Chemical Element: bromine

(Greek: bromos, a stench; because of the odor [stench] from its vapors; liquid nonmetal)

Chemical-Element Information

Symbol: Br
Atomic number: 35
Year discovered: 1825-1826

Discovered by: Antoine Jélrôme Balard (1802-1876), a French chemist.

  • While working with seaweed, Balard found that at times he obtained a brown substance in solution in the liquid he was using to dissolve the ashes of the seaweed.
  • In 1826, he tracked this color to a substance that had properties apparently just midway between those of chlorine and iodine.
  • For a while he thought he had a compound of those two elements, but further investigation convinced him he had a new element.
  • Bromine is corrosive to metals, irritating to the skin, and as a result of its unpleasant odor, it was given the name bromine (Greek, bromos, “stench”).
  • It is also known as a heavy, volatile, nonmetallic liquid element that has a highly irritating vapor.
  • Traditionally obtained from salt deposits, the element is now produced in commercial quantities by the processing of ocean water.
  • The most important use of bromine is in the manufacture of ethylene bromide, one ingredient of “antiknock” fluid for motor fuels.
  • Other major uses of bromine are in the manufacture of methyl bromide, a fumigant employed for insect control in the food industries, and of various dyes, particularly the bromo-indigos.

Name in other languages:

French: brome

German: Brom

Italian: bromo

Spanish: bromo

Information about other elements may be seen at this Chemical Elements List.

A special unit about words that include chemo-, chem- may be seen here.