Bromine vs. Chlorine

What's the Difference?

Bromine and chlorine are both halogens and belong to the same group on the periodic table. However, they differ in several aspects. Firstly, bromine is a reddish-brown liquid at room temperature, while chlorine is a yellow-green gas. Bromine has a higher boiling point and density compared to chlorine. Additionally, bromine is less reactive than chlorine and is less likely to form compounds with other elements. Chlorine, on the other hand, is highly reactive and readily forms compounds with various elements. Both bromine and chlorine are used in different applications, such as disinfectants and water treatment, but their properties and reactivity levels make them suitable for different purposes.


Atomic Number3517
Atomic Mass79.90435.453
Electron Configuration[Ar] 3d10 4s2 4p5[Ne] 3s2 3p5
Boiling Point (°C)58.8-34.04
Melting Point (°C)-7.2-101.5
State at Room TemperatureLiquidGas

Further Detail


Bromine and chlorine are both halogens, belonging to Group 17 of the periodic table. They share some similarities in terms of their chemical properties, but also exhibit distinct characteristics that set them apart. In this article, we will explore and compare the attributes of bromine and chlorine, shedding light on their physical properties, chemical reactivity, uses, and potential health effects.

Physical Properties

Starting with their physical properties, bromine is a reddish-brown liquid at room temperature, while chlorine is a greenish-yellow gas. Bromine has a boiling point of 58.8°C and a melting point of -7.2°C, making it one of the few elements that exist as a liquid under standard conditions. Chlorine, on the other hand, boils at -34.6°C and freezes at -101.5°C, causing it to be commonly encountered as a gas. Both elements have a distinct odor, with bromine having a pungent smell and chlorine having a strong, suffocating odor.

Chemical Reactivity

When it comes to chemical reactivity, bromine is less reactive than chlorine. Bromine readily reacts with many elements and compounds, but it is less reactive than chlorine in terms of displacing other halogens from their compounds. Chlorine, on the other hand, is highly reactive and has a strong tendency to gain an electron, making it a powerful oxidizing agent. It readily reacts with a wide range of substances, including metals, nonmetals, and organic compounds. Chlorine's reactivity is often harnessed for disinfection purposes, as it effectively kills bacteria and other microorganisms.


Bromine and chlorine find various applications in different industries due to their unique properties. Bromine is commonly used in the production of flame retardants, as it can inhibit the spread of fire. It is also utilized in the manufacturing of dyes, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural chemicals. Additionally, bromine compounds are employed in water treatment processes to control algae and other microorganisms. Chlorine, on the other hand, is extensively used in water purification systems to kill harmful bacteria and viruses. It is a key component in the production of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which is widely used in pipes, window frames, and other construction materials. Chlorine is also utilized in the production of various chemicals, such as solvents, bleaches, and disinfectants.

Health Effects

While both bromine and chlorine have important industrial applications, it is crucial to consider their potential health effects. Bromine compounds can be toxic and irritating to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Prolonged exposure to high levels of bromine vapor can lead to respiratory issues and even chemical burns. Chlorine, when inhaled in high concentrations, can cause respiratory distress and irritation. It can also react with organic matter to form harmful byproducts, such as chloramines, which can be detrimental to human health. However, it is important to note that when used appropriately and in controlled amounts, both bromine and chlorine can be safely utilized in various applications.


In conclusion, bromine and chlorine, as halogens, share some similarities but also exhibit distinct attributes. Bromine is a reddish-brown liquid with lower reactivity compared to chlorine, which is a greenish-yellow gas with strong oxidizing properties. Bromine finds applications in flame retardants, dyes, and water treatment, while chlorine is extensively used in water purification, PVC production, and chemical manufacturing. Both elements have potential health effects, emphasizing the importance of proper handling and controlled usage. Understanding the attributes of bromine and chlorine allows us to appreciate their unique properties and make informed decisions regarding their applications.

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