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Germanium Hydride, GeH4

In forming a gaseous Germanium Hydride, GeH4 relates itself to silicon and the non-metals rather than to the metals.

This compound was not obtained by Winkler, but was first prepared by Voegelen by reducing germanium chloride with sodium amalgam, or with nascent hydrogen generated as in Marsh's test. The hydrogen, mixed with germanium hydride, burns with a bluish red flame and deposits a mirror on a cold surface, which is soluble in sodium hypochlorite solution. The deposit obtained by heating the tube through which the gas passes is red in transmitted and green in reflected light. When the gas is passed into silver nitrate solution germanium-silver is precipitated, which is converted into germanic oxide, GeO2, by concentrated nitric acid. By the analysis of this compound, as well as by passing the hydride over finely divided sulphur in a strong light and comparing the amounts of germanium and hydrogen sulphide formed, the discoverer attempted to decide between the formulae GeH2(Ge2H4), and GeH4. The analytical results were not satisfactory owing to the small amount of material available, but they sufficed to show that the hydride is very probably GeH4.

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