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Boron Hydrides

One of the sources of renaissance in inorganic synthetic chemistry was the work of stock and his co-workers on volatile hydrides of boron between 1912 and 1936. The full extent of stock’s genius becomes apparent when it is realized that all these hydrides are inflammable and highly unstable, i.e., react with oxygen. He developed vacuum line technique to prepare these highly reactive molecules. The field of boron hydrides was rapidly developed in the sixties and at presents more than 40 different hydrides of boron and several of their isomers have been prepared and established.

Boron hydrides differ from carbon hydrides (i.e., hydrocarbons) do not occur in nature because of their great affinity for water and oxygen. The compound BH3 which would be analogous to BF3 does not exist because hydrogen atom lacks the electrons that would be needed to participative in B H π- back bonding and compensate for the incomplete octet of boron. BH3 apparently dimerize spontaneously when they com in contact with other to form diborane, B2H6.

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