Diatomic Bromine

What is Br2, Diatomic Bromine?

The Diatomic Bromine (Br2) is a molecule formed when two bromine atoms combine together. It is a red-brown liquid at ordinary temperature and is very volatile. It gives dense red-brown vapours, and these are highly toxic to mucous membranes. Bromine gets purified from the salts that are taken from rocks and seawater. It is sold like salts or other compounds because the pure bromine is expensive and challenging to produce. Bromine was discovered by a French chemist - Antoine J.Balard, in 1826.

Bromine is the third-largest halogen, and the Br2 properties are intermediate between those of iodine and chlorine. The element is commercially extracted from the brine pools, mostly in the parts of the United States, China, and Israel. Mass of the bromine in the oceans is approximately one three-hundredth that of chlorine.


Diatomic Bromine Structure

The structure of Bromine will be as,

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Br2 Properties

Physical Properties of Br2

Bromine has various physical properties. It has a red-brown color and is a dense liquid having a melting point and boiling point of -7° Celsius and 58.9° Celsius, respectively. It is heavy and nonmetallic. Bromine evaporates quickly at room temperature due to its liquid state. It exhibits an unpleasant odor, which is three times as dense as water.


Chemical Properties of Br2

Bromine also has many chemical properties. Firstly, it is less reactive than fluorine or chlorine but much reactive than iodine due to its periodic table’s position. It is below fluorine and chlorine, which makes it more reactive than both of these even though they lie on the same series. Iodine, however, is below Bromine and makes Bromine less reactive than iodine. Bromine is very poisonous to humans as it can cause painful burns when contacted with human skin. It is also a bleaching agent, and when exposed to air, it produces thick reddish-brown fumes.

Some of the chemical reactions of Bromine will be as,

  • Bromine reacts with sodium carbonate to form sodium bromide, carbon dioxide, and sodium bromate.

            3Br2 + 3Na2CO3 --> 5NaBr + NaBrO3 + 3CO2

  • Bromine dissolves in water to form Hypobromous acid and hydrogen bromide. The chemical equation will be as,

            Br2 + H2O --> HBr + HBrO


Uses of Diatomic Bromine

There are many uses of Br2 and a few of them are listed below.

  • Bromine compounds are used as dyestuffs, pesticides, flame-retardants in plastics, and as water purification compounds.

  • 1, and 2-dibromoethane can be used as an anti-knock agent to raise the octane number of gasoline by allowing engines for their smooth run. As a result of environmental legislation, this application has declined.

  • Bromine can be used in oil and gas well drillings and in gold mining extraction processes.

  • Compounds consisting of 32% bromine are used in spray-bonded nonwovens, textile coatings, fibers, and adhesives.

  • It is also used for analytical processes and for the production of organic compounds.

  • Bromine is used as an emulsifier in various citrus-flavored soft drinks.


Health Effects of Bromine

Bromine is highly corrosive to human tissue in a liquid state, and the vapors irritate the eyes and throat. Bromine vapors become extremely toxic with inhalation.

Humans can absorb the organic bromine through the skin, during breathing, and with food. Organic bromines are commonly used as a solvent for insect-killing and other unwanted pests. They are not only poisonous to the animals they used against, but also to the larger animals. They are also poisonous to humans in many cases.

The most important health problems that can be caused by organic bromine-containing contaminants are nervous system malfunctions and genetic material abnormalities.

Organic bromines, however, can also cause damage to organs such as the liver, kidneys, lungs, and can cause stomach and gastrointestinal malfunctions. Some forms of organic bromine, like ethylene bromine, may even cause cancer.

Inorganic bromines are found in nature, but while naturally occurring, humans have added too much over the years. Humans absorb high doses of inorganic bromines through food and drinking water. These bromines may damage the nervous system and the thyroid gland.


Environmental Effects of Bromine

Organic bromines are often used as disinfectants and protective agents due to their harmful effects on microorganisms. When used in greenhouses and on farmland, it can easily be rinsed off to surface water, which has very negative health effects on fishes, daphnia, algae, and lobster.

They are also harmful to mammals, particularly when they accumulate in the bodies of their prey. The most significant effects on animals are nerve damage and, in addition, DNA damage, which can also increase the risk of contracting cancer.

Organic bromine is ingested by food, by breathing and through the skin.

These are not very biodegradable; they will consist of inorganic bromines when decomposed. They can damage the nervous system when high doses are absorbed.

It has happened in the past that organic bromines have ended up in cattle food. Thousands of pigs and cows had to be killed to prevent human infection. The cattle suffered symptoms such as liver damage, loss of sight and depletion of growth, decreased immunity, decreased production of milk and sterility, and malformed children.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Why is the Formula for Bromine Br2 in a Liquid State and not Br?

Liquid state bromine is a diatomic molecule because the energy of the system is lower in a molecule than in a molecule composed of two bromine-isolated atoms. In the stability aspects, the lower the energy, the greater the stability of the system. When the halogen elements are found to be diatomic, that is so as they form a covalent bond, they fill their valence electron shell (8 electrons), and the atom with a closed valence electron shell appears to be chemically inert (more stable). This situation is fulfilled by the diatomic Bromine. In the gaseous phase, bromine atoms have the energy to be autonomous bodies.

2. What are the Characteristics of Bromine?

Bromine is less chemically active than that of chlorine and fluorine but more active than iodine; its compounds are much similar to those of other halogens. Bromine is soluble in organic solvents and water. Pure bromine is always diatomic. Bromine is the only nonmetallic element that exists as a liquid at ordinary temperatures. It is a dense and reddish-brown compound that evaporates quickly at room temperature to a red vapor with a strong, chlorine-like odor. Bromine is less reactive compared to chlorine or fluorine whereas more reactive than iodine. It produces compounds with many elements and, like chlorine, acts as a bleaching agent.