Calcium nitride

Calcium nitride
IUPAC name
Calcium nitride
Other names
tricalcium dinitride
12013-82-0 YesY
ECHA InfoCard 100.031.435
EC Number 234-592-9
PubChem 3387080
Molar mass 148.25 g·mol−1
Appearance red-brown crystalline solid
Density 2.670 g/cm3
2.63 g/cm3 (17 °C)
Melting point 1,195 °C (2,183 °F; 1,468 K)
Cubic, cI80
Ia-3, No. 206
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Calcium nitride is the inorganic compound with the chemical formula Ca3N2.[1] It exists in various forms (isomorphs), α-calcium nitride being more commonly encountered.


α-Calcium nitride adopts an anti-bixbyite structure, similar to Mn2O3, except that the positions of the ions are reversed: calcium (Ca2+) take the oxide (O2−) positions and nitride ions (N3−) the manganese (Mn3+). In this structure, Ca2+ occupies tetrahedral sites, and the nitride centres occupy two different types of octahedral sites.[2]

Synthesis and reactions

Calcium nitride is formed along with the oxide, CaO, when calcium burns in air. It can be produced by direct reaction of the elements:[3]

3 Ca + N2 → Ca3N2

It reacts with water or even the moisture in air to give ammonia and calcium hydroxide:[4]

Ca3N2 + 6 H2O → 3 Ca(OH)2 + 2 NH3

Like sodium oxide, calcium nitride absorbs hydrogen above 350 °C:

Ca3N2 + 2 H2 → 2 CaNH + CaH2

General references


  1. Eagleson, M. (1994). Concise Encyclopedia Chemistry. Walter de Gruyter. p. 160. ISBN 3-11-011451-8.
  2. Wells, A.F. (1984) Structural Inorganic Chemistry, Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-855370-6.
  3. P. Ehrlich “Calcium, Strontium, Barium Nitrides Ca3N2, Sr3N2, Ba3N2” in Handbook of Preparative Inorganic Chemistry, 2nd Ed. Edited by G. Brauer, Academic Press, 1963, NY. Vol. 1. p. 940-1.
  4. Heyns, A. (1998). "The Vibrational Spectra and Decomposition of α-Calcium Nitride (α-Ca3N2) and Magnesium Nitride (Mg3N2)". Journal of Solid State Chemistry. 137 (1): 33–41. Bibcode:1998JSSCh.137...33H. doi:10.1006/jssc.1997.7672.
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