Bromosilane go BOOM!

Well ladies and gentlemen, I’ve reached a milestone…I caused my first explosion in lab yesterday. I was cleaning out a flask after a cold-trap separation of the reaction products of the bromosilane synthesis reaction:

PhSiH3 + HBr –> SiH3Br + C6H6

I believed that no bromosilane (or perhaps a negligibly small amount) remained in said flask. I was wrong. Set the flask inside the hood, put a little heat on it to vaporize things, took a step back to walk away, and BAM! A huge, quick flame burst out of the flask’s mouth, accompanied by a horrible noise like a gunshot. Incredibly, the flask was just fine, save for a few brown spots that 48% HF took care of right away. Nothing got burned in the hood either. It was just a really loud, scary noise and a few flames. Doesn’t mean it didn’t scare the pants off me, of course.

The picture, for your viewing pleasure, is the LUMO of bromosilane.



  1. I guess you beat me to it! I haven’t had an explosion yet.
    Also, where’s the love for your super-awesome group members? Fumie has something out in JACS today, and you didn’t even mention it? 😦


  2. Aww, I knew something was coming out soon, but I wasn’t sure when.

    Didn’t Dr. Anthony say Shankar was supposed to have published something recently? I’ve been looking around for that for a while, and can’t find it…


  3. I’ve been looking too. Either I missed it or it’s not out yet. Our group had something-or-other in JACS within the past month that had lots of nice pictures, but I don’t think Sankar was on that one.


  4. I remember the first explosion of my life – when preparing phthalocyanine in neat conditions at a very high temperature.


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