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3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.132.456 OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
EC Number
  • 616-515-4
PubChem CID
  • InChI=1S/H10Si4/c1-3-4-2/h3-4H2,1-2H3
  • [SiH3][SiH2][SiH2][SiH3]
Molar mass 122.420 g·mol−1
Appearancecolourless liquid that self ignite in air [1]
Density 0.792 g·cm−3 [2]
Melting point −89.9 °C [2]
Boiling point 108.1 °C [2]
reacts [1]
GHS labelling:
Related compounds
Related compounds
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

Tetrasilane is a silane with the structure formula SiH3–(SiH2)2–SiH3. It is the silane analog of butane.



Tetrasilane can be prepared by reacting magnesium silicide (Mg2Si) with acids like 20% phosphoric acid in 50–60 °C. [3]

The reaction can produce silanes up to n=15. The reaction of magnesium silicide with 25% hydrochloric acid produces 40% monosilane, 30% disilane, 15% trisilane, 10% tetrasilane and 5% higher silanes. [4] The mixture can be separated by fractional distillation.

In addition, higher silanes can also be obtained by discharges monosilane: [3]


Tetrasilane is a colourless, pyrophoric liquid that has a disgusting odour. Even below 54 °C, it will still spontaneous combust. [1] It is even more unstable than trisilane, slowly decomposing at room temperature, releasing hydrogen and forming shorter chain silanes. [5]


Photochemical disproportionation of tetrasilane will produce 3-silylpentasilane and disilane. [6]

With the presence of aluminium chloride, heating tetrasilane in xylene will allow isomerization to isotetrasilane. [7]

Related Research Articles

Silicon Chemical element, symbol Si and atomic number 14

Silicon is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. It is a hard, brittle crystalline solid with a blue-grey metallic luster, and is a tetravalent metalloid and semiconductor. It is a member of group 14 in the periodic table: carbon is above it; and germanium, tin, lead, and flerovium are below it. It is relatively unreactive. Because of its high chemical affinity for oxygen, it was not until 1823 that Jöns Jakob Berzelius was first able to prepare it and characterize it in pure form. Its oxides form a family of anions known as silicates. Its melting and boiling points of 1414 °C and 3265 °C, respectively, are the second highest among all the metalloids and nonmetals, being surpassed only by boron. Silicon is the eighth most common element in the universe by mass, but very rarely occurs as the pure element in the Earth's crust. It is most widely distributed in space in cosmic dusts, planetoids, and planets as various forms of silicon dioxide (silica) or silicates. More than 90% of the Earth's crust is composed of silicate minerals, making silicon the second most abundant element in the Earth's crust, after oxygen. Silicon is a natural element, and when not previously present has a residence time of about 400 years in the world's oceans.

Silane is an inorganic compound with chemical formula, SiH4. It is a colourless, pyrophoric, toxic gas with a sharp, repulsive smell, somewhat similar to that of acetic acid. Silane is of practical interest as a precursor to elemental silicon. Silane with alkyl groups are effective water repellents for mineral surfaces such as concrete and masonry. Silanes with both organic and inorganic attachments are used as coupling agents.

In chemistry and biochemistry, the Henderson–Hasselbalch equation

Magnesium silicide Chemical compound

Magnesium silicide, Mg2Si, is an inorganic compound consisting of magnesium and silicon. As-grown Mg2Si usually forms black crystals; they are semiconductors with n-type conductivity and have potential applications in thermoelectric generators.

A silicide is a type of chemical compound that combines silicon and a (usually) more electropositive element.

A15 phases

The A15 phases (also known as β-W or Cr3Si structure types) are series of intermetallic compounds with the chemical formula A3B (where A is a transition metal and B can be any element) and a specific structure. Many of these compounds have superconductivity at around 20 K (−253 °C; −424 °F), which is comparatively high, and remain superconductive in magnetic fields of tens of teslas (hundreds of kilogauss). This kind of superconductivity (Type-II superconductivity) is an important area of study as it has several practical applications.

Disilane is a chemical compound with chemical formula Si2H6 that was identified in 1902 by Henri Moissan and Samuel Smiles (1877–1953). Moissan and Smiles reported disilane as being among the products formed by the action of dilute acids on metal silicides. Although these reactions had been previously investigated by Friedrich Woehler and Heinrich Buff between 1857 and 1858, Moissan and Smiles were the first to explicitly identify disilane. They referred to disilane as silicoethane. Higher members of the homologous series SinH2n+2 formed in these reactions were subsequently identified by Carl Somiesky (sometimes spelled "Karl Somieski") and Alfred Stock.

Binary silicon-hydrogen compounds

Silanes are saturated chemical compounds with the empirical formula SixHy. They are hydrosilanes, a class of compounds that includes compounds with Si-H and other Si-X bonds. All contain tetrahedral silicon and terminal hydrides. They only have Si–H and Si–Si single bonds. The bond lengths are 146.0 pm for a Si–H bond and 233 pm for a Si–Si bond. The structures of the silanes are analogues of the alkanes, starting with silane, SiH
, the analogue of methane, continuing with disilane Si
, the analogue of ethane, etc. They are mainly of theoretical or academic interest.

A cyanogen halide is a molecule consisting of cyanide and a halogen. Cyanogen halides are chemically classified as pseudohalogens.

