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XYX Compounds

Chemical compounds with a similar structure to water.

Posted: Jul 31st, 2022

There are a few very common chemicals with similar chemical formulas. Water is H20, dihydrogen monoxide. It’s an oxygen atom connected to two hydrogen atoms. Carbon dioxide CO2, which is vital for life on earth, is likewise a carbon atom connected to two oxygen atoms. And the primary component of sand and glass is silicon dioxide, silica, a silicon atom connected to two oxygen atoms.1

What other compounds are in this implied set? As it turns out, mostly a load of toxic stinking gasses.

Set 1: Hydrogen Chalcogenides

HOH - Dihydrogen monoxide
Oxidane, Water
HSH - Dihydrogen monosulfide
Stinkdamp, sewer gas, nasty stuff. Smells like rotting eggs
HSeH - Dihydrogen selenide
Extremely toxic gas. Smells like rotting horseradish.
HTeH - Dihydrogen telluride
Smells like rotting garlic.
HPoH - Dihydrogen polonide
Unstable and radioactive. Extremely difficult to work with.
HLvH - Dihydrogen livermoride
Haha. No.

Set 2a: Carbon Dichalcogenides

OCO - Carbon Dioxide
aka Fixed Air
SCS - Carbon disulfide
Used to make cellophane. Also sometimes used as a fumigant
SeCSe - Carbon diselenide
When first sythesized, its smell “forced the evacuation of a nearby village”.

Set 2b: Silicon Dichalcogenides

OSiO - Silicon dioxide
Silica (Glass/Sand/Quartz)
SSiS - Silicon disulfide
It’s used to make other chemicals, but I can’t find any major applications for the stuff on its own.
SeSiSe - Silicon diselenide
It’s been synthesized and studied, but I can’t find any fun facts about it.

Set 3: Triple Chalcogens

OOO - Trioxygen
Ozone. Actually quite useful.
OSO - Sulfur Dioxide
Pollutant. Sometimes used in winemaking or food preservation.
OSeO - Selenium dioxide
Smells like horseradish, used as a glass colorant.
SSS - Trisulfur
Converts to S8 in Earth conditions, but observed on Io and Venus.
SSeS - Selenium disulfide
An antifungal agent used to treat dandruff. On the WHO list of essential medicines. Brand names include Versel, Selsun, and Exsel.

I can’t find any interesting info on Triselenide, etc.

  1. Though unlike the other two, silica is found is rarely encountered in fluid form, and more commonly seen as a solid crystal. 

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