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Sulfur Hexafluoride - SF6

What is Sulfur Hexafluoride?

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

Other names – hexafluoro-λ6-sulfane


Sulfur Hexafluoride


6.17 kg/m³

Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass

146.06 g/mol

Boiling Point

−50.8 °C

Melting Point

−64 °C

Chemical Formula


Sulfur Hexafluoride Structure – SF6

Sulfur Hexafluoride Structure

Physical Properties of Sulfur Hexafluoride – SF6




Colorless gas

Covalently-Bonded Unit


Hydrogen Bond Acceptor





Poorly soluble in water and readily soluble in nonpolar organic solvents.

Chemical Properties of Sulfur Hexafluoride – SF6

  • Sulfur hexafluoride dissolves in water forms sulfuric acid and hydrogen sulfide. The chemical equation is given below.
  • SF6 + 4H2O → H2SO4 + 6HF

  • Sulfur hexafluoride reacts with base like sodium hydroxide forms sodium sulfate, sodium fluoride and water. The chemical equation is given below.
  • SF6 + 8NaOH → Na2SO4 + 6NaF + 4H2O

Uses of Sulfur 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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