Sulphur Hexafluoride - SF6

What is Sulphur Hexafluoride?

  • Sulphur hexafluoride is an inorganic gas made up of sulphur and fluorine.
  • Sulphur hexafluoride is one of the most stable gases known.
  • Sulphur hexafluoride is a very dense gas so it will mainly reside in the lowest layers of air. Exposure will be primarily occupational.
  • Sulphur hexafluoride is a weaker eluent than carbon dioxide and is difficult to obtain in adequate purity.
  • It provides high dielectric strength and excellent arc-quenching properties.
  • The high heat absorbing ability makes sulphur hexafluoride a strong greenhouse gas with a CO2 equivalent contribution to the global warming potential.

Other names – hexafluoro-λ6-sulphane

SF6 Sulphur Hexafluoride
Density 6.17 kg/m³
Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass 146.06 g/mol
Boiling Point −50.8 °C
Melting Point −64 °C
Chemical Formula SF6

Table of Contents

Sulphur Hexafluoride Structure – SF6


Physical Properties of Sulphur Hexafluoride – SF6

Odour Odourless
Appearance Colourless gas
Covalently-Bonded Unit 1
Hydrogen Bond Acceptor 6
Complexity 62.7
Solubility Poorly soluble in water and readily soluble in nonpolar organic solvents.

Chemical Properties of Sulphur Hexafluoride – SF6

      • Sulphur hexafluoride dissolves in water and forms sulphuric acid and hydrogen sulphide. The chemical equation is given below.
        SF6 + 4H2O → H2SO4 + 6HF
      • Sulphur hexafluoride reacts with a base like sodium hydroxide and forms sodium sulphate, sodium fluoride and water. The chemical equation is given below.
        SF6 + 8NaOH → Na2SO4 + 6NaF + 4H2O

Uses of Sulphur Hexafluoride – SF6

    • Used in magnesium manufacturing as a cover gas and in certain semiconductor production.
    • Used as a dating tool and as a tracer of igneous and volcanic fluids in groundwater.
    • Used as an electrical insulation, arc quenching and cooling medium in electrical switchgear, transformers and substations.
    • Used as etching gasses for plasma etching or as cleaning gasses for cleaning chambers after the etching process in the semiconductor industry.


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