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Other names decaborane
decaboron tetradecahydride
CAS number 17702-41-9
Molar mass 122.221 g/mol
Appearance White crystals
Melting point

99.6 °C

Boiling point


Solubility in other solvents Slightly, in cold water. [1]
149 °C
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state
(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)

Infobox disclaimer and references

Decaborane, also called decaborane(14) or decaboron tetradecahydride, is a stable crystalline borane with chemical formula B10H14. It forms colorless to white crystals. The B10 framework is an incomplete icosahedron.

B10H14 possesses a strong penetrating musty odor that is unique to boranes and quickly recognizable; decaborane itself smells intensely bitter, chocolate-like. When ignited it produces a bright green flame, as do other boron hydrides. It is not sensitive to moist air, although it hydrolyzes in boiling water, releasing hydrogen and boric acid solution. It is soluble in cold water.



It is commonly synthesized via the pyrolysis of smaller boron hydride clusters (for example B2H6 or B5H9) under vacuum. The physical characteristics of decaborane(14) resemble those of the organic compounds naphthalene and anthracene, in that it is highly flammable and can be sublimed under vacuum at moderate temperatures. Sublimation is the most common method of purification.

Chemical properties

Decaborane(14) is soluble in a wide variety of non-polar and moderately polar solvents including hexanes, benzene, toluene, diethyl ether, and methylene chloride. In strongly coordinating solvents (i.e. CH3CN or Me2S), decaborane(14) readily forms an adduct with the formula B10H12•2L, where L = CH3CN, Me2S).

Decaborane(14) is a Brønsted acid: in the presence of moderately strong bases, a proton can be removed to generate the anion [B10H13].

Decaborane, like pentaborane, is a powerful toxin affecting central nervous system, although considerably less toxic than pentaborane. It can be absorbed through skin.

It forms an explosive mixture with tetrachloromethane, which caused an often quoted explosion in a Malta, NY manufacturing facility in 1948 when CCl4 was used to clean the equipment.[1]


Decaborane ions can be used for low energy ion implantation of boron in the manufacture of semiconductors; the molecule decomposes in the plasma, yielding monoatomic boron ions. It is also used in plasma-assisted chemical vapor deposition to manufacture boron-containing thin films.

In fusion research, the absorbing nature of thin films of decaborane is used to boronize the walls of the tokamak vacuum vessel to reduce recycling of particles and impurities into the plasma and improve overall performance. [2]

In polymer chemistry, decaborane is used as a catalyst.[citation needed]

Decaborane was also being used as an additive to special high-performance rocket fuels. Its derivates were investigated as well, eg. ethyl decaborane. One patented fuel composition includes vinyl decaborane-polyester copolymer. Vinyl decaborane ("dekene") is prepared by reacting decaborane with acetylene. [3]

See also

  • Decaborane(16)


  1. ^ UCLA, Condensed version of the 79th Faculty Research Lecture Presented by Professor M. Frederick Hawthorne, accessed 23 Oct 2006.
  • NIST Chemistry Webbook, decaborane, accessed 23 Oct 2006.
  • National Pollutant Inventory, Boron and compounds, accessed 23 Oct 2006.
  • Decaborane in Organic Synthesis
  • Webelements, Compounds of boron, accessed 23 Oct 2006.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Decaborane". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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