Bromine is highly reactive and a strong oxidising agent. It will react vigorously with reducing agents and many organic materials, including solvents. Although bromine is not itself combustible, the heat of reaction is sufficient to initiate combustion when in contact with phosphorus or sulphur. Dry loose flammable material such as paper and wood shavings can be similarly ignited, and liquid bromine will attack some plastics and rubber.

Dry bromine will react violently with aluminium, titanium, mercury and alkali metals apart from sodium, but is not generally reactive with other metals. Reactivity is, however, markedly increased by traces of water or some organic impurities. Relatively few metals are resistant to moist bromine.

Bromine is very hygroscopic. Dry bromine rapidly absorbs water from the atmosphere. It is therefore advisable, except under well defined circumstances, to treat all bromine as being moist.

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