Isopropyl nitrite is a highly flammable organic ester.
Isopropyl nitrite is straw yellow colour and has a sweet, not-unpleasant smell. It is immiscible and less dense than water. Isopropyl nitrite has a very high vapour pressure and a low boiling point, although it will decompose on boiling to produce nitrogen oxides and isopropanol . A low flash point combined with the high vapour pressure means it is very easy to ignite.
Isopropyl nitrite is better made in a home lab setting.
Conc. hydrochloric acid is slowly dripped onto sodium nitrite suspended in isopropanol , generating nitrous acid which reacts with the alcohol. The concentration of isopropanol should be less than 100% to ensure the solution does not get too acidic (which will rapidly decompose the ester) and that some of the precipitate byproducts dissolve. Diluted sulfuric acid can also be used but this will result in a larger amount of precipitate due to sodium sulfate's lower solubility compared to sodium chloride .
Every reagent should be as cold as possible to limit decomposition to nitrogen oxides. An icebath may be needed.
- Make sodium azide
As well as being highly flammable, being an organic nitrite it promotes vascodilation in the body, pushing more blood to the brain. Hence breathing fumes of isopropyl nitrite can have some mild strange side effects that mostly end up in a headache. Proper ventaliation is required when using this compound.
Storage is best done in a cold place such as a fridge or freezer, but care must be taken to prevet as the vapours travel quickly and can easily find a source of igition.
If care is taken to make sure the ester does not contain any acid before storage, it will not quickly decompose and may be stored cold for many months. Disposal
Acid hydrolysis of the compound destroys it quickly, with the evolution of nitrogen oxides. It is reccomeded to either burn it or simply let it evaporate over pouring it down a sink, as its solvent properties may adversly affect a plumbing system.