|Jmol-3D images||Image 1|
|Molar mass||291.24 g mol−1|
|Melting point||190 °C (374 °F; 463 K) decomposes, explodes at 350 °C|
|Solubility in water||2.3 g/100 mL (18 °C)
9.0 g/100 mL (70 °C)
|Solubility||Very soluble in acetic acid
Insoluble in ammonia solution, NH4OH
Std enthalpy of
|Detonation velocity||5180 m/s|
|GHS signal word||Danger|
|H200, H302, H332, H360, H373, H400, H410|
|EU classification||T Xn E N|
|R-phrases||R3, R20/22, R33, R50/53, R61, R62, R62|
|Main hazards||Harmful, explosive|
|Autoignition temperature||350 °C (662 °F; 623 K)|
|Other cations||Potassium azide
|Related compounds||Hydrazoic acid|
|Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)|
|(what is: / ?)|
Lead azide (Pb(N3)2) is an inorganic compound. More so than other azides, Pb(N
2 is explosive. It is used in detonators to initiate secondary explosives. In a commercially usable form, it is a white to buff powder.
Preparation and handling
Lead azide is prepared by metathesis between sodium azide and lead nitrate. Dextrin can be added to the solution to stabilize the precipitated product. The solid is not very hygroscopic, and water does not reduce its impact sensitivity. It is normally shipped in a dextrinated solution that lowers its sensitivity. When protected from humidity, it is completely stable in storage. An alternative method involves dissolving lead acetate in a sodium azide solution.
Lead azide in its pure form was first prepared by Theodor Curtius in 1891. Due to sensitivity and stability concerns, the dextrinated form of lead azide was developed in the 1920s and 1930s with large scale production by DuPont Co beginning in 1932. Detonator development during World War II resulted in the need for a form of lead azide with a more brisant output. RD-1333, a version of lead azide with sodium carboxymethylcellulose as a precipitating agent, was developed to meet that need. The Vietnam War saw an accelerated need for lead azide and it was during this time that Special Purpose Lead Azide was developed and the US government began stockpiling lead azide in large quantities. After the Vietnam War, the use of lead azide dramatically decreased and due to the size of the US stockpile, manufacture of lead azide in the US ceased completely by the early 1990s. In the 2000s, concerns about the age and stability of stockpiled lead azide led the US government to investige methods to dispose of the stockpile lead azide and search for potential manufacturers to provide new lead azide as needed for the defense manufacturing sector. Since 2012, Tech Ord (Clear Lake, SD USA) has been the only facility in the United States that has a full-scale, US Army qualified process for the production of Dextrinated Lead Azide (MIL-L-3055), RD-1333 Lead Azide (MIL-DTL-46225), and Special Purpose Lead Azide (MIL-L-14758).
Lead azide is highly sensitive and usually handled and stored under water in insulated rubber containers. It will explode after a fall of around 150 mm (6 in) or in the presence of a static discharge of 7 millijoules. Its detonation velocity is around 5,180 m/s (17,000 ft/s).
Lead azide was a component of the six .22 caliber Devastator rounds fired from a Röhm RG-14 revolver by John Hinckley, Jr. in his assassination attempt on U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981. The rounds consisted of lead azide centers with lacquer-sealed aluminum tips designed to explode upon impact.
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