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What is Boron Trifluoride?

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  Boron trifluoride is the inorganic compound with the formula BF3. This pungent colourless toxic gas forms white fumes in moist air. It is a useful Lewis acid and a versatile building block for other boron compounds.

  The geometry of a molecule of BF3 is trigonal planar. Its D3h symmetry conforms with the prediction of VSEPR theory. The molecule has no dipole moment by virtue of its high symmetry. The molecule is isoelectronic with the carbonate anion, CO32−.BF3 is commonly referred to as "electron deficient," a description that is reinforced by its exothermic reactivity toward Lewis bases.

  In the boron trihalides, BX3, the length of the B-X bonds (1.30 Å) is shorter than would be expected for single bonds,and this shortness may indicate stronger B-X π-bonding in the fluoride. A facile explanation invokes the symmetry-allowed overlap of a p orbital on the boron atom with the in-phase combination of the three similarly oriented p orbitals on fluorine atoms.