Boron trichloride is a colorless, acid gas that
fumes in the presence of moist air. It is packaged
in steel cylinders as a liquid under its own
vapor pressure of 19.1 psia (132 kPa, abs) at
(21.1°C). It reacts with water or moist air to
produce hydrochloric and boric acid.
Boron trichloride is a colorless gas with a pungent odor. It reacts violently with water, and on decomposition and hydrolysis yields hydrochloric and boric acid. It has a pungent, highly irritating odor. Occupational exposure to boron and boron compounds can occur in industries that produce special glass, washing powder, soap and cosmetics, leather, cement, etc.
Boron trichloride is a Lewis acid, forming stable addition compounds with such donors as ammonia and the amines and is used in the laboratory to promote reactions that liberate these donors. The compound is important industrially as a source of pure boron (reduction with hydrogen) for the electronics industry. It is also used for the preparation of boranes by reaction with metal hydrides.
manufacture of and purification of boron; as catalyst for organic reactions; in semiconductors; in bonding of iron, steels; in purification of metal alloys to remove oxides, nitrides and carbides.
Boron trichloride is used in the refining of aluminum,
copper, magnesium, and zinc to remove
oxides, nitrides, and carbides trom the molten
metal. Carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and nitrogen
can be removed from an aluminum melt by
treating with boron trichloride. It also improves
the tensile strength of aluminum and will allow
remelting without a major change in the grain
The electronic industry benefits trom boron
trichloride in many applications. It is used in the
production of optical fibers, as a p-type dopant
for thermal diffusion in silicon, and for ion implantation.
A fuming liquid made by passing
dry chlorine over heated boron. It is
rapidly hydrolysed by water:
BCl3 + 3H2O → 3HCl + H3BO3
As there are only three pairs of shared
electrons in the outer shell of the boron
atom, boron halides form very stable addition
compounds with ammonia by the acceptance
of a lone electron pair in a
coordinate bond to complete a shared
Boron trichloride can be prepared by high temperature chlorination of boron trioxide, boric acid, metal borates or other boron compounds. Chlorine, hydrogen chloride, phosgene, silicon tetrachloride, metal chlorides, carbontetrachloride, sulfuryl chloride and phosphorus tri- and pentachlorides are some of the common chlorinating agents. The reaction is carried out at temperatures varying between 400° to 1,400°C, depending on the reactants used. In commercial processes, carbon is generally used to reduce boron oxide during its chlorination. Some of the preparative reactions are outlined below:
B2O3 + 2PCl3 → 2BCl3 + P2O3
2B2O3 + 3CCl4 → 4BCl3 + 3CO2
B2O3 + 3C+ 3Cl2 → 2BCl3 + 3CO
2B(OH)3 +3C + 3Cl2 → 2BCl3 + 3CO + 3H2O
B2O3 + 3C + 6HCl → 2BCl3 + 3CO + 3H2
Na2B4O7 + 7C + 14HCl → 4BCl3 + 2NaCl + 7CO + 7H2
2KBF4 + 3MgCl2 → 2BCl3 + 2KF + 3MgF2
Boron trichloride may also be obtained by high temperature chlorination of boron:
2B + 3Cl2 → 2BCl3
B + 3AgCl → BCl3 + 3Ag
In the laboratory, boron trichloride may be made at ordinary temperatures by the reaction of boron trifluoride with aluminum chloride:
BF3 + AlCl3 → BCl3 + AlF3
Boron trichloride appears as a colorless gas with a pungent odor. Fumes irritate the eyes and mucous membranes. Corrosive to metals and tissue and is toxic. Under prolonged exposure to fire or intense heat, the containers may rupture violently and rocket. Used as a catalyst in chemical manufacture, in soldering fluxes, and for many other uses.
Air & Water Reactions
Fumes in air, including moisture in air and soil, to form hydrochloric acid [Merck 11th ed. 1989]. Reacts vigorously with water and forms hydrochloric acid fumes and boric acid.
Boron trichloride vigorously attacks elastomers and packing materials. Contact with Viton, Tygon, Saran and natural and synthetic rubbers is not recommended. Highly corrosive to most metals in the presence of moisture. Reacts energetically with nitrogen dioxide/dinitrogen tetraoxide, aniline, phosphine, triethylsilane, or fat and grease [Mellor 5:132 1946-47]. Reacts exothermically with chemical bases (examples: amines, amides, inorganic hydroxides).
Boron trichloride is highly irritating and corrosive to the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.may cause severe burns to skin. May result in marked fluid and electrolyte loss and shock. On acute inhalation, boron trichloride result in sneezing, hoarseness, choking, laryngitis, and respiratory tract irritation along with bleeding of the nose and gums, ulceration of the nasal and oral mucosa, bronchitis, pneumonia, dyspnea, chest pain, and pulmonary edema.