In mathematics, and more specifically in homological algebra, a resolution is an exact sequence of modules, which is used to define invariants characterizing the structure of a specific module or object of this category. When, as usually, arrows are oriented to the right, the sequence is supposed to be infinite to the left for (left) resolutions, and to the right for right resolutions. However, a finite resolution is one where only finitely many of the objects in the sequence are non-zero; it is usually represented by a finite exact sequence in which the leftmost object or the rightmost object is the zero-object.

Trisilane is the silane with the formula H2Si(SiH3)2. A liquid at standard temperature and pressure, it is a silicon analogue of propane. The contrast with propane however trisilane ignites spontaneously in air.

Binary compounds of silicon

Binary compounds of silicon are binary chemical compounds containing silicon and one other chemical element. Technically the term silicide is reserved for any compounds containing silicon bonded to a more electropositive element. Binary silicon compounds can be grouped into several classes. Saltlike silicides are formed with the electropositive s-block metals. Covalent silicides and silicon compounds occur with hydrogen and the elements in groups 10 to 17.

Polysilicon hydrides are polymers containing only silicon and hydrogen. They have the formula where 0.2 ≤ n ≤ 2.5 and x is the number of monomer units. The polysilicon hydrides are generally colorless or pale-yellow/ocher powders that are easily hydrolyzed and ignite readily in air. The surfaces of silicon prepared by MOCVD using silane (SiH4) consist of a polysilicon hydride.

Germanium tetrafluoride Chemical compound

Germanium tetrafluoride (GeF4) is a chemical compound of germanium and fluorine. It is a colorless gas.

The dehydrogenative coupling of silanes is a reaction type for the formation of Si-Si bonds. Although never commercialized, the reaction has been demonstrated for the synthesis of certain disilanes as well as polysilanes. These reactions generally require catalysts.

Gallium(I) oxide, digallium monoxide or gallium suboxide is an inorganic compound with the formula Ga2O.

The phosphidosilicates or phosphosilicides are inorganic compounds containing silicon bonded to phosphorus and one or more other kinds of elements. In the phosphosilicates each silicon atom is surrounded by four phosphorus atoms in a tetrahedron. The triphosphosilicates have a SiP3 unit, that can be a planar triangle like carbonate CO3. The phosphorus atoms can be shared to form different patterns e.g. [Si2P6]10− which forms pairs, and [Si3P7]3− which contains two-dimensional double layer sheets. [SiP4]8− with isolated tetrahedra, and [SiP2]2− with a three dimensional network with shared tetrahedron corners. SiP clusters can be joined, not only by sharing a P atom, but also by way of a P-P bond. This does not happen with nitridosilicates or plain silicates.


Photochlorination is a chlorination reaction that is initiated by light. Usually a C-H bond is converted to a C-Cl bond. Photochlorination is carried out on an industrial scale. The process is exothermic and proceeds as a chain reaction initiated by the homolytic cleavage of molecular chlorine into chlorine radicals by ultraviolet radiation. Many chlorinated solvents are produced in this way.


Organosilanols are a group of chemical silicon compounds. More specifically, they are carbosilanes derivatized with a hydroxy group on the silicon atom. Organosilanols are the silicon analogs to alcohols. Silanols are more acidic and more basic than their alcohol counterparts and therefore show a rich structural chemistry characterized by hydrogen bonding networks which are particularly well studied for silanetriols.

Phosphide silicides or silicide phosphides or silicophosphides are compounds containing anions composed of silicide (Si4−) and phosphide (P3−). They can be considered as mixed anion compounds. They are distinct from the phosphidosilicates, which have the phosphorus bonded to the silicon. Related compounds include the phosphide carbides, germanide phosphides, nitride silicides, and antimonide silicides.


  1. 1 2 3 Material Safety Data Sheet for Tetrasilane (Si4H10) (PDF-Datei)
  2. 1 2 3 Lide, D. R., ed. (2005). CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (86th ed.). Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press. p. 81. ISBN   0-8493-0486-5.
  3. 1 2 Ralf Steudel (2014), [ , p. 294, at Google Books Chemie der Nichtmetalle: Synthesen - Strukturen - Bindung – Verwendung] (in German), De Gruyter, pp. 294–295, ISBN   978-3-11-030797-9 {{citation}}: Check |url= value (help)
  4. Egon Wiberg (2011), [ , p. 320, at Google Books Lehrbuch der Anorganischen Chemie: Mit einem Anhang: Chemiegeschichte] (in German), Walter de Gruyter, pp. 319–320, ISBN   978-3-11-023832-7 {{citation}}: Check |url= value (help)
  5. Alfred Stock, Paul Stiebeler, Friedrich Zeidler (1923-07-04), "Siliciumwasserstoffe, XVI.: Die höheren Siliciumhydride", Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft (in German), vol. 56, no. 7, pp. 1695–1705, doi:10.1002/cber.19230560735 {{citation}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. F. Fehér, I. Fischer (March 1976), "Beiträge zur Chemie des Siliciums und Germaniums, XXVIII. Die photochemische Disproportionierung von n-Tetrasilan, Darstellung und Eigenschaften von 3-Silylpentasilan", Zeitschrift für anorganische und allgemeine Chemie (in German), vol. 421, no. 1, pp. 9–14, doi:10.1002/zaac.19764210103
  7. Franz Fehér , Franz Ocklenburg und Dieter Skrodzki: Beiträge zur Chemie des Siliciums und Germaniums, XXXII, Isomerisierung von höheren Silanen mit Aluminiumchlorid. In: Zeitschrift für Naturforschung B. 35, 1980, S. 869–872( PDF , freier Volltext).