Can anyone help me with this?

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Can anyone help me with this?

Post by MorbiusMonster on Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:16 am

I am trying to come up with an equation for the combustion of methane and ammonia to produce hydroden cyanide, but cannot get the equation to balance out. Anyone able to tell me if I could work it out?

CH4 + NH3 + O2 -> HCN + CO2 + H2O

It needs balancing so that all the atoms are equal on both sides, but only whole molecules are used. It's not as straight forward as it may seem.

EDIT: O2, CO2 and H2O are always present in a complete combustion reaction; you need oxygen to burn and combustion of natural gas always produces CO2 and H2O as this equation shows.

CH4 + 2O2 -> CO2 + 2H2O
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Re: Can anyone help me with this?

Post by MorbiusMonster on Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:23 am

I've come up with this equation, but it may need some checking.

3CH4 + 2NH3 + 5O2 -> 2HCN + CO2 + 8H2O
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Re: Can anyone help me with this?

Post by Slayer Noir on Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:38 am

Assuming one can burn methane with ammonia to get hydrogen cyanide (which I never got taught), everything here seems correct.

I didn't know you were into chemistry, Morb...
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Re: Can anyone help me with this?

Post by Dragon78114 on Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:49 am

I don't know? I know that the combustion of any hydrocarbon always yields water and carbon dioxide. Since methane is so unreactive, I don't think it will do anything else, unless the methane and water cause it to form ammonium and hydroxide ions….and it won't do that with gaseous water.
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Re: Can anyone help me with this?

Post by MorbiusMonster on Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:19 pm

It was a random idea I was messing around with. There was this fantasy location called Luobnyka which was grown from a tumour and the atmosphere was filled with natural gases and chemicals, so I was thinking of a solution to kill off the cells by using it's own bi-products as reactants.

Turns out it's a difficult reaction, more intense than I thought. It's going to be in equilibrium because there are more free molecules on the product side, meaning a catalyst with be required to increase yield of product. Also, only 22% of product mass is desired product, but that should be sufficient. If incomplete combustion occurs, the cells, provided they absorb gases directly, seeing as lungs may be out of reach, would succumb to monoxide poisoning as well as cyanide poisoning.

Then again, location of where the combustion would occur would make all the difference. Initiate combustion nearest to the nucleus (or equivalent) and it will be the first to be poisoned; shut that down and all other processes stop. A bit of sulphuric acid could help with the clear up, there's enough water, so a second wave would release sulphur dioxide.
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Re: Can anyone help me with this?

Post by Dragon78114 on Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:00 pm

Morb, Le Chatlier's Principle really only applies when you disturb the system. Wink

This reaction could exist in a fantasy novel, but really no where else. Sorry. Try night shade and related species where their toxins block neurotransmitters.
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Re: Can anyone help me with this?

Post by Slayer Noir on Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:42 am

My chemistry teacher would kill me if I said catalysts change the position of equilibrium...

Also, I swear for combustion the equilibrium lies so far to the right that you can hardly call it a reversible reaction. If that's not the case, you want low pressure to shift equilibrium to the right, since you've got 10 molecules of gas on the left and 11 on the right.

And Dragon, while neuropoisons are a neat idea, but my interpretation what that Morb wanted to kill individual cells rather than disrupt a whole organism. If I've interpreted correctly, we should be looking at the immune system - phagocytes are probably your best bet. Could you clarify that for us, Morb?
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Re: Can anyone help me with this?

Post by MorbiusMonster on Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:19 am

Actually, I wanted to kill the entire thing, but would prefer non-biological poison, one that wouldn't tip off the antibodies. I'm dealing with a tumour that has swelled to the point of being the size of Stockholm, so obviously killing of individual cells would do no good and biological poisons such an night shade may be ineffective.

Hydrogen cyanide is an important compound in this reaction, I want to kill the organism outright, but it's clever; it'd try and shield itself if cyanide was directly dropped, so I want to drop a combustion bomb into the nucleus, so the immediate threat isn't detected, but it will occur and with devastating effect.
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Re: Can anyone help me with this?

Post by MorbiusMonster on Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:20 am

In all honesty, it's for a quest.
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Re: Can anyone help me with this?

Post by Slayer Noir on Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:30 am

Cyanide is just as much a biological poison as atropine from nightshades. Cyanide is poisionous because inhibits a key enzyme involved in respiration. Neurotoxins stop nerve cells communicating with one another by occupying the receptors for neurotransmitters. I'm not 100% sure whether antibodies can detect these posions, but if they can be "tipped off" by atropine, then they'll notice cyanide too.

Then again, I don't think tumours are particularly reliant on nervous support, so a neurotoxin probably isn't a good idea.

You could always try screwing with the water potential and causing cell lysis. I think we need to know more about this tumour before we can figure out how to kill it. Where's it getting its nutrients and oxygen from?
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Re: Can anyone help me with this?

Post by Dragon78114 on Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:48 am

If it is for a quest, honestly does it any scientific reasoning? Because if scientists have developed a poison that can target individual cells, then cancer would be cured.
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Re: Can anyone help me with this?

Post by MorbiusMonster on Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:06 pm

It's lurking beneath Morytania. The water constantly drips in through the surface, not to mention a fresh supply of corpses all the time and vegetation. It's spreading disease though, so the entirity needs to be killed.
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Re: Can anyone help me with this?

Post by Slayer Noir on Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:25 pm

Something the size of Stockholm could never in a million years rely on diffusion alone to get nutrients to every part of it, or waste products out. Its surface area to volume ratio would be way too poor. There'd have to be some sort of internal transport system - blood, a heart, lungs etc. Destroy the heart and the whole thing would die.
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