When heated to decomposition, Boron trichloride emits toxic fumes of chlorides. Boron trichloride will react with water or steam to produce heat, and toxic and corrosive fumes. In hot water, decomposes to hydrochloric acid and boric acid. Fumes and hydrolyzes in moist air to form hydrochloric acid and oily, irritating corrosives. Avoid aniline, hexafluorisopropylidene amino lithium, nitrogen dioxide, phosphine, grease, organic matter, and oxygen. Nitrogen peroxide, phosphine, fat or grease react energetically with Boron trichloride . Oxygen and Boron trichloride react vigorously on sparking. Boron trichloride and aniline react violently in the absence of a coolant or diluent. Stable.
Used in refining of aluminum, magnesium,
copper alloys, and in polymerization of styrene.
Manufacture and purification of boron; catalyst in organic
reactions; semiconductors; bonding of iron or steel; purification
of metal alloys to remove oxides, nitrides, and
carbides; chemical intermediate for boron filaments; soldering
flux; electrical resistors; and extinguishing magnesium
fires in heat treating furnaces.
Boron trichloride is irritating and corrosive to
all living tissue. Exposure of skin tissue to
higher concentrations of boron trichloride or the
liquid can cause hydrochloric acid bums and
skin lesions resulting in tissue destruction and
scarring. Chemical pneumonitis (deep lung inflammation)
and pulmonary edema (abnormal
fluid buildup in the lungs) result trom excessive
exposure to the lower respiratory tract and deep
lung. Bums to the eyes result in lesions and
possible loss of vision. Symptoms of exposure
include tearing of eyes, coughing, labored
breathing, and excessive salivary and sputum
ACGIH has not established a Threshold Limit
Value (TLV?) for boron trichloride. It is recommended
that compliance with the 5 ppm
ceiling limit (TLV-C) for hydrogen chloride be
Boron trichloride cylinders should be protected from physical damage. The cylinders
should be stored upright and fi rmly secured to prevent falling or being knocked over,
in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area of non-combustible construction away from heavily
traffi cked areas and emergency exits
Purify it (from chlorine) by passage through two mercury-filled bubblers, then fractionally distil it under a slight vacuum. In a more extensive purification the nitrobenzene addition compound is formed by passage of the gas over nitrobenzene in a vacuum system at 10o. Volatile impurities are removed from the crystalline yellow solid by pumping at -20o, and the BCl3 is recovered by warming the addition compound at 50o. Passage through a trap at -78o removes entrained nitrobenzene, the BCl3 finally condensing in a trap at -112o [Brown & Holmes J Am Chem Soc 78 2173 1956]. Also purify it by condensing it into a trap cooled in acetone/Dry-ice, where it is pumped for 15minutes to remove volatile impurities. It is then warmed, recondensed and again pumped. [Gamble Inorg Synth III 27 1950.] TOXIC.
Incompatible with lead, graphiteimpregnated
asbestos, potassium, sodium. Vigorously
attacks elastomers, packing materials, natural and synthetic
rubber; viton, tygon, saran, silastic elastomers.
Avoid aniline, hexafluorisopropylidene amino lithium,
nitrogen dioxide, phosphine, grease, organic matter; and
oxygen. Nitrogen peroxide, phosphine. Fat or grease
react vigorously with boron trichloride. It reacts with
water or steam to produce heat, boric acid, and corrosive
hydrochloric acid fumes. Oxygen and boron trichloride
react vigorously on sparking. Attacks most metals in the
presence of moisture.
Return refillable compressed
gas cylinders to supplier. Nonrefillable cylinders should be
disposed of in accordance with local, state, and federal regulations.
Allow remaining gas to vent slowly into atmosphere
in an unconfined area or exhaust hood. Refillabletype
cylinders should be returned to original supplier with
any valve caps and outlet plugs secured and valve protection
caps in place.
Boron trichloride vigorously attacks elastomers and packing materials, natural and synthetic rubbers. It also reacts energetically with nitrogen dioxide/dinitrogen tetraoxide, aniline, phosphine, triethylsilane, or fat and grease. It reacts exothermically with chemical
bases such as amines, amides, and inorganic hydroxides. Occupational workers should
use gloves of neoprene or butyl rubber, PVC or polyethylene, safety goggles, or glasses and
face shield, and safety shoes.
Boron trichloride is available for commercial
and industrial purposes with a minimum purity
of99.9 percent by weight.Boron trichloride is also available in ultra
high purity grades for use in the electronics industry.
Gas purity guidelines have been developed
and published by the Semiconductor
Equipment and Materials International and can
be found in the Book ofSEMI Standards.