Sodium borohydride

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White, crystalline powder. Sodium borohydride reacts with many compounds as a reducing agent and an antichlor. It was introduced in the 1970s for use as a weak bleach for wood pulp, textile stains, and foxing spots (concentrations 0.01-1%). Sodium borohydride is used industrially as a scavenger for aldehydes, ketones, acids, esters, chlorides, disulfides, and nitriles in organic solutions.



Chemical structure

Sodium borohydride.jpg

Synonyms and Related Terms

sodium tetrahydroborate; sodium hydroboride


  • Reacts with water to produce hydrogen (highly flammable) and sodium hydroxide.
  • Hygroscopic. Slowly decomposes in moist air.
  • Flammable. Dangerous fire risk. May be explosive.
  • Contact, inhalation, and ingestion results in severe irritation and tissue burns.
  • ThermoFisher: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in water, ethanol, ammonia, amines, pyridine. Insoluble in hydrocarbons, alkyl chloride.

Composition NaBH4
CAS 16940-66-2
Melting Point 36 C
Density 1.07 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 37.83
Boiling Point 400 C

Resources and Citations

  • S.Adler, "Borohydride: An Alternative to Oxidative Bleaching of Cellulosic Textiles" in Textile Specialty Group Postprints, AIC meeting, 1998.
  • I.Block, A.M.Roy, "Treatment of Cellulosic Textiles with Sodium Borohydride" ICOM Preprints, Eighth Triennial Meeting, Sydney Australia, 345-351.
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding a==Resources and Citations==nd the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Book and Paper Group, Paper Conservation Catalog, AIC, 1984, 1989
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p.345
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 8735
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Hermann Kuhn, Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art and Antiquities, Butterworths, London, 1986