 0.43 + or - 0.06 (n= 4).
The cyanide level was variable among the compounds (0.35-0.74 ug cyanide/g brain) at death in the brains of mice, the level from malononitrile and adiponitrile being comparable to that found in mice killed by dosing with potassium cyanide.
  More results at FactBites »



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