Rethinking the Market Conditions for Bromine

April 2021

Bromine is the only non-metal that can dissolve in water. It's a naturally occurring element that has been used for many years and it's in our food and drinks. I'll be discussing the uses of bromine, how to extract it, what happens when it reacts with other chemicals, as well as its health benefits. I'll also give you an overview of the three types of bromine gas.

Introduction to Bromine

Bromine is a chemical element with symbol Br and atomic number 35. It is a nonmetallic dark red liquid at room temperature that evaporates quickly and has an extremely strong odor paired with an even stronger acidic taste in concentrated form. The density of bromine is actually higher than that of the element chlorine which makes it very useful for an industrial purpose since it's cheaper to extract at a higher volume. Bromine is used in many industries such as paper and pulp, pharmaceuticals, photography, agriculture, and food technology.

Extraction of bromine

For the extraction of the element from various natural sources, two main methods can be used:

  • Solvent extraction: Bromine is readily dissolved in petroleum ether, carbon tetrachloride, carbon dioxide and perchloric acid. It can also be extracted from lead chloride by primarily neutralizing the lead chloride with sulfuric acid using sodium sulfate as an alkalizer. It can also be extracted from copper chloride by adding sulfuric acid to the reaction mix.

  • Direct combination: Bromine is more difficult to extract using this method because it has a higher boiling point, chlorine is displaced as a component of the water, and bromine needs to be separated from other components.

Reaction of bromine

Bromine reacts with other chemicals in several ways which include but not limited to:

Reactions of elemental bromine with elements: all combine easily due to the high electronegativity of the elements involved in these reactions (except for hydrogen). The exothermic nature of these reactions also makes bromine an excellent oxidizing agent.

Bromine is used to make dyes and chemicals. It is also used in the automotive industry and in fire extinguishers. The element is found in only minor amounts on Earth, very few minerals are bromine rich, and it most commonly occurs bonded to chloride or iodine. On Earth, natural bromine is found only in fossil fuels such as clathrates, sulfur springs and volcanic fumaroles. In 2004, more than 493,000 tonnes of bromine were produced commercially throughout the world as a byproduct of separating saline water from natural gas wells—an estimated 3% of the 58 million tonnes of bromine consumed by industry was derived from this source.

Bromine and its compounds are used in well drilling fluids, fire extinguishing systems, safety matches, pesticides, pool cleaning agents. Bromides are the most common trace element added to potable water to maintain the disinfectant properties of chlorine. A few bromide ions are useful as organobromine compounds for mild sedation and central nervous system regulation. This is due to the effect of bromides on the central nervous system. In general, bromides in moderate amounts cause a sedative action on the central nervous system, while large amounts can lead to disorientation or excitation.

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