The mechanism of reaction Cl-2+2HBr=2HCl+Br-2 has been carefully investigat
ed with density functional theory (DFT) at B3LYP/6-311G** level. A series o
f three-centred and four-centred transition states have been obtained. The
activation energy (138.96 and 147.24 kJ/mol, respectively) of two bimolecul
ar elementary reactions Cl-2+HBr --> HCl+BrCl and BrCl+HBr --> HCl+Br-2 is
smaller than the dissociation energy of Cl-2, HBr and BrCl, indicating that
it is favorable for the title reaction occurring in the bimolecular form.
The reaction has been applied to the chemical engineering process of recycl
ing Br-2 from HBr. Gaseous Cl-2 directly reacts with HBr gas, which produce
s gaseous mixtures containing Br-2, and liquid Br-2 and HCl are obtained by
cooling the mixtures and further separated by absorption with CCl4. The re
covery percentage of Br-2 is more than 95%, and the Cl-2 remaining in liqui
d Br-2 is less than 3.0%. The paper provides a good example of solving the
difficult problem in chemical engineering with basic theory.