What is the formula for selenium hexafluoride?


Quick Answer

The formula for selenium hexafluoride is SeF6. Selenium, in its oxidation state of six, is surrounded by six fluorine atoms. The substance is a colorless gas at room temperature, with a boiling point of -31 degrees Fahrenheit and a melting point of -38 degrees Fahrenheit. When the gas is heated to high temperatures, selenium hexafluoride breaks down into its composite elements, becoming highly toxic to humans.

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Full Answer

Selenium hexafluoride causes inflammation and irritation in the lungs and on skin. Touching liquefied selenium hexafluoride causes severe injury, frostbite and burns. The odor of the gas offers insufficient warning to overexposure; if someone smells selenium hexafluoride, contamination is already apparent. The gas is heavier than air, so it sinks to the bottom of an enclosed area.

The permissible exposure limit for the corrosive gas is 0.05 parts per million. Dangerous levels occur at two parts per million. Selenium hexafluoride is handled in a well-ventilated room to prevent asphyxiation.

Selenium hexafluoride is produced in laboratory conditions by running a stream of fluorine gas over solid selenium in a narrow copper tube. The reactants involve one molecule of selenium for three molecules of fluorine. The formula is Se + 3F2 --> SeF6. Selenium hexafluoride is an electrical insulator at room temperature.

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