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Bromine Lesson for Kids: Facts, Properties & Uses

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

Bromine is an important element that serves many purposes to people today, like in developing photographs and cleaning swimming pools. In this lesson, you will learn about bromine's properties and how it is used.

A Stinky Element

Eww! What's that smell?

Have you ever smelled something totally awful? Maybe it was rotten eggs or someone's feet after a sports practice. What about a stinky red liquid? If you have, you may have had an encounter with bromine, an element known for its smell.

The discovery of bromine is credited to Antoine-Jerome Balard in 1826; however, a college student named Carl Lowig is said to have made the substance beforehand, but failed to publish his discovery. Bromine is an element, which means it is not made of any other substance.


Vial of bromine
bromine

A red, smelly liquid, bromine was named after the word bromos, which mean 'stench' in Greek. What a terrible name! That would be like naming a baby Stinky Bottom because they used a diaper. Perhaps Mr. Balard could have thought of a nicer name!

Is there more to bromine than its stink? Let's find out!

Properties

On the Periodic Table of Elements, which lists and organizes all the known elements, bromine is known by the symbol Br for the first two letters of its name. It has the atomic number 35 because of the 35 protons, or positive charges, that distinguish bromine from other elements having a different number of protons.

Although bromine is a liquid, it does freeze and become a solid at 19 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that when water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, bromine will not freeze until the temperature is 13 degrees lower. Conversely, water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit and bromine boils well before then at 137.8 degrees Fahrenheit. That's a lot hotter than the hottest day of most people's summers!

Bromine is classified on the Periodic Table as a non-metal. This means it doesn't allow electricity or heat to move through it very well. There are 17 non-metals and almost all of them are gases or solids, except for bromine. It is the only liquid non-metal.

Bromine is also classified as a halogen, which means 'salt-former.' The five halogen elements make different salts when they react with metals. In fact, bromine is often found in brines, or bodies of salt water, located in wells.


Halogen means salt-former
salt

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