Decomposition of Mercury(II)thiocyanate (Hg(SCN)2)

The decomposition under heat of Mercury(II)thiocyanate. It’s a visually stunning reaction.

According to Wiki, and my common sense (after all, it’s a mercury-containing compound), “Mercury compounds are extremely toxic and protective equipment should be used whenever working with mercury thiocyanate. Mercury thiocyanate is best known for its former use in pyrotechnics, as it will produce a large, winding “snake” when set on fire. This is known as the Pharaoh’s Serpent. Though some people still use it for this purpose, it is generally avoided because of the production of toxic gases when this reaction occurs.”

Mercury(II) thiocyanate (Hg(SCN)2) is an inorganic chemical compound, the salt of Hg2+ and the thiocyanate anion. It is a stable solid at room temperature that has the appearance of white powder with chunks.

The balanced reaction formula is as follows: 2Hg(SCN)_2 + ∆ -→  2HgS + CS_2 + C_3 N_4

I know it doesn’t look as nifty as I could make it look in word or other programs, but I’m kinda limited by what WordPress will allow me to import … >.> Sorry, guys.

And here’s a video of its rapid decomposition under heat (after the bump).


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