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Group 13 halides are used as synthons for their organometallic derivatives, [link] and [link] .

Lewis acid-base complexes

All of the trihalides are strong Lewis acids, and as such react with Lewis base compounds to form Lewis acid-base complexes, [link] . The extent of the equilibrium is dependant on the Lewis acidity of the trihalide and the basicity of the Lewis base. For example, with BCl 3 , oxygen donor ligands result in approximately 50:50 ratio of BCl 3 and BCl 3 L, while for nitrogen donor ligands the equilibrium is shifted to the formation of the complex.

The general structure of the Lewis acid-base complexes is such that the Group 13 element is close to tetrahedral ( [link] ). However, for aluminum and the heavier Group 13 elements, more than one ligand can coordinate ( [link] ) up to a maximum of six.

Molecular structure of a typical Group 13 metal trihalide Lewis acid-base complex: AlBr 3 (9-fluorenone). Adapted from C. S. Branch, S. G. Bott, and A. R. Barron, J. Organomet. Chem ., 2003, 666 , 23.
Molecular structure of AlBr 3 (9-fluorenone) 2 . Adapted from C. S. Branch, S. G. Bott, and A. R. Barron, J. Organomet. Chem ., 2003, 666 , 23.

It should be noted that the dimeric form of MX 3 ( [link] ) can be thought of as mutual Lewis acid-base complexes, in which a Lewis basic lone pair of a halide on one MX 3 unit donates to the Lewis acidic metal on another MX 3 unit.


Generally the fluorides are insoluble in water while the heavier halides are more soluble. However, BF 3 , BCl 3 , and BBr 3 all decompose in the presence of water, [link] . In the case of the fluoride, the HF formed reacts with BF 3 to form fluoroboric acid, [link] . However, there is also a minor equilibrium (2-3%) resulting in the formation of the BF 3 complex of OH - and H 3 O + , [link] .

While the boron compounds (and AlBr 3 ) decompose even in moist air, AlCl 3 reacts more slowly to make aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH) which has the general formula Al n Cl 3n-m (OH) m . While ACH has been proposed to exist as a number of cluster species, it is actually a range of nanoparticles.

ACH is also known as polyaluminum chloride (PAC). The latter name is often used in water purification, where ACH is preferred over alum derivatives (Al 2 (SO 4 ) 3 ). The combination of ACH and a high molecular weight quaternized ammonium polymer (e.g., dially dimethyl ammonium chloride (DADMAC)), has been known as an effective combination as a flocculant in water treatment process to remove dissolved organic matter and colloidal particles present in suspension.

Aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH) and aluminum-zirconium compounds, are frequently used as the active ingredient in antiperspirants. The mode of action of most aluminum-based compounds involves the dramatic change in the particle size from nano to micro as a function of pH and electrolyte changes on the skin (as compared to the antiperspirant stick or suspension) and hence forming a gel plug in the duct of the sweat gland. The plugs prevent the gland from excreting liquid and are removed over time by the natural sloughing of the skin. A further mechanism of action involves the absorption of 3-methyl-2-hexenoic acid ( [link] ). Human perspiration is odorless until bacteria ferment it. Bacteria thrive in hot, humid environments such as the underarm. When adult armpits are washed with alkaline pH soaps, the skin loses its acid mantel (pH = 4.5 - 6), raising the skin pH and disrupting the skin barrier. The bacteria thrive in the basic environment, and feed on the sweat from the apocrine glands and on dead skin and hair cells, releasing 3-methyl-2-hexenoic acid, which is the primary cause of body odor. As with all carboxylic acids, 3-methyl-2-hexenoic acid, reacts in a facile manner with the surface of the alumina nanoparticles. Aluminum chloride salts also have a slight astringent effect on the pores; causing them to contract, further preventing sweat from reaching the surface of the skin.

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
waht is hydrating power of lithium carbonates
Mahar Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry of the main group elements. OpenStax CNX. Aug 20, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11124/1.25
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