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Hydrogen fluoride
CAS number 7664-39-3 Yes check.svgY
PubChem 16211014
RTECS number MW7875000
Molecular formula HF
Molar mass 20.00634 g/mol
Appearance colorless gas
Density 1.15 g/l, gas (25 °C)
Melting point

−83.6 °C, 190 K, -118 °F

Boiling point

19.5 °C, 293 K, 67 °F

Solubility in water miscible
Acidity (pKa) 3.2
Refractive index (nD) 1.00001
Molecular shape Linear
Dipole moment 1.86 D
Std enthalpy of
−13.66 kJ/g (gas)
−14.99 kJ/g (liquid)
Standard molar
8.687 J/g K (gas)
NFPA 704
NFPA 704.svg
Related compounds
Other anions Hydrogen chloride
Hydrogen bromide
Hydrogen iodide
Other cations Sodium fluoride
Related compounds Hydrofluoric acid
 Yes check.svgY (what is this?)  (verify)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Hydrogen fluoride is a chemical compound with the formula HF. It is the principal industrial source of fluorine, often in the aqueous form as hydrofluoric acid, and thus is the precursor to many important compounds including pharmaceuticals and polymers (e.g. Teflon). HF is widely used in the petrochemical industry and a component of many superacids. HF boils just below room temperature whereas the other hydrogen halides condense at much lower temperatures. Unlike the other hydrogen halides, HF is lighter than air and it is particularly penetrating, which can damage the lungs. Aqueous solutions of HF, called hydrofluoric acid, are strongly corrosive.



The structure of chains of HF in crystalline hydrogen fluoride.

HF forms orthorhombic crystals, consisting of zig-zag chains of HF molecules. The HF molecules, with a short H–F bond of 0.95 Å, are linked to neighboring molecules by intermolecular H–F distances of 1.55 Å.[1]

Liquid HF also consists of chains of HF molecules, but the chains are shorter, consisting on average of only five or six molecules.[2] The higher boiling point of HF relative to analogous species, such as HCl, is attributed to hydrogen bonding between HF molecules, as indicated by the existence of chains even in the liquid state.


Dilute aqueous HF solutions are weakly acidic in contrast to corresponding solutions of the other hydrogen halides. A qualitative explanation for this behavior is related to the tendency of HF to hydrogen-bond and form ion-pair clusters such as F·H3O+.[3][4]

In concentrated hydrogen fluoride solution, F ions forms a [HF2](aq) complex with HF molecules. HF molecules remain ionized to compensate the loss of F ions. More H+ ions are thus formed, making concentrated HF an effectively strong acid.

Anhydrous hydrogen fluoride is an extremely strong acid (H0 ~ −11), comparable in strength to anhydrous sulfuric acid (H0 ~ −12).

Production and uses

Hydrogen fluoride is produced as a side product of the extraction of the fertilizer precursor phosphoric acid from various minerals. This theme is developed in the article on hydrofluoric acid.

The anhydrous compound hydrogen fluoride is more commonly used than its aqueous solution, hydrofluoric acid. HF serves as a catalyst in alkylation processes in oil refineries. A component of high-octane gasoline called "alkylate" is generated in Alkylation units that combine C3 and C4 olefins and isobutane to generate gasoline.[5]

HF is a reactive solvent in the electrochemical fluorination of organic compounds. In this approach, HF is oxidized in the presence of a hydrocarbon and the fluorine replaces C–H bonds with C–F bonds. Perfluorinated carboxylic acids and sulfonic acids are produced in this way.[5]

Hydrogen fluoride is an important catalyst used in the majority of the installed linear alkyl benzene production in the world. The process involves dehydrogenation of n-paraffins to olefins, and subsequent reaction with benzene using HF as catalyst.

Elemental fluorine, F2, is prepared by electrolysis of a solution of HF and potassium bifluoride. Several million kilograms of F2 are produced annually.[6]

Health effects

Upon contact with moisture, including tissue, hydrogen fluoride immediately converts to hydrofluoric acid, which is highly corrosive and toxic, and requires immediate medical attention.


  1. ^ Johnson, M. W.; Sándor, E.; Arzi, E. (1975). "The Crystal Structure of Deuterium Fluoride". Acta Crystallographica B31: pages 1998–2003. doi:10.1107/S0567740875006711. 
  2. ^ Mclain, Sylvia E. (2004). "On the Structure of Liquid Hydrogen Fluoride". Angewandte Chemie, International Edition 43: 1952–55. doi:10.1002/anie.200353289. 
  3. ^ Giguere, Paul A. (1980). "The nature of hydrofluoric acid. A spectroscopic study of the proton-transfer complex H3O+...F". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 102: 5473. doi:10.1021/ja00537a008. 
  4. ^ Radu Iftimie, Vibin Thomas, Sylvain Plessis, Patrick Marchand, and Patrick Ayotte (2008). "Spectral Signatures and Molecular Origin of Acid Dissociation Intermediates". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 130: 5901. doi:10.1021/ja077846o. 
  5. ^ a b J. Aigueperse, P. Mollard, D. Devilliers, M. Chemla, R. Faron, R. Romano, J. P. Cuer, “Fluorine Compounds, Inorganic” in Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2005
  6. ^ M. Jaccaud, R. Faron, D. Devilliers, R. Romano “Fluorine” in Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2005.

Simple English

Hydrogen fluoride is a chemical compound. It is a highly toxic colorless gas. Its chemical formula is HF. It dissolves in water to produce hydrofluoric acid, a strongly toxic corrosive acid. It is used to make fluorine. It is used as a catalyst. It is much more easily liquified (made into liquid) than any other hydrogen halide.

See also


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