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Snigger snigger laugh laugh giggle giggle it’s nitrous oxide time again !

OK, I imagine that some of my readers have been reading about my thoughts on nitrous oxide. Here we have a little more of the story.  

One bit of chemistry which I have loved for a long time is the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide, one of the coatings which can go on an electrode which makes the reaction occur at a far greater rate (a catalyst) is based on the terpyridine complexes of iron, nickel and cobalt.  

I saw recently this interesting paper which shows that nitrous oxide reacts with vitamin B12, nitrous oxide was thought to be inert at 20 oC until this paper was published. I do not think that nitrous oxide will react with sodium borohydride unless a catalyst such as vitamin B12 is added. What happens is that the vitamin B12 reacts with the nitrous oxide to convert it into an oxidized form. This oxidized form is then reduced by the borohydride to reform the B12.  

Vitamin B12 is a complex molecule, but a simple small molecule [bis(dimethylglyoximato)-(isopropyl)-(pyridine)-cobalt(III)] exists which does many things which the vitamin does. Here is a picture of the simple model compound. We have here the ball and stick model.  

Ball and stick view of the vitamin B12 model


Now here is the spacefilling version of this molecule.  

Space filling version



Arana C, Keshavarz M, PottsKT and Abruna HD, Inorganica Chimica Acta, 1994, 225, 285-295. (Electrochem)  

Banks RGS, Henderso RJ and Pratt JM, Journal of The Chemical Society A – Inorganic Physcial Theretical, 1968, 2886. (nitrous oxide)

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