Problem: Oxidation of the cyanide ion produces the stable cyanate ion, OCN-. The fulminate ion, CNO-, on the other hand, is very unstable. Fulminate salts explode when struck; Hg(CNO)2 is used in blasting caps. Write the Lewis structures and assign formal charges for the cyanate and fulminate ions. Why is the fulminate ion so unstable? (C is the central atom in OCN- and N is the central atom in CNO-.)

FREE Expert Solution

Both structures have the same charge and elements so the number of valence electrons will be the same. Valence electrons will be based on the group number of each element. Remember that we have to add 1 more electron for the negative charge. 


The two ions would only differ in the way they are connected.

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Problem Details

Oxidation of the cyanide ion produces the stable cyanate ion, OCN-. The fulminate ion, CNO-, on the other hand, is very unstable. Fulminate salts explode when struck; Hg(CNO)2 is used in blasting caps. Write the Lewis structures and assign formal charges for the cyanate and fulminate ions. Why is the fulminate ion so unstable? (C is the central atom in OCN- and N is the central atom in CNO-.)

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Our data indicates that this problem or a close variation was asked in Chemistry: An Atoms First Approach - Zumdahl Atoms 1st 2nd Edition. You can also practice Chemistry: An Atoms First Approach - Zumdahl Atoms 1st 2nd Edition practice problems.