Here’s What Happens When You Drop A Feather On Nitrogen Triiodide

Contact explosives are serious forces to be reckoned with. Nitrogen triiodide is in a league of its own in regards to explosives given that even something so small, such as a mosquito, can really set it off.

This type of compound is what science would determine as “unstable” meaning that it is comprised of a nitrogen atom and three atoms of iodine that band together on one side of the nitrogen.

Due to this closeness, the nitrogen atoms create “bond strain” when electron-electron repulsion of atoms are housed this tightly together. This then makes the molecule to be more reactive.

Check out the video from The Royal Institution for a play-by-play of what exactly takes place when a feather is dropped on nitrogen triiodide in slow motion.

Dropping a feather on Nitrogen triiodide

Now in slow motion

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