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Uranium Nitrides

It was observed by Moissan that uranium metal combined directly with nitrogen at 1000° C., yielding a yellow nitride the composition of which has not been ascertained. By heating uranous chloride in a stream of dry ammonia, or by heating to redness the double chloride Na2UCl6 in a current of ammonia, a greyish-black crystalline nitride, of composition U3N4, is obtained. It is probable that this compound is frequently present in metallic uranium, for the latter when exposed to kathode rays has been observed to evolve a little nitrogen. It has been suggested that the activity of uranium carbide as a catalyst in the synthesis of ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen depends on nitride formation.

When uranyl chloride is heated in ammonia a product of uncertain composition, probably an oxynitride, is obtained.

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