Hydrogen Cyanide Gas Uses
Many industries recognize hydrogen cyanide as an intermediate material in the production of hundreds of useful products.
Mainly found in fumigants, hydrogen cyanide is a single carbon compound and an extremely toxic hydracid with the chemical formula HCN. At a temperature below 25.6°C, it is a pale, bluish-white liquid, while at ambient temperature, it exists as a clear, colorless, yet highly volatile gas with a faint bitter aroma akin to almond or marzipan.
Hydrogen Cyanide is also known as hydrocyanic or prussic acid when found in an aqueous solution. Pure HCN is a stable chemical compound and a great solvent for many solutes. But due to its toxicity, it is not practically used as a solvent.
Nevertheless, there is still an abundance of use of HCN in different industries discussed below:
Hydrogen cyanide is commercially used as a valuable starting material in the chemical synthesis of different compounds used in the production of plastics, acrylic fibers, rubber, dyes, and paints. It is converted into acetone cyanohydrin, which is used in the production of acrylic plastics.
Adiponitrile, which is used in the production of nylon, also comes from the synthesis of HCN. Furthermore, it is used as an intermediate chemical to form acrylonitrile, which is widely used in manufacturing synthetic rubber and acrylic fibers.
Its wide application can be traced in the agriculture sector as a fumigant and as a main ingredient in pesticides. It is effective against different chordate pests and arthropods that infect plants and is also used in killing scale insects that thrive on trees.
HCN Gas as a Fumigant
As a fumigant, it is principally effective in killing rats and other pests of smaller vertebrates that are not only present on farms but also in grain facilities, warehouses, and staging buildings. HCN gas is a medial reagent in producing methionine, found in animal feeds, and cyanuric chloride, found in fungicides and other agricultural products.
Ore extraction and electroplating are among the processes that essentially need HCN. As a precursor to sodium cyanide, it helps in the extraction, recovery, and electroplating of gold and silver in the mining industry.
Several applications involving metallic materials can be achieved with HCN as an ingredient, including metal cleaning, steel and iron case hardening, steel tempering, and many other metallurgical tasks.
Pharmaceutical and Medical Industry
Nonionized HCN can be found in the breakdown of sodium nitroprusside, which is widely used as an antihypertensive drug for humans.
Another major compound synthesized using HCN is methyl methacrylate, which is the basic component of PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) resins. Due to their excellent bio-compatibility, PMMA resins are widely used in many biomaterial applications, including bone substitutes, bone cement, and as dental cavity fillings to substitute for lost dental roots.
Additionally, these HCN-containing resins have an easy-to-clean property, hence they are mostly used in the fabrication of drug testing devices, incubators, and hospital or laboratory storage cabinets.
Risks of Exposure
Because of its extensive applications, HCN exposure may happen in various situations. Cyanide intoxication can accidentally occur in the workplace because it is widely used in processes such as fumigation, electroplating, metal extraction, and refining.
HCN is considered a systemic poison and its toxicity is due to its asphyxiating effects that inhibit the function of cytochrome oxidase, thus preventing human cells from utilizing oxygen. Several ways for people to be exposed to it are when they come into contact with it by breathing, drinking, eating the substance or by direct skin contact.
Symptoms of adverse health effects may vary from a feeling of mild discomfort to a rapid loss of consciousness. This article from the CDC provides an in-depth discussion about how a person is exposed to HCN, its different levels of symptoms, as well as the required safety and precaution measures.
Hydrogen Cyanide Calibration Gas
for Sensors & Gas Monitoring Instruments
Because HCN is a fast-acting poison, and exposure above a tolerable level is extremely dangerous, it is critical that HCN gas detectors be used in the workplace. A gas monitoring device measures the concentration of HCN in the air. It comes in either a wall-mounted assembly or as a portable unit.
However, these gas detectors may gradually degrade over time, causing the readings to drift. This is why calibrating these HCN gas sensors is such an important step in ensuring the instrument’s accuracy. The calibration resets the instrument’s response to a predetermined concentration of HCN gas.
In calibrating these gas monitoring devices, the proper HCN gas mixture is required. The required HCN gas mixture may come in different concentrations depending on the sensor’s parameters. SpecGas Inc offers hydrogen cyanide gas blends in different concentrations of HCN gas, mainly in a mixture of N2 and balance air, or in other balance gases on request.
In the process, the HCN gas mixture is introduced, and the adjustment begins when the gas reacts with the electrode and triggers an electrochemical reaction that generates a certain amount of current proportional to the level of the detected HCN gas.
Your Calibration Gas Experts Are Here to Help
SpecGas, Inc. is your partner in the specialty gas industry. Buy your hydrogen cyanide calibration gas mixture from the experts. We provide stable HCN gas mixtures from 100ppb to 10% in inert gases, mainly in balanced air and nitrogen blends. Other balanced gases are available. Just specify your needs in your quote request.
Often our gas blends come in a range of 5–1000 ppm. Are stored in a specially-treated aluminum cylinders in sizes ranging from 5.9L to 47L internal water volume.
Happy to assist with any of your gas blend solutions on time and within your budget.