Tin(IV) chloride

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Tin(IV) chloride
Tin (IV) chloride Tin(IV) chloride.jpg
Tin (IV) chloride
Anhydrous Tin(IV) chloride
Tin(IV) chloride pentahydrate.jpg Tin(IV) chloride pentahydrate.jpg
Tin(IV) chloride pentahydrate.jpg
Tin(IV) chloride pentahydrate
SnCl4 OH2 2.svg
IUPAC names
Tin tetrachloride
Tin(IV) chloride
Other names
Stannic chloride
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.028.717 OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
EC Number
  • 231-588-9
PubChem CID
RTECS number
  • XP8750000
UN number 1827
  • InChI=1S/4ClH.Sn/h4*1H;/q;;;;+4/p-4 Yes check.svgY
  • InChI=1/4ClH.Sn/h4*1H;/q;;;;+4/p-4
  • Cl[Sn](Cl)(Cl)Cl
Molar mass 260.50 g/mol (anhydrous)
350.60 g/mol (pentahydrate)
AppearanceColorless fuming liquid
Odor Acrid
Density 2.226 g/cm3 (anhydrous)
2.04 g/cm3 (pentahydrate)
Melting point −34.07 °C (−29.33 °F; 239.08 K) (anhydrous)
56 °C (133 °F; 329 K) (pentahydrate)
Boiling point 114.15 °C (237.47 °F; 387.30 K)
hydrolysis,very hygroscopic (anhydrous)
very soluble (pentahydrate)
Solubility soluble in alcohol, benzene, toluene, chloroform, acetone, kerosene, CCl4, methanol, gasoline, CS2
Vapor pressure 2.4 kPa
115·10−6 cm3/mol
monoclinic (P21/c)
GHS labelling:
H314, H412
P260, P264, P273, P280, P301+P330+P331, P303+P361+P353, P304+P340, P305+P351+P338, P310, P321, P363, P405, P501
NFPA 704 (fire diamond)
NFPA 704.svgHealth 3: Short exposure could cause serious temporary or residual injury. E.g. chlorine gasFlammability 0: Will not burn. E.g. waterInstability 1: Normally stable, but can become unstable at elevated temperatures and pressures. E.g. calciumSpecial hazards (white): no code
Safety data sheet (SDS) ICSC 0953
Related compounds
Other anions
Tin(IV) fluoride
Tin(IV) bromide
Tin(IV) iodide
Other cations
Carbon tetrachloride
Silicon tetrachloride
Germanium tetrachloride
Lead(IV) chloride
Related compounds
Tin(II) chloride
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Tin(IV) chloride, also known as tin tetrachloride or stannic chloride, is an inorganic compound of tin and chlorine with the formula SnCl4. It is a colorless hygroscopic liquid, which fumes on contact with air. It is used as a precursor to other tin compounds. [1] It was first discovered by Andreas Libavius (1550–1616) and was known as spiritus fumans libavii.



It is prepared from reaction of chlorine gas with tin at 115 °C (239 °F):

Sn + 2Cl


Anhydrous tin(IV) chloride solidifies at −33 °C to give monoclinic crystals with the P21/c space group. It is isostructural with SnBr4. The molecules adopt near-perfect tetrahedral symmetry with average Sn–Cl distances of 227.9(3) pm. [2]

Space-filling model of anhydrous SnCl4. Tin(IV) chloride space-filling3D.png
Space-filling model of anhydrous SnCl4.
Structure of solid SnCl4. SnCl4-xtal-down-b-axis-2005-CM-3D-polyhedra.png
Structure of solid SnCl4.


