Silicon tetrabromide


Silicon tetrabromide
Stereo structural formula of silicon tetrabromide
Space fill model of silicon tetrabromide
Ball and stick model of silicon tetrabromide
IUPAC name
Silicon tetrabromide
Other names
Silicon bromide
Silicon(IV) bromide
  • 7789-66-4 checkY
3D model (JSmol)
  • Interactive image
  • 74225 checkY
ECHA InfoCard 100.029.257 Edit this at Wikidata
EC Number
  • 232-182-4
  • 82247
  • 8GAC9YWL42 checkY
UN number 3264
  • DTXSID6064872 Edit this at Wikidata
  • InChI=1S/Br4Si/c1-5(2,3)4 checkY
  • Br[Si](Br)(Br)Br
Molar mass 347.701 g·mol−1
Appearance Colorless liquid
Density 2.79 g·cm−3
Melting point 5 °C (41 °F; 278 K)
Boiling point 153 °C (307 °F; 426 K)
−-128.6·10−6 cm3/mol
GHS labelling:
GHS05: CorrosiveGHS07: Exclamation mark
H302, H312, H314, H332, H335
P260, P261, P264, P270, P271, P280, P301+P312, P301+P330+P331, P302+P352, P303+P361+P353, P304+P312, P304+P340, P305+P351+P338, P310, P312, P321, P322, P330, P363, P403+P233, P405, P501
NFPA 704 (fire diamond)
Related compounds
Related tetrahalosilanes
Silicon tetrachloride
Silicon tetrafluoride
Silicon tetraiodide
Related compounds
Platinum(IV) bromide
Tellurium tetrabromide
Tin(IV) bromide
Titanium tetrabromide
Zirconium(IV) bromide
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

Silicon tetrabromide is the inorganic compound with the formula SiBr4. This colorless liquid has a suffocating odor due to its tendency to hydrolyze with release of hydrogen bromide.[1] The general properties of silicon tetrabromide closely resemble those of the more commonly used silicon tetrachloride.[1]

Comparison of SiX4

The properties of the tetrasilanes, all of which are tetrahedral, are significantly affected by nature of the halide. These trends apply also to the mixed halides. Melting points, boiling points, and bond lengths increase with the atomic mass of the halide. The opposite trend is observed for the Si-X bond energies.

SiH4 SiF4 SiCl4 SiBr4 SiI4
b.p. (˚C)[2] -111.9 -90.3 56.8 155.0 290.0
m.p. (˚C)[2] -185 -95.0 -68.8 5.0 155.0
Si-X bond length (Å) 1.55 2.02 2.20 2.43
Si-X bond energy (kJ/mol)[3] 384 582 391 310 234

Lewis acidity

Covalently saturated silicon complexes like SiBr4, along with tetrahalides of germanium (Ge) and tin (Sn), are Lewis acids.[4] Although silicon tetrahalides obey the octet rule, they add Lewis basic ligands to give adducts with the formula SiBr4L and SiBr4L2 (where L is a Lewis base).[5][6][7] The Lewis acidic properties of the tetrahalides tend to increase as follows: SiI4 < SiBr4 < SiCl4 < SiF4. This trend is attributed to the relative electronegativities of the halogens.[6][3]

The strength of the Si-X bonds decrease in the order: Si-F > Si-Cl > Si-Br > Si-I.[3][2]


Silicon tetrabromide is synthesized by the reaction of silicon with hydrogen bromide at 600 °C.[8]

Si + 4 HBr → SiBr4 + 2 H2

Side products include dibromosilane (SiH2Br2) and tribromosilane (SiHBr3).[8]

Si + 2 HBr → SiH2Br2
Si + 3 HBr → SiHBr3 + H2


Like other halosilanes, SiBr4 can be converted to hydrides, alkoxides, amides, and alkyls, i.e., products with the following functional groups: Si-H, Si-OR, Si-NR2, Si-R, and Si-X bonds respectively.[1]

Silicon tetrabromide can be readily reduced by hydrides or complex hydrides.[2]

4 R2AlH + SiBr4 → SiH4 + 4 R2AlBr

Reactions with alcohols and amines proceed as follows:[2]

SiBr4 + 4 ROH → Si(OR)4 + 4 HBr
SiBr4 + 8 HNR2 → Si(NR2)4 + 4 HNR2HBr

Grignard reactions with metal alkyl halides are particularly important reactions due to their production of organosilicon compounds which can be converted to silicones.[2]

SiBr4 + n RMgX → RnSiBr4−n + n MgXBr

Redistribution reactions occur between two different silicon tetrahalides (as well as halogenated polysilanes) when heated to 100 ˚C, resulting in various mixed halosilanes.[1][3] The melting points and boiling points of these mixed halosilanes generally increase as their molecular weights increase.[9] (Can occur with X= H, F, Cl, Br, and I)

2 SiBr4 + 2 SiCl4 → SiBr3Cl + 2 SiBr2Cl2 + SiBrCl3
Si2Cl6 + Si2Br6 → Si2ClnBr6−n

Silicon tetrabromide hydrolyzes readily when exposed to air causing it to fume:[10]

SiBr4 + 2 H2O → SiO2 + 4 HBr

Silicon tetrabromide is stable in the presence of oxygen at room temperature, but bromosiloxanes form at 670–695 ˚C .[10]

2 SiBr4 + 1⁄2 O2 → Br3SiOSiBr3 + Br2


Due to its close similarity to silicon tetrachloride, there are few applications unique to SiBr4. The pyrolysis of SiBr4 does have the advantage of depositing silicon at faster rates than that of SiCl4, however SiCl4 is usually preferred due to its availability in high purity.[11] Pyrolysis of SiBr4 followed by treatment with ammonia yields silicon nitride (Si3N4) coatings, a hard compound used for ceramics, sealants, and the production of many cutting tools.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry; King, B. R.; John Wiley & Sons Ltd.: New York, NY, 1994; Vol 7, pp 3779–3782.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Silicon Compounds, Silicon Halides. Collins, W.: Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology; John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2001.
  3. ^ a b c d Ebsworth, E. A. V. In Volatile Silicon Compounds; Taube, H.; Maddock, A. G.; Inorganic Chemistry; Pergamon Press Book: New York, NY, 1963; Vol. 4.
  4. ^ Davydova, E. I.; Timoshkin, A. Y.; Sevastianova, T. N.; Suvorov, A. V.; Frenking, G. J. Mol. Struct. 2006, vol, 767-1-3. doi:10.1016/j.theochem.2006.05.011
  5. ^ Beattie, I. R.; Gilson, T.; Webster, M.; (in part) McQuillan, G. P. J. Chem. Soc. 1964, 238-244. doi:10.1039/JR9640000238
  6. ^ a b Mironov, S. L.; Gorlov, Y. I.; Chuiko, A. A. Theor. Exp. Chem. 1979, vol, 14–16. doi:10.1007/BF00519073
  7. ^ Beattie, I. R.; Ozin, G. A. J. Chem. Soc., Inorg. Phys. Theor. 1969, 2267–2269
  8. ^ a b Schumb, W. B. Silicobromoform" Inorganic Syntheses 1939, volume 1, pp 38-42. doi:10.1002/9780470132326.
  9. ^ Greenwood, N. N.; Earnshaw, A. Chemistry of the Elements; Pergamon Press Inc.: New York, NY, 1984; pp 391-393.
  10. ^ a b Silicon Compounds, Silanes. Arkles, B.; Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology; John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2001.
  11. ^ a b Silicon Compounds, Inorganic. Simmler W.; Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry; Wiley-VCH, 2002. doi:10.1002/14356007.a24_001