Barium Bromide


The compound barium bromide is constituted by a metal and a non-metal element. Therefore, it is an ionic compound. The technique of fractional crystallization developed by Marie Curie in the 19th century to purify Radium employs barium bromide. Barium bromide is used in photography as a precursor of other important chemicals. Just like other halogen compounds, barium bromide has significant uses in inorganic chemistry. It is a chemical that is primarily used in laboratories and industries. Barium bromide is stored in glass bottles to prevent hydration. This is because barium bromide is a salt and can easily absorb water of hydration and turn it into its hydrated form.

What is Barium Bromide?

The reaction of a barium ion with a bromide ion produces a highly toxic ionic compound called barium bromide. Like any other ionic compound, barium bromide also exists in crystalline form. The three-dimensional lattice structure of barium bromide is orthorhombic. An orthorhombic structure is a crystal system that has two elongated orthogonal pairs that are stretched by two different factors. The overall crystal appears as a rectangular prism. Barium belongs to group 17 while barium belongs to group 2 which explains the ionic valency of both ions and stabilization of barium bromide attained by attaining a stable octet configuration.

Barium Bromide - Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Barium bromide is a white crystalline solid.

  • Barium bromide is deliquescent in nature. This means that it can adsorp or absorb molecules from the environment and hold it to form hydrated salts.

  • Barium bromide has a molecular weight of 297.14 g/mol

  • Barium bromide has a melting point of 857 degrees celsius. The reason for such a high melting point is that it is an ionic compound.

  • Barium bromide has a boiling point of 1835 degrees celsius. The reason for such a high boiling point is that it is an ionic compound.

  • Barium bromide has a density of 4.78 grams per cubic centimetre.

  • Barium bromide is soluble in water.

Reactions of Barium Bromide

  • Barium sulphate is precipitated out as a white solid when sulphate salts react with a solution of barium bromide. Sodium sulphate reacts with barium bromide via a double displacement reaction to produce barium sulphate.

$${BaBr_2+Na_2SO_4\rightarrow BaSO_4 \downarrow +2NaBr}$$

Such a double displacement reaction of barium bromide can occur with other acids such as phosphoric acid, oxalic acid and hydrofluoric acid. These reactions are illustrated below.

  • The reaction of barium bromide with oxalic acid or any oxalate-producing compound yields barium oxalate as a solid precipitate.

$${BaBr_2+C_2H_2O_4\rightarrow BaSO_4\downarrow +2HBr}$$

  • The reaction of barium bromide with phosphoric acid or any phosphate-producing compound yield barium phosphate as a solid precipitate.

$${3BaBr_2+2H_3PO_4\rightarrow Ba_3(PO_4)_2\downarrow +6HBr}$$

  • The reaction of barium bromide with hydrofluoric acid or any fluorine ion-producing compound yields barium fluoride as a solid precipitate.

$${BaBr_2+2HF\rightarrow BaF_2\downarrow +2HBr}$$

Barium Bromide - How is the Compound Formed?

Generally, in laboratories barium bromide is extracted from its solution by the process of crystallization. This is done by heating the hydrated salt to 120 degrees celsius. This results in loss of water of hydration and anhydrous barium bromide formed as powdered solid. Other methods of synthesizing barium bromide are listed below.

The reaction of hydrobromic acid with barium sulphide produces a white solid precipitate named barium bromide.

$${BaS+2HBr\rightarrow BaBr_2+H_2S}$$

The reaction of hydrobromic acid with barium carbonate produces a white solid precipitate named barium bromide.

$${BaCO_3+2HBr\rightarrow BaBr_2+H_2O+CO_2}$$

How is Barium Bromide Used in Chemistry?

  • Barium bromide has various applications in laboratories and industries.

  • Barium bromide contributes to the formation of photographs as it helps in the production of compounds necessary for photo production.

  • Barium bromide was used to precipitate radium during the process of fractional crystallization.

  • Barium bromide being an ionic compound is used as a precursor in process of formation of other bromides.

  • Although it is less widely used than barium chloride, it is highly preferred in the formation of phosphorus.

  • It is also widely used to synthesize barium phosphate. Barium phosphate is an industrially important inflammable compound and is used in forming pulsed lasers and glasses.

