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QUESTION

# What is the formula for sodium nitride?

"Na"_3"N"

Sodium is an element in group 1 of . As such, it will form an electron by losing a single electron to form a "1+" ion: "Na"^+.

Nitrogen is an element in group 5 of the periodic table. When it forms the nitride ion, it gains three electrons to form a "3-" ion: "N"^(3-).

In , the charges of constituent ions must balance. This can be achieved by having three sodium ions per nitride ion. Therefore, the formula of sodium nitride is "Na"_3"N".

However, "Na"_3"N" is extremely unstable. It rapidly decomposes into its constituent according to the equation:

2"Na"_3"N" -> 6"Na" + "N"_2

It lacks a boiling point because of this. Since ionic have very high melting and boiling points as a result of the strong electrostatic attraction between oppositely charged ions that holds them together, sodium nitride should be no different; however, it will decompose as shown at around 360 Kelvin ("K") or 86.85 ""^@ "C".