Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Diborane is a colorless gas at room temperature with a repulsive, sweet odor. It mixes well with air and easily forms explosive mixtures. Diborane will ignite spontaneously in moist air at room temperature.

Diborane is used in rocket propellants, as a reducing agent, as a rubber vulcanizer, as a catalyst for hydrocarbon polymerization, as a flame-speed accelerator, and as a doping agent. It is also used in electronics to impart electrical properties in pure crystals.

Health effects

The toxic effects of diborane are primarily due to its irritant properties. Short-term exposure to diborane can cause a sensation of tightness of the chest, shortness of breath, cough, and wheezing. These signs and symptoms can occur immediately or be delayed for up to 24 hours. Skin and eye irritation can also occur. Studies in animals have shown that diborane causes the same type of effects observed in humans.

People exposed for a long time to low amounts of diborane have experienced respiratory irritation, seizures, fatigue, drowsiness, confusion, and occasional transient tremors.