Barium nitrate exists as a white solid at room temperature. It is soluble in water, and like other soluble barium compounds, is toxic and should be handled with care. It occurs naturally as the rare mineral nitrobarite.
At elevated temperatures, barium nitrate decomposes to barium oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and oxygen:
2Ba(NO3)2 + heat → 2BaO + 4NO2 + O2
In an atmosphere of nitric oxide, thermal decomposition produces barium nitrite. Reactions with soluble metal sulfates or sulfuric acid yield barium sulfate. Many insoluble barium salts, such as the carbonate, oxalate and phosphate of the metal, are precipitated by similar double decomposition reactions. Barium nitrate is an oxidizer and reacts vigorously with common reducing agents. The solid powder, when mixed with many other metals such as aluminium or zinc in their finely divided form, or combined with alloys such as aluminium-magnesium, ignites and explodes on impact.
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