Image Hydrogen cyanide molecule

TLF ID R6851

This is a colour image of a model of a molecule of hydrogen cyanide, HCN. In this model, atoms are represented by coloured spheres held together by grey rods, representing covalent bonds. The hydrogen cyanide molecule consists of one hydrogen atom (the grey-white sphere), one carbon atom (the black sphere) and one nitrogen atom (the blue sphere).



Educational details

Educational value
  • Hydrogen cyanide is an extremely toxic substance usually found as a colourless liquid. Because it boils at 26 degrees Celsius, it vaporises easily. It has a faint odour of almonds, but some people have a genetic trait that renders them unable to detect the smell. Some plants and animals produce small quantities of hydrogen cyanide and large amounts are synthesised for use in chemical industries.
  • The atoms in the hydrogen cyanide molecule are connected by covalent bonds. A covalent bond is formed when atoms share electrons. The single bond between the hydrogen and carbon atoms has two shared electrons, one contributed by each atom. The bond between the carbon and nitrogen atoms is a triple bond, to which each atom contributes three electrons.
  • The hydrogen cyanide molecule is linear, having all three atoms in a line.
  • The type of model shown here, called a ball-and-stick model, is one of several ways of modelling molecules. This type is useful because it clearly shows the geometry of the molecule and the order (single, double or triple) of the bonds. However, because 'sticks' are used to represent bonds, this type of model does not represent the actual shape of the molecule as well as 'space-filling' models do.

Other details

Contributors
  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 20 Sep 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Remarks: Copyright Education Services Australia
  • Author
  • Date of contribution: 2006
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Remarks: creator
  • Content provider
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
Access profile
  • Device independence
  • Hearing independence
Learning resource type
  • Image
Browsers
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer - minimum version: 8.0 (MS-Windows) - maximum version: 9.0 (MS-Windows)
  • Firefox - minimum version: (MS-Windows)
  • Safari - minimum version: 5.1 (MacOS)
Operating systems
  • MacOS - minimum version: 10.6
  • MS-Windows - minimum version: XP - maximum version: 7
Rights
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.