Talk about Macabre!

From my inorganic textbook:

“In the late 1920s many states introduced poisoning with hydrogen cyanide as a method of execution. The gas chamber was a sealed room containing a chair. Beneath the chair hung glass containers with sodium or potassium cyanide. At the warden’s signal, the containers were released by remote control into a bath of sulfuric acid. The hydrogen cyanide produced was of high enough concentration to cause unconciousness within seconds and death within five minutes.”

Then, oh-so-tastefully written below the above description:

“2 NaCN(aq) + H2SO4(aq) –> Na2SO4(aq) + HCN(g)”


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