The chemical element Bromine is a non-metallic substance. It belongs to the halogen group in the periodic table along with Fluorine, Chlorine, and Iodine. Chemically, it is represented by the symbol Br. It is found in the form of various bromide salts on the Earth's surface.
Bromine can also be found in seawater, from which it is mainly extracted. In comparison to Fluorine and Chlorine, Bromine is chemically less reactive, although its reactivity is more than that of Iodine. Its compounds are called bromides.
It is the only non-metallic element of the periodic table which is in the liquid form under normal conditions. The liquid however, is volatile, and tends to form vapors very easily at standard room temperature.
Liquid Bromine is thick, and has a reddish-brown color. It gives out red vapor, and has a pungent smell. It is not very soluble in water, but is highly soluble in Carbon disulfide, and organic solvents like Methanol, and Acetic acid.
Bromine acts as a strong oxidizing agent as it needs only one electron in its outermost shell to complete its octet. The element reacts readily with metals, particularly in the presence of water. It combines with various organic compounds in the presence of light.
Bromine has strong bleaching properties, and is widely used as a disinfectant in swimming pools. It is also used for the manufacturing of fumigants, dyes, flameproof agents, water purification compounds and some medicines. It is also used in the production of Brominated vegetable oil, commonly used in soft drinks.
The compounds of Bromine and inorganic metals also benefits us in many ways. Compounds like Calcium bromide, Sodium bromide, and Zinc bromide dissolve in water to give a thick solution which is used as drilling fluid to make boreholes into the Earth. Potassium bromide is also used to develop photographs.
In chemical industries, the element is used on a large scale for the preparation of a number of organobromine compounds which have several utilities, and serve various purposes. One of the most important application of organobromine compounds is as a brominated flame retardant.
These are brominated organic compounds which are capable of inhibiting fire on combustible organic substances. Dibromoethane is another such compound which is added to leaded gasoline. It helps in discarding lead present in gasoline. Presently, it is rarely used due to various environmental reasons.
Bromine does not play any significant role in the human body. However, there are several organobromine compounds that are present in our body. It is a toxic substance and gives a burning sensation when it comes in contact with the skin.
The vapors of Bromine are somewhat corrosive in nature, and toxic too. Hence, it is essential that we take proper precautionary measures when we handle or transport the element.