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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Bromine was discovered by Antoine Balard at the salt marshes of Montpellier in 1826 but was not produced in quantity until 1860. The French chemist and physicist Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac suggested the name bromine due to the characteristic smell of the vapors.
  • Bromine is the only liquid nonmetallic element at room temperature and one of five elements on the period table that are liquid at or close to room temperature.
  • Bromine occurs in nature as bromide salts in very diffuse amounts in crystal rock. Due to leaching, bromide salts have accumulated in sea water (85 ppm), and may be economically recovered from brine wells and the Dead Sea (up to 5000 ppm).

Process

  • Bromine is extracted from natural brine deposits in the USA and elsewhere. It was the first element to be extracted from seawater, but this is no longer economically viable as seawater contains only 65 parts per million of bromine.
  • In nature bromine can be found as bromide salts or organic bromine substances. These substances are produced by several sea organisms. Bromine is mostly in soluble salts in seawater, salt lakes and brine. Seawater contains approximately 65 ppm bromine. The bromine concentration found in brine is much higher, between 2500 and 10,000 ppm. 

Uses

  • Bromine is used in many areas such as agricultural chemicals, dyestuffs, chemical intermediates and flame-retardants. Most is used to prepare 1 ,2-di-bromoethane which is used as an anti-knock agent in combustion engines.
  • Bromine is also used in the manufacture of fumigants, brominated flame-retardants, water purification compounds, dyes, medicines, sanitizers, inorganic bromides for photography, etc. It is also used to form intermediates in organic synthesis, where it is preferred to iodine due to its much lower cost.
  • Applications of Bromine directly or as its compounds are : In Pharmaceuticals, In Pesticides, In Dyes and Photography, In Sanitary preparations, Water disinfection, De sizing of cotton, Hair waving compounds, Absorption fluids, In some perfumes, Air conditioning,  Ore flotation and drilling fluids, Zinc bromide storage batteries are used as load leveling devices in electric utilities., In the manufacture of Purified Terephthalic Acid.

Market

  • Present Global demand for Bromine is estimated to be around 500,000 tonnes per annum.  The annual growth rate in demand is estimated to be around 3% per year.
  • Bromine’s market demand is largely determined by the flame-retardant sector. Bromine based flame retardant demand, in turn, will remain depressed until growth returns to the polymers used in consumer electronics.
  • Israel is the second largest producer of bromine in the world and the largest producer of elemental bromine.
    Approximately 90% of production was for export, accounting for about 80% of international trade in bromine and bromine compounds to more than 100 countries

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