We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Boron Trichloride?

By Ray Hawk
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Boron trichloride (BCL3) is a colorless, toxic, yet nonflammable gas commonly used in the microchip manufacturing industry through ion implantation to dope semiconductor grade silicon (SGS). The SGS starts out as a pure insulator and becomes a p-type semiconductor with the addition of boron atoms to the silicon substrate. Another name for boron trichloride in manufacturing is trichloroborane, and it is a key component of an estimated $200 million US Dollars (USD) gas industry as of 2002 in the United States that is rapidly growing and services the semiconductor market.

Other industrial applications for boron trichloride include in the refining of many metals, such as aluminum, magnesium, and zinc. It is also compatible with certain plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used in plumbing and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) used in the manufacture of non-stick surfaces for cookware. The compound is also used as a chemical in plasma etching of metals, such as stainless steel, copper alloys, and tungsten.

Emerging markets for the compound include in the manufacture of rocket fuel and as a catalyst in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Boron itself has antibacterial qualities, and, as of 2006, boron trichloride has been seen as a potential key ingredient in the manufacture of treatments for Alzheimer's disease. Fibers have been made from boron nitride compounds using boron trichloride, which are made into reinforcing fabric for aircraft such as the structural beam components in the US B-1 bomber military plane. These fibers are further being adapted to composite structures in high performance automobiles and optical data transmission uses.

Since boron trichloride hydrolyzes upon exposure to moisture in air or contact with water, it poses health risks if not carefully sealed in transport containers. Any exposure to moisture in the container will cause a build-up of hydrogen chloride gas and lead to an explosion and surrounding air contamination. The chemical compound poses exposure risks when combining with moisture to form hydrogen chloride, a caustic form of hydrochloric acid harmful to the lungs, mucous membranes, and skin, so it is shipped in liquid form and handled cautiously.

By contrast, boron trichloride has potential health benefits. It is used in research involving nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, a field of study in structural biology. This is due to the fact that BCL3 is a starter or precursor chemical used to create elemental boron. One of the two naturally forming isotopes of boron — boron-10 — has a unique ability to capture low energy neutrons. Both boron-10 and boron-11 are essential isotopes of the element used in the process of NMR.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.