Cobalt(III) fluoride

Cobalt(III) fluoride

Cobalt(III) fluoride is the chemical compound with the formula CoF3. This highly reactive, hygroscopic brown solid is used to synthesize organofluorine compounds. CoF3 is a powerful fluorinating agent, the product being CoF2. It decomposes upon contact with water to give oxygen.

CoF3 is prepared in the laboratory by treating CoCl2 with fluorine at 250 °C:

CoCl2 + 3/2 F2 → CoF3 + Cl2
This conversion is a redox reaction, Co2+ is converted to Co3+ and chloride to chlorine. Cobalt(II) oxide (CoO) and cobalt(II) fluoride (CoF2) can also be converted to cobalt(III) fluoride using fluorine.

CoF3 is hygroscopic and can be converted to the anion [CoF6]3-, a rare example of a high-spin, octahedral cobalt(III) complex.

Used as slurry, CoF3 converts hydrocarbons to the perfluorocarbons:

2CoF3 + R-H → CoF2 + R-F + HF

Such reactions are sometimes accompanied by rearrangements or other reactions. The related reagent KCoF4 is more selective.

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