Phosphorus pentabromide

Phosphorus Pentabromide

Phosphorus pentabromide

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Phosphorus pentabromide is a reactive, yellow solid of formula PBr<sub>5</sub>, which has the structure PBr<sub>4</sub><sup>+</sup> Br<sup>−</sup> in the solid state but in the vapor phase is completely dissociated to PBr<sub>3</sub> and Br<sub>2</sub>. Rapid cooling of this phase to 15&nbsp;K leads to formation of an ionic species <sup>+</sup><sup>-</sup>.

It can be used in organic chemistry to convert carboxylic acids to acyl bromides. It is highly corrosive and should be handled with care. It decomposes above 100&nbsp;°C to give phosphorus tribromide and bromine:

PBr<sub>5</sub> → PBr<sub>3</sub> + Br<sub>2</sub>

Reversing this equilibrium to generate PBr<sub>5</sub> by addition of Br<sub>2</sub> to PBr<sub>3</sub> is difficult in practice because the product is susceptible to further addition to yield PBr<sub>7</sub>.


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