Molecule of the Week

Boron trifluoride

August 24, 2009

Boron trifluoride (BF3) is a pungent, toxic, corrosive gas most frequently used as a Lewis acid to catalyze organic reactions such as the alkylation of aromatic rings. Its preparation from borax and HF was patented by Harshaw Chemical in 1939. BF3 is conveniently handled in the lab as its adduct with ethyl ether.