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Zirconium Nitrides

Zirconium does not combine with nitrogen so readily as titanium. Three nitrides, however, have been described: Zr3N2, Zr2N3, and Zr3N8; but Wedekind appears recently to recognise the existence of only one nitride, viz. Zr3N2.

Zr3N2 is formed as a red-brass crystalline powder, of density 6.75, when the metal is heated to 1050° C. in a current of nitrogen or to 1000° C. in ammonia gas; it is very stable towards oxygen and chlorine, but evolves ammonia when fused with potash.

Zr2N3 and Zr3N8. - By heating a mixture of amorphous zirconium with aluminium to a white heat in the air Mallet obtained a product which evolved ammonia when fused with potash; and similar products were obtained by heating the metal or its chloride in ammonia. More definite knowledge was gained later by Matthews, who obtained Zr3N8 as a grey product by heating ZrCl4.8NH3 in a current of nitrogen; and Zr2N3, which was similar in appearance, by heating the tetrachloride in a stream of ammonia. Wedekind also obtained Zr2N3 in bronze-coloured microscopic crystals by reducing zirconia with magnesium in a loosely covered crucible and washing away the colloidal metal; the same nitride is also formed when the carbide is heated in a current of nitrogen. Both these nitrides are soluble in hydrofluoric acid.

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