Tin(IV) chloride is well known as a Lewis acid. Thus it forms hydrates. The pentahydrate SnCl4·5H2O was formerly known as butter of tin. They all consist of [SnCl4(H2O)2] molecules together with varying amounts of water of crystallization. The additional water molecules link together the molecules of [SnCl4(H2O)2] through hydrogen bonds. [3] Although the pentahydrate is the most common hydrate, lower hydrates have also been characterised. [4]

Aside from water, other Lewis bases form adducts with SnCl4. These include ammonia and organophosphines. The complex [SnCl6]2− is formed with hydrochloric acid making hexachlorostannic acid. [1]


Precursor to organotin compounds

Anhydrous tin(IV) chloride is a major precursor in organotin chemistry. Upon treatment with Grignard reagents, tin(IV) chloride gives tetraalkyltin compounds: [5]

SnCl4 + 4 RMgCl → SnR4 + 4 MgCl2

Anhydrous tin(IV) chloride reacts with tetraorganotin compounds in redistribution reactions:

SnCl4 + SnR4 → 2 SnCl2R2

These organotin halides are useful precursors to catalysts (e.g., dibutyltin dilaurate) and polymer stabilizers. [6]

Organic synthesis

SnCl4 is used in Friedel–Crafts reactions as a Lewis acid catalyst. [1] For example, the acetylation of thiophene to give 2-acetylthiophene is promoted by tin(IV) chloride. [7] Similarly, tin(IV) chloride is useful for the nitrations. [8]


Stannic chloride was used as a chemical weapon in World War I, as it formed an irritating (but non-deadly) dense smoke on contact with air. It was supplanted by a mixture of silicon tetrachloride and titanium tetrachloride near the end of the war due to shortages of tin. [9]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tin</span> Chemical element, symbol Sn and atomic number 50

Tin is a chemical element; it has symbol Sn and atomic number 50. A silvery-colored metal, tin is soft enough to be cut with little force, and a bar of tin can be bent by hand with little effort. When bent, the so-called "tin cry" can be heard as a result of twinning in tin crystals.

Iron(III) chloride describes the inorganic compounds with the formula FeCl3(H2O)x. Also called ferric chloride, these compounds are some of the most important and commonplace compounds of iron. They are available both in anhydrous and in hydrated forms which are both hygroscopic. They feature iron in its +3 oxidation state. The anhydrous derivative is a Lewis acid, while all forms are mild oxidizing agents. It is used as a water cleaner and as an etchant for metals.

Sulfur trioxide (alternative spelling sulphur trioxide, also known as nisso sulfan) is the chemical compound with the formula SO3. It has been described as "unquestionably the most [economically] important sulfur oxide". It is prepared on an industrial scale as a precursor to sulfuric acid.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zinc chloride</span> Chemical compound

Zinc chloride is the name of inorganic chemical compounds with the formula ZnCl2·nH2O, with n ranging from 0 to 4.5, forming hydrates. Zinc chloride, anhydrous and its hydrates are colorless or white crystalline solids, and are highly soluble in water. Five hydrates of zinc chloride are known, as well as four forms of anhydrous zinc chloride. This salt is hygroscopic and even deliquescent. Zinc chloride finds wide application in textile processing, metallurgical fluxes, and chemical synthesis. No mineral with this chemical composition is known aside from the very rare mineral simonkolleite, Zn5(OH)8Cl2·H2O.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Titanium tetrachloride</span> Inorganic chemical compound

Titanium tetrachloride is the inorganic compound with the formula TiCl4. It is an important intermediate in the production of titanium metal and the pigment titanium dioxide. TiCl4 is a volatile liquid. Upon contact with humid air, it forms thick clouds of titanium dioxide and hydrochloric acid, a reaction that was formerly exploited for use in smoke machines. It is sometimes referred to as "tickle" or "tickle 4", as a phonetic representation of the symbols of its molecular formula.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chromium(III) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Chromium(III) chloride (also called chromic chloride) is an inorganic chemical compound with the chemical formula CrCl3. It forms several hydrates with the formula CrCl3·nH2O, among which are hydrates where n can be 5 (chromium(III) chloride pentahydrate CrCl3·5H2O) or 6 (chromium(III) chloride hexahydrate CrCl3·6H2O). The anhydrous compound with the formula CrCl3 are violet crystals, while the most common form of the chromium(III) chloride are the dark green crystals of hexahydrate, CrCl3·6H2O. Chromium chlorides find use as catalysts and as precursors to dyes for wool.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Organotin chemistry</span> Branch of organic chemistry

