tetrachloride are therefore not recommended. Carbon dioxide extinguishers should be used to fight diborane fires. Fires involving diborane sometimes release toxic gases such as boron oxide smoke.

Reactivity and Incompatibility

Explodes on contact with fluorine, chlorine, halogenated hydrocarbons (e.g., chloroform and carbon tetrachloride), fuming nitric acid, and nitrogen trifluoride. Diborane is a strong reducing agent that produces hydrogen upon heating or upon reaction with water. Contact with aluminum, lithium, and other active metals forms metal hydrides, which may ignite spontaneously. Diborane is incompatible with oxidizing agents, halogens, and halogenated compounds. Diborane will attack some forms of plastics, rubber, and coatings.

Storage and Handling

Diborane should be handled using the "basic prudent practices" of Chapter 5.C, supplemented by the additional precautions for work with reactive and explosive compounds described in Chapter 5.G. In particular, diborane should be used only in a fume hood free of ignition sources and should be stored in a cold, dry, well-ventilated area separated from incompatible substances and isolated from sources of sparks and open flames.


In the event of skin contact, immediately wash with soap and water and remove contaminated clothing. In case of eye contact, promptly wash with copious amounts of water for 15 min (lifting upper and lower lids occasionally) and obtain medical attention. If this compound is inhaled, move the person to fresh air and seek medical attention at once.

In the event of a leak, remove all ignition sources and ventilate the area of the leak. Respiratory protection and protective clothing may be necessary in the event of a large spill or release in a confined area. If a cylinder is the source of the leak and the leak cannot be stopped, if possible remove the leaking cylinder to a fume hood or a safe place in the open air, and repair the leak or allow the cylinder to empty. If the leak has resulted in a fire, water spray can be used to cool the container and to reduce corrosive vapors, keeping in mind that if flames are extinguished, explosive re-ignition can occur.


Excess diborane and waste material containing this substance should be placed in an appropriate container, clearly labeled, and handled according to your institution's waste disposal guidelines. For more information on disposal procedures, see Chapter 7 of this volume.

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