Heated in a current of carbon dioxide sodamide yields caustic soda and cyanamide, and with nitrous oxide it gives sodium azoimide; it deflagrates with lead or silver nitrate and explodes with potassium chlorate.
A typical member is nitric oxide; carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide may also be put in this class, but it must be remembered that these oxides may be regarded, in some measure at least, as the anhydrides of formic and hyponitrous acid, although, at the same time, it is impossible to obtain these acids by simple hydration of these oxides.
Again, in nitrous oxide we have a compound of 8 parts by weight of oxygen and 14 of nitrogen; in nitric oxide a compound of 16 or 8 X 2 parts of oxygen and 1 4 of nitrogen; in nitrous anhydride a compound of 24 or 8 X 3 parts of oxygen and 14 of nitrogen; in nitric peroxide a compound of 3 2 or 8 X 4 parts of oxygen and 14 of nitrogen; and lastly, in nitric anhydride a compound of 4 o or 8 X 5 parts of oxygen and 14 of nitrogen.
It is very unstable, decomposing into nitrous oxide and water when mixed with copper oxide, lead chromate or even powdered glass.
The commercial production of sulphuric acid imperatively requires that the nitrogen oxides (which originally were always introduced in the shape of nitric acid) should be available as long as possible, before being lost mechanically or by reduction to the inactive forms of nitrous oxide or elementary nitrogen.
This method does not give a pure gas, varying amounts of nitrous oxide and nitrogen being present (see Nitric Acid).
It is customary to use oxygen in combination with chloroform, or nitrous oxide in order to produce insensibility to pain (see Anaesthetics).
Half a century later, nitrous oxide came into use as an anesthetic.