Triphenylphosphine is a colorless crystalline compound. It is soluble in ethanol, methanol, diethyl ether, benzene, toluene, acetone; almost insoluble in water. Triphenylphosphine is a weak base, it form stable adducts not only with Lewis acids, but with strong acids such as HBr. PPh3 can be easily oxidized up to triphenylphosphine oxide (C6H5)3PO; reaction with halogens results in phosphorane (C6H5)3PX2. It also abstracts sulfur from polysulfide compounds. PPh3 combines with most alkyl halides to give phosphonium salts. Triphenylphosphine binds well to most transition metals, especially those in the middle and late transition metals.
Commercially triphenylphosphine is produced by the reaction of chlorobenzene with phosphorus trichloride and molten sodium:
3C6H5Cl + PCl3 + 6Na --> (C6H5)3P + 6NaCl
Triphenylphosphine is applied:
in making comlexes with transition metals used as a catalysts in laboratory and in chemical industry as well (e.g tetrakis(triphenylphosphine)palladium(0) for Heck reaction; Wilkinson's catalyst for hydrogenation of alkenes and other);
in organic synthesis as a reducing agent (e.g. in Wittig reaction for dimerization of carbonyl compounds);
as an intermediate in preparation of pesticides, epoxy resins hardeners, paints and other industrial chemicals;
to produce pharmaceuticals;