|Density||ά-P3N5 = 2.77 g/cm3|
|Melting point||decomposes at ≥850°C|
|Solubility in water||insoluable|
|Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)|
Triphosphorus pentanitride can be produced by reactions between various phosphorus and nitrogen compounds, including a reaction between the elements. These methods of preparation are similar to those used for boron nitride and silicon nitride; however the products are generally impure and amorphous.
- (NPCl2)3 + 2 NH4Cl → P3N5 + 8 HCl
- 3 PCl5 + 5 NH4Cl → P3N5 + 20 HCl
- 3 PCl3 + 5 NaNH2 → P3N5 + 5 NaCl + 4 HCl + 3 H2
- 2 P3N5 → 6 PN + 2 N2 → 3 P2 + 5 N2
It is resistant to weak acids and bases, and insoluble in water at room temperature, however it will react with water upon heating to form various ammonium phosphate salts.
Triphosphorus pentanitride can react with lithium nitride and calcium nitride to form a variety of compounds including Li7PN4 and Ca2PN3. Heterogenous ammonolyses of triphosphorus pentanitride can from triphosphorus pentanitride immides such as HPN2 and HP4N7. It has been suggested that these compounds may have applications as solid electrolytes and pigments.
Structure and properties
Although white when of high purity, triphosphorus pentanitride can take on a number of subtle buff shades if not highly pure.
There are several different polymorphs of triphosphorus pentanitride, which occur at different pressures. The alpha‑form of triphosphorus pentanitride (ά‑P3N5) is the form encountered at atmospheric pressure and exists at pressures up to 6 GPa, at which point it converts to the gamma‑variety (γ‑P3N5) of the compound. Computational chemistry indicates that a third, delta‑variety (δ‑P3N5), will form at around 43 Gpa with a Kyanite-like structure.
Triphosphorus pentanitride currently has no large scale applications although it had found use as a gettering material for incandescent lamps; replacing various mixtures containing red phosphorus in the late 1960's. The lighting filaments are dipped into a suspension of P3N5 prior to being sealed into the bulb. After bulb closure, but whilst still on the pump, the lamps are lit, causing the P3N5 to thermally decompose into its constituent elements. Much of this is removed by the pump but enough P4 vapor remains to react with any residual oxygen inside the bulb. Once the vapor pressure of P4 is low enough either filler gas is admitted to the bulb prior to sealing off or, if a vacuum atmosphere is desired the bulb is sealed off at that point. The high decomposition temperature of P3N5 allows sealing machines to run faster and hotter than was possible using red phosphorus.
Related halogen containing polymers, trimeric bromophosphonitrile, (PNBr2)3, m.p. 192oC and tetrameric bromophosphonitrile, (PNBr2)4, m.p. 202oC find similar lamp gettering applications for tungsten halogen lamps, where they perform the dual processies of gettering and precise halogen dosing. 
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