|Jmol-3D images||Image 1|
|Molar mass||108.07 g/mol|
|Density||1.95 g/cm3, −78 °C|
|Solubility in water||reaction|
|Molecular shape||Seesaw (C2v)|
|Dipole moment||0.632 D|
|EU Index||Not listed|
|Main hazards||highly toxic
|Other anions||Sulfur dichloride
|Other cations||Oxygen difluoride
|Related sulfur fluorides||Disulfur difluoride
|Related compounds||Thionyl fluoride|
| (what is: / ?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Sulfur tetrafluoride is the chemical compound with the formula SF4. This species exists as a gas at standard conditions. It is a corrosive species that releases dangerous HF upon exposure to water or moisture. Despite these unwelcome characteristics, this compound is a useful reagent for the preparation of organofluorine compounds, some of which are important in the pharmaceutical and specialty chemical industries.
Sulfur in SF4 is in the formal +4 oxidation state. Of sulfur's total of six valence electrons, two form a lone pair. The structure of SF4 can therefore be anticipated using the principles of VSEPR theory: it is a see-saw shape, with S at the center. One of the three equatorial positions is occupied by a nonbonding lone pair of electrons. Consequently, the molecule has two distinct types of F ligands, two axial and two equatorial. The relevant bond distances are S–Fax = 164.3 pm and S–Feq = 154.2 pm. It is typical for the axial ligands in hypervalent molecules to be bonded less strongly. In contrast to SF4, the related molecule SF6 has sulfur in the 6+ state, no valence electrons remain nonbonding on sulfur, hence the molecule adopts a highly symmetrical octahedral structure. Further contrasting with SF4, SF6 is extraordinarily inert chemically.
Synthesis and manufacture
- SCl2 + Cl2 + 4 NaF → SF4 + 4 NaCl
Treatment of SCl2 with NaF also affords SF4, not SF2. SF2 is unstable, it condenses with itself to form SF4 and SSF2.
Use of SF4 for the synthesis of fluorocarbons
In organic synthesis, SF4 is used to convert COH and C=O groups into CF and CF2 groups, respectively. Certain alcohols readily give the corresponding fluorocarbon. Ketones and aldehydes give geminal difluorides. The presence of protons alpha to the carbonyl leads to side reactions and diminished (30–40%) yield. Also diols can give cyclic sulfite esters, (RO)2SO. Carboxylic acids convert to trifluoromethyl derivatives. For example treatment of heptanoic acid with SF4 at 100-130 °C produces 1,1,1-trifluoroheptane. The coproducts from these fluorinations, including unreacted SF4 together with SOF2 and SO2, are toxic but can be neutralized by their treatment with aqueous KOH.
- SF4 + Me3SiNEt2 → Et2NSF3 + Me3SiF
SF4 + 2 H2O → SO2 + 4 HF
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