Both sodium borohydride and lithium aluminium hydride are common reducing agents in organic chemistry. Then can these reducing agents be applied in inorganic chemistry? I mean, for example, reducing acidified potassium dichromate, an inorganic compound.

  • $\begingroup$ NaBH4 and LiAlH4 are themselves both inorganic compounds, so yes, they can react with inorganic compounds. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 6:31

1 Answer 1


In the case of sodium borohydride (which is more compatible with aqueous solutions), applications are known involving metal reduction. A few examples:

Precious metal recovery/recycle

Silver and platinum group metals are reducible from water-soluble salts using sodium borohydride. Initially the method was used for recovering silver from thiosulfate solutions used for photographic fixing; the application has now spread to recovery of "most precious metals". See Medding and Lander[1].

Wastewater treatment/Metal recovery

Sodium borohydride reduction can be used to remove certain heavy metals from wastewater, including copper. See Sithole et al. [2].

Ceramic nanomaterials

The reduction of cobalt chloride solution with sodium borohydride under controlled conditions yields $\ce{Co2B}$ powder with particle sizes 20-100 nm. See Jianming et al.[3].


  1. G.L. Medding, J.A. Lander, "Applications for sodium borohtdride in precious metal recovery and recycle", Editor(s): E.D. Zysk, Precious Metals 1981, Pergamon, 1982, Pages 3-10, ISBN 9780080253923, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-025392-3.50007-7.

  2. N T Sithole, F Ntuli and T Mashifana (2018). "The Removal of Cu (II) from Aqueous Solution using Sodium Borohydride as a Reducing Agent". IOP Conf. Ser.: Earth Environ. Sci. 120 012022. DOI 10.1088/1755-1315/120/1/012022.

  3. Jianming Lu, D.B. Dreisinger, W.C. Cooper (1997). "Cobalt precipitation by reduction with sodium borohydride", Hydrometallurgy 45(3), 305-322, ISSN 0304-386X, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-386X(96)00086-2.


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