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Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6)

Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) is a colorless, odorless, non-toxic liquefied gas. Shipped as a liquid under its own vapor pressure.

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Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6)

Formula: SF6

What is Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6)?


Sulfur Hexafluoride is a synthetic, fluorinated compound with a highly stable molecular structure made of six fluorine atoms attached to a central sulfur atom, also described as an inert gas. It is the most potent greenhouse gas with a high global warming potential. SF6 is much more effective at trapping infrared radiation than carbon dioxide (CO2) and its concentration in the earth’s atmosphere is rapidly increasing. 

SF6 has chemical properties that make it useful across a range of industries and is often used in electric piping, electrical circuit breakers, and as a gaseous insulator.


Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) In Various Industries


SF6 is widely used in the electrical industry as a gaseous dielectric medium for insulating and arc quenching in switch gear, substations, and gas-insulated power lines. For this application, it is superior to many other substances due to its insulation properties, dielectric strength, and arc quenching abilities. We provide SF6 gas that meets IEC 376 and ASTM D2472-00 standards for this application.

In a similar application, SF6 can be used in waveguides for high-power microwave systems.  Pressurizing the waveguide with the SF6 will electrically insulate and prevent internal arcing. And SF6 is used as a cover gas to protect molten reactive metals, including magnesium.  Here the SF6 protects the hot metals from atmospheric oxygen, preventing oxidation and burning of the metal. Sulfur hexafluoride is also used for deep ion plasma etching in the production of semiconductors.  SF6 will produce reactive ions and radicals in the plasma. SF6 placed between the panes of a double-pane window will thermally insulate and acoustically insulate (reducing the sound transmitted). This is of value for homes and businesses in noisy areas or for offices and conference rooms where privacy is desired.

Tires filled with SF6 will deflate more slowly due to the large molecule size. SF6 is used as a medical-contrasting agent for ultrasound imaging.  Its microbubbles in solution are injected in vein. These microbubbles make blood vessels more visible to ultrasound. Retina surgery uses an SF6 tamponade in the form of a bubble.



Further Specifications

Cylinder Sizes

  • Plasma etching prior to chemical vapor deposition (CVD)
  • Test gas in respiratory physiology
  • Insulating medium for a wide range of high voltage electrical and electronic equipment
  • Ultrasound contrast media
Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5
Purity 99.9% 99.99% 99.999%
Nitrogen < 40 ppmv < 5 ppmv
Oxygen < 10 ppmv < 2 ppmv
Air (N2+O2) < 400 ppmv
CF4 < 100 ppmv < 15 ppmv < 5 ppmv
Water < 8 ppmv < 8 ppmv < 2 ppmv
Acidity (HF) < 1 ppm/w < 0.5 ppm/w < 0.1 ppm/w
Chemical & Physical Properties
Molecular Weight 146.05 cu.ft/lb
Specific Volume 2.65 cu.ft/lb
Pressure @ 70º F 23.5 psig
Valve Outlet CGS 590 DISS 716
Shipping Information
DOT Name Sulfur Hexafluoride
Hazard Class 2.2
DOT No. UN 1080
DOT Label Green, Non-flammable gas
CAS no. 2551-62-4
Cylinder Size Fill Weight (lb)
Tube Trailer 28,000
44L/Size 200 115
16L/Size 80 35
7L/Size 35 18

FAQs about Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6)

Where is Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) found?

Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) gas is not found naturally and only originates from human activities. It has a very long atmospheric lifetime, and it is synthesized by expositing elemental sulfur (crystal solid S8) and elemental fluorine (gas F2) at 300 ºC. When the reaction is complete, SF6 is purified by heating or alkali washing to remove other SxFy gases.

Can you buy Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6)?

Yes, you can buy sulfur hexafluoride gas at Electronic Fluorocarbons. We ship it as a liquid under its own vapor pressure in different cylinder sizes, including 44L/Size 200, 16L/Size 80, and 7L/Size 35.

Is Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) safe?

Sulfur hexafluoride is not toxic, except when exposed to extreme temperatures. However, when breathed in, SF6 can irritate the lungs, causing coughing and shortness of breath. Higher exposures can lead to pulmonary edemas (a build-up of fluid in the lungs), which requires medical treatment. ​​EFC’s culture of safety ensures that sulfur hexafluoride is always handled correctly, safely, and according to industry standards.

**Moisture level guaranteed only when Electronic Fluorocarbons prepares the cylinders.
All concentrations are on a mol/mol basis unless otherwise stated.
Product sold on the basis of total impurities. Individual impurities may vary slightly.

*This gas not available for purchase online.