Calcium nitride

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.

Calcium nitride
IUPAC name
Calcium nitride
Other names
tricalcium dinitride
ECHA InfoCard 100.031.435
EC Number
  • 234-592-9
Molar mass 148.248 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


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

  • Greenwood, Norman N.; Earnshaw, Alan (1997). Chemistry of the Elements (2nd ed.). Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 978-0-08-037941-8.


  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.
Salts and covalent derivatives of the nitride ion
NH3 He(N2)11
Li3N Be3N2 BN β-C3N4
N2 NxOy NF3 Ne
Na3N Mg3N2 AlN Si3N4 PN
NCl3 Ar
K3N Ca3N2 ScN TiN VN CrN
MnxNy FexNy CoN Ni3N CuN Zn3N2 GaN Ge3N4 As Se NBr3 Kr
Rb3N Sr3N2 YN ZrN NbN β-Mo2N Tc Ru Rh PdN Ag3N CdN InN Sn Sb Te NI3 Xe
Cs3N Ba3N2   Hf3N4 TaN WN Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg3N2 TlN Pb BiN Po At Rn
Fr3N Ra3N   Rf Db Sg Bh Hs Mt Ds Rg Cn Nh Fl Mc Lv Ts Og
La CeN Pr Nd Pm Sm Eu GdN Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu
Ac Th Pa UN Np Pu Am Cm Bk Cf Es Fm Md No Lr
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