Organotin chemistry is the scientific study of the synthesis and properties of organotin compounds or stannanes, which are organometallic compounds containing tin–carbon bonds. The first organotin compound was diethyltin diiodide, discovered by Edward Frankland in 1849. The area grew rapidly in the 1900s, especially after the discovery of the Grignard reagents, which are useful for producing Sn–C bonds. The area remains rich with many applications in industry and continuing activity in the research laboratory.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tin(II) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Tin(II) chloride, also known as stannous chloride, is a white crystalline solid with the formula SnCl2. It forms a stable dihydrate, but aqueous solutions tend to undergo hydrolysis, particularly if hot. SnCl2 is widely used as a reducing agent (in acid solution), and in electrolytic baths for tin-plating. Tin(II) chloride should not be confused with the other chloride of tin; tin(IV) chloride or stannic chloride (SnCl4).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tin(IV) oxide</span> Chemical compound known as stannic oxide, cassiterite and tin ore

Tin(IV) oxide, also known as stannic oxide, is the inorganic compound with the formula SnO2. The mineral form of SnO2 is called cassiterite, and this is the main ore of tin. With many other names, this oxide of tin is an important material in tin chemistry. It is a colourless, diamagnetic, amphoteric solid.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hafnium tetrachloride</span> Chemical compound

Hafnium(IV) chloride is the inorganic compound with the formula HfCl4. This colourless solid is the precursor to most hafnium organometallic compounds. It has a variety of highly specialized applications, mainly in materials science and as a catalyst.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zirconium(IV) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Zirconium(IV) chloride, also known as zirconium tetrachloride, is an inorganic compound frequently used as a precursor to other compounds of zirconium. This white high-melting solid hydrolyzes rapidly in humid air.

Tin(IV) iodide, also known as stannic iodide, is the chemical compound with the formula SnI4. This tetrahedral molecule crystallizes as a bright orange solid that dissolves readily in nonpolar solvents such as benzene.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trimethyltin chloride</span> Chemical compound

Trimethyltin chloride is an organotin compound with the formula (CH3)3SnCl. It is a white solid that is highly toxic and malodorous. It is susceptible to hydrolysis.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tetramethyltin</span> Chemical compound

Tetramethyltin is an organometallic compound with the formula (CH3)4Sn. This liquid, one of the simplest organotin compounds, is useful for transition-metal mediated conversion of acid chlorides to methyl ketones and aryl halides to aryl methyl ketones. It is volatile and toxic, so care should be taken when using it in the laboratory.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tin(IV) fluoride</span> Chemical compound

Tin(IV) fluoride is a chemical compound of tin and fluorine with the chemical formula SnF4 and is a white solid with a melting point above 700 °C.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Polonium dichloride</span> Chemical compound

Polonium dichloride is a chemical compound of the radioactive metalloid, polonium and chlorine. Its chemical formula is PoCl2. It is an ionic salt.

In chemistry, redistribution usually refers to the exchange of anionic ligands bonded to metal and metalloid centers. The conversion does not involve redox, in contrast to disproportionation reactions. Some useful redistribution reactions are conducted at higher temperatures; upon cooling the mixture, the product mixture is kinetically frozen and the individual products can be separated. In cases where redistribution is rapid at mild temperatures, the reaction is less useful synthetically but still important mechanistically.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Titanium(IV) nitrate</span> Chemical compound

Titanium nitrate is the inorganic compound with formula Ti(NO3)4. It is a colorless, diamagnetic solid that sublimes readily. It is an unusual example of a volatile binary transition metal nitrate. Ill defined species called titanium nitrate are produced upon dissolution of titanium or its oxides in nitric acid.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tributyltin chloride</span> Chemical compound

Tributyltin chloride is an organotin compound with the formula (C4H9)3SnCl. It is a colorless liquid that is soluble in organic solvents.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Transition metal ether complex</span>

In chemistry, a transition metal ether complex is a coordination complex consisting of a transition metal bonded to one or more ether ligand. The inventory of complexes is extensive. Common ether ligands are diethyl ether and tetrahydrofuran. Common chelating ether ligands include the glymes, dimethoxyethane (dme) and diglyme, and the crown ethers. Being lipophilic, metal-ether complexes often exhibit solubility in organic solvents, a property of interest in synthetic chemistry. In contrast, the di-ether 1,4-dioxane is generally a bridging ligand.


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