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Germanium Chloroform, GeHCl3

Germanium Chloroform, GeHCl3, like the hydride GeH4, connects germanium with the non-metals carbon and silicon. Indeed GeHCl3 closely resembles SiHCl3 in chemical properties.

Germanium chloroform is formed as a vapour, condensible in ice to a volatile liquid, when hydrogen chloride gas is passed over slightly heated powdered germanium. There is formed at the same time, owing to the presence of a trace of water, a certain quantity of the oxychloride GeOCl2, which it is difficult to remove from the chloroform. Germanium chloroform is a colourless liquid boiling at 72° C., which becomes turbid on exposure to air owing to the formation of the oxychloride, and is decomposed by water, with separation of germanous hydroxide, thus:

GeHCl3 + 2H20 = Ge(OH)2 + 3HCl.

This manner of decomposition does not at first appear to be analogous to that of silicon chloroform, which reacts thus with water:

2SiHCl3 + 4H2O + 6HCl + H2O

but if Ge(OH)2 is regarded as an analogue of formic acid, having the constitution HGeOOH, the analogy becomes apparent.

The vapour density of GeHCl3 has been found to be 79.9 (H = 1); since the theoretical value is 89.4 there appears to be some dissociation.

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