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Chemistry of Bromine

Bromine is a reddish-brown fuming liquid at room temperature with a very disagreeable chlorine-like smell. In fact its name is derived from the Greek bromos or "stench". It was first isolated in pure form by Balard in 1826. It is the only non-metal that is a liquid at normal room conditions. Bromine on the skin causes painful burns that heal very slowly. It is an element to be treated with the utmost respect in the laboratory.

Most bromine is produced by displacement from ordinary sea water. Chlorine (which is more active) is generally used to dislodge the bromine from various compounds in the water. Before leaded gasolines were removed from the market, bromine was used in an additive to help prevent engine "knocking". Production now is chiefly devoted to dyes, disinfectants and photographic chemicals.

Contributors

Stephen R. Marsden (ChemTopics)