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Nitrohydroxylamine, HO-NH-NO2

Nitrohydroxylamine, HO-NH-NO2, or , is obtained in the form of salts by the action of ethyl nitrate on alcoholic hydroxylamine. When the salts, e.g. Na2N2O3, are acidified, the free acid instantly decomposes into nitric oxide and water, or nitrous and hyponitrous acids:

H2N2O3 = 2NO + H2O;
2H2N2O3 = 2HNO2 + H2N2O2.

The sodium salt, made by the above reaction in methyl alcohol, is a white powder, soluble and deliquescent. It absorbs oxygen from the air, giving NaNO2 and NaNO3. The aqueous solution when boiled decomposes into nitrite and nitrous oxide:

2Na2N2O3 + H2O = 2NaNO2 + N2O + 2NaOH.

The salts of the calcium group, e.g. CaN2O3.3½H2O, are sparingly soluble. The silver salt is almost insoluble. Salts of cadmium and mercury have also been prepared.

A great number of organic derivatives of the above are known under the name of diazo-compounds, as well as derivatives of compounds which have not yet been prepared in the free state, such as R.N2O2.H, derived from nitrosohydroxylamine, HO-NH-NO, which is isomeric with nitramide.

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