hydrogen bromide

How It’s Used

Hydrogen bromide is a colorless or faint yellow gas with a sharp, irritating odor. When dissolved in water it becomes hydrobromic acid. HBr is used in the manufacture of inorganic bromides, as employed in photographic, pharmaceutical, industrial drying, textile finishing, and fire retardant applications. The compound is also used to etch poly-silicon wafers for the manufacture of computer chips.

Hydrobromic acid is a very strong mineral acid, stronger than hydrochloric acid. HBr is highly reactive and corrosive to most metals. The acid is a common reagent in organic chemistry, used for oxidation and catalysis. It is also effective in the extraction of certain metal ores. 

Occupational Health/Toxicology

Hydrogen bromide is a highly toxic gas, causing severe irritation to the upper respiratory tract. The acid formed neutralizes the alkali of tissues and can cause death as a result of edema or spasm of the larynx and inflammation of the upper respiratory system. Skin contact with HBr (both vapor and liquid) causes severe tissue irritation and necrosis. Contact of HBr (gas) with the eyes rapidly causes severe irritation of eyes and eyelids. 

Full record on hydrogen bromide from Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB), a database provided by the US National Library of Medicine.

The hydrogen bromide entry from NIOSH’s Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards.

Monitoring Instrumentation

Check out Interscan’s full line of hydrogen bromide gas detection/gas monitoring instrumentation.