Nitrogen Trichloride and Water Reaction | NCl3 + H2O

Nitrogen trichloride (NCl3) is a covalent compound and it reacts with water and produce ammonia (NH3) and hypochlorous acid (HOCl). This reaction can be used as a disinfect method because HOCl can behave as a disinfectant. In this tutorial, we are going to look about reactants, products, balanced equation and etc of NCl3 + H2O reaction.

Nitrogen Trichloride and Water Reaction - NCl3 + H2O

NCl3 + H2O → NH3 + HOCl

  • Nitrogen trichloride (NCl3) is a yellow, oily, pungent-smelling and explosive liquid.
  • Water is colourless liquid.
  • Ammonia (NH3) is toxic, colourless inorganic gas. Ammonia gas can be identified through different reactions.
  • Hypochlorous acid is a weak, monobasic acid. It is used as a disinfectant agent.
  • In this reaction, a weak acid and a weak base is produced as products.
  • Also, this reaction can be defined as hydrolysis of nitrogen trichloride.

Balanced equation of nitrogen trichloride and water

NCl3 + 3H2O → NH3 + 3HOCl

From the balanced equation, we can say, one moles of nitrogen trichloride reacts with three moles of water and produce one mol of ammonia and three moles of sodium hypochlorous acid.

How to balance nitrogen trichloride and water reaction?

This equation can be balanced easily from following steps. We use the simple method of looking number of atoms in right and left sides of the reaction.

NCl3 + H2O → NH3 + HOCl

  • There are three chlorine atoms in the left side. In right side, there is only one chlorine atom. Therefore, to balance chlorine atoms, , make three HOCl as below in the right side.
  • NCl3 + H2O → NH3 + 3HOCl

  • Now, there are six hydrogen atoms in the right side. To balance hydrogen atoms, make three H2O in the left side
  • NCl3 + 3H2O → NH3 + 3HOCl

Safety during the experiment

Because this reaction forms ammonia, it can be harmful because ammonia is a toxic gas. You can smell characteristic pungent smell of ammonia. It indicates that ammonia is released from the reaction.

Questions asked by students

Ask your question and find the answer free.

Is oxidation numbers of elements are changed in NCl3 + H2O reaction?

To verify whether this reaction is redox reaction, you have to check oxidation numbers of each elements in right side and the left side of the reaction.

  • Oxidation number of nitrogen in NCl3 is -3 because nitrogen's electronegativity is higher than chlorine. In ammonia (product side / right side), nitrogen's oxidation number is -3. Therefore, oxidation number of nitrogen is not changed during the reaction.
  • Chlorine's oxidation number is +1 in both NCl3 and HOCl. So, chlorine's oxidation number is not changed during the NCl3 + H2O reaction.
  • Also, oxidation numbers of oxygen and hydrogen are not changed too.

Therefore, NCl3 + H2O reaction is not a redox reaction.

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