Barium Bromide - Health Hazards

  • Barium bromide is a harmful toxic substance. This is the case for all water-soluble barium salts

  • Not just the solid form of barium bromide, but fumes of barium bromide can cause severe harm to health.

  • Exposure to barium bromide fumes may cause nausea, vomiting and discomfort for individuals and can lead to kidney, spleen or liver damage.

  • Barium bromide must not be swallowed as it is poisonous and may even lead to death.

  • Barium bromide can irritate the eyes and skin.

  • The inhalation of barium bromide fumes can lead to severe respiratory tract irritation and asphyxiation.

  • Since this salt is soluble in water it ionises into barium and bromide both of which can cause life-threatening damage to the human body.

Barium Bromide - Safety

  • Considering the harmful effects of barium bromide on the human body, one should follow proper preventive measures to avert severe injuries or damage.

  • In laboratories, barium bromide must be handled carefully. One should wear proper protective equipment such as gloves, lab coats, goggles, etc.

  • After handling and using barium bromide, it is recommended to wash the face, hand or any exposed part of the skin thoroughly.

  • Actions such as eating or drinking must be avoided when working with barium bromide.

  • One should keep the compound at a safe distance from their mouth and nose to avoid inhalation of any harmful fumes.

  • It must be ensured that the working area is properly ventilated to prevent suffocation.

  • The compound must be stored in an air-tight container to prevent contact with moisture, acids, strong oxidising agent or any other reactive substance.


In inorganic chemistry, barium bromide is an important alkaline halide. Barium bromide is used in the synthesis of various economically important compounds. Barium bromide shows almost every characteristic of a typical ionic compound. The solubility of this salt in the water makes it highly toxic to the human body. Since this compound is hygroscopic and can react with dust it should be handled with utmost care. This compound harms living tissues which is the reason this compound has more safety measures than applications. The poisonous and harmful nature of this salt limits the use of this solid in industries and laboratories.


Q1. What happens if barium bromide is swallowed?

Barium bromide ionizes into barium ions and bromide ions when it comes in contact with water. Barium ions can act as poison for muscle stimulation which can lead to paralysis.

Q2. What first aid measures should be employed in case of exposure to barium bromide?

In case of exposure to barium bromide (inhaled or swallowed) a doctor or physician must be consulted as a priority.

The exposed area such as eyes or skin must be rinsed under water for a few minutes.

In case of inhalation, the affected individual should be taken to a well-ventilated area to avoid suffocation and breathlessness.

Q3. How can we drive the formula of barium bromide?

Barium is present as divalent ion –${Ba^{2+}}$

Barium is present as monovalent ion –${Br^{-}}$

Therefore, the formula is derived by the criss-cross method.

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Q4. How does barium bromide exist as a coordination compound?

Barium bromide can exist as ${[BaBr_9],[BaBr_4]}$ (distorted tetrahedral) and ${[BaBr_3]}$ (trigonal pyramidal).

Q5. How can we identify the orthorhombic crystal system of barium bromide?

An orthorhombic system has 90-degree angles between all three axis ${\alpha\:=\:\beta\:=\:\gamma\:=\:90^{\circ}C}$ The height, width and breadth of this system are unequal(a ${
eq}$ b ${
eq}$ c).

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Brackett, E., Brackett, T., & Sass, R. (1963). THE CRYSTAL STRUCTURES OF BARIUM CHLORIDE, BARIUM BROMIDE, AND BARIUM IODIDE. The Journal Of Physical Chemistry, 67(10), 2132-2135.

McGrath, J., & Silvidi, A. (1960). Proton-Magnetic-Resonance Study of Barium Bromide Monohydrate. The Journal Of Chemical Physics, 33(3), 644-647.

McGrath, J., & Silvidi, A. (1962). Quadrupolar Study of Barium in Barium Bromide Dihydrate by Proton Magnetic Resonance. The Journal Of Chemical Physics, 36(6), 1496-1499.

EMBLEM, H., & HARGREAVES, K. (2010). ChemInform Abstract: Preparation, Properties and Uses of Barium Compounds. Cheminform, 27(11), no-no.

Emblem, H., & Hargreaves, K. (1995). Preparation, Properties and Uses of Barium Compounds. Reviews In Inorganic Chemistry, 15(1-2).

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Updated on: 13-Oct-2022


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