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Potassium Arsenides

Potassium combines with arsenic with incandescence, and the arsenide K3As may be obtained by heating the elements in the correct proportions in a glass tube. The pure arsenide is prepared by heating to redness in a closed iron vessel a mixture of the elements containing an excess of potassium, the uncombined metal being subsequently removed from the cooled product by means of liquid ammonia; the arsenide remains in the form of black crystals after removing ammonia by heating in nitrogen. Another method of preparation consists in treating arsenic with an excess of potassammonium, NH3K, when a brick-red compound, K3As.NH3, results; this, when heated at 300° C. in vacuo, yields the black arsenide. The latter, like other alkali arsenides, reacts with water to yield solid arsenic mono-hydride and some arsine. If the potassammonium is heated with excess of arsenic, the product is an orange-coloured solid, K2As4.NH3, which when heated in vacuo a little below 300° C. yields a cinnabar-red arsenide K2As4.

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