How is the Compound N2O5 Named?


The compound N2O5 is a highly reactive and unstable substance. It is an oxide of nitrogen and is commonly referred to as dinitrogen pentoxide. In this article, we will explore the nomenclature and properties of this compound in detail.

1. What is N2O5?

Dinitrogen pentoxide, with the chemical formula N2O5, is a binary compound composed of two nitrogen atoms and five oxygen atoms. It is classified as an acidic oxide due to its ability to react with water to form acids.

2. Chemical Properties of N2O5

N2O5 is a colorless solid at room temperature, but it can exist as a gas at higher temperatures. It is highly soluble in water, and its solution is an acid, known as nitric acid. The compound is a powerful oxidizing agent and reacts vigorously with organic compounds and reducing agents.

3. Nomenclature of N2O5

The systematic name for N2O5 is dinitrogen pentoxide. It follows the rules of chemical nomenclature, where the prefix “di-” indicates two nitrogen atoms, and the suffix “-pentoxide” indicates the presence of five oxygen atoms. This naming convention is based on the number and type of atoms present in the compound.

3.1 Common Names for N2O5

In addition to the systematic name, N2O5 is also known by its common name, nitrogen pentoxide. This name is derived from the elemental symbols and the number of atoms in the compound.

4. Structure of N2O5

N2O5 has a molecular structure where two nitrogen atoms are connected by a covalent bond and surrounded by five oxygen atoms. The Lewis structure of N2O5 shows that it has a linear shape, with the nitrogen atoms at the center and the oxygen atoms surrounding them.

5. Preparation of N2O5

N2O5 can be prepared by several methods, including the reaction between nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and dinitrogen tetroxide (N2O4). This reaction can be represented by the following equation:

2 NO2 + N2O4 → 2 N2O5

6. Uses of N2O5

Due to its highly reactive nature, N2O5 has limited practical uses. However, it is used in some laboratory experiments and research studies as a source of nitrate ions. It can also be used in the production of explosives and as a catalyst in certain chemical reactions.

7. Safety and Hazards

N2O5 is a highly corrosive and toxic compound. It can cause severe burns upon contact with the skin and eyes. Inhalation of its fumes can lead to respiratory problems. Proper safety precautions, such as wearing protective clothing and working in a well-ventilated area, should be followed when handling this compound.

8. Environmental Impact

N2O5 is a contributor to air pollution and can react with other compounds in the atmosphere to form smog and acid rain. Its production and release should be minimized to reduce its impact on the environment.

9. Conclusion

In conclusion, the compound N2O5 is known as dinitrogen pentoxide. It is a highly reactive oxide of nitrogen with various chemical properties. Despite its instability, it has some industrial and laboratory applications. However, caution must be exercised when handling N2O5 due to its corrosive and toxic nature.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Q: Is N2O5 a stable compound?
  2. A: No, N2O5 is an unstable compound that decomposes readily.

  3. Q: What is the molar mass of N2O5?
  4. A: The molar mass of N2O5 is approximately 108 grams per mole.

  5. Q: Can N2O5 react with water?
  6. A: Yes, N2O5 reacts with water to form nitric acid (HNO3).

  7. Q: What are the health hazards associated with N2O5?
  8. A: N2O5 is highly corrosive and can cause severe burns and respiratory problems.

  9. Q: Can N2O5 contribute to air pollution?
  10. A: Yes, N2O5 can react with other compounds in the atmosphere to form smog and acid rain.

  11. Q: How is N2O5 prepared?
  12. A: N2O5 can be prepared by the reaction between nitrogen dioxide and dinitrogen tetroxide.

  13. Q: What are the common names for N2O5?
  14. A: N2O5 is commonly known as nitrogen pentoxide.

  15. Q: Can N2O5 be used as a catalyst?
  16. A: Yes, N2O5 can act as a catalyst in certain chemical reactions.

  17. Q: What precautions should be taken when handling N2O5?
  18. A: Protective clothing and working in a well-ventilated area are essential when handling N2O5.

  19. Q: What are the industrial uses of N2O5?
  20. A: N2O5 is used in the production of explosives and as a source of nitrate ions in certain processes.


In this article, we explored the compound N2O5, also known as dinitrogen pentoxide. We discussed its chemical properties, nomenclature, structure, preparation, uses, safety precautions, and environmental impact. It is important to handle N2O5 with caution due to its corrosive and toxic nature. Understanding the properties of N2O5 is crucial for its safe handling and potential applications in various fields.

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