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What happened in this reaction?

Question asked by Natasha Pfeiffer on Sep 26, 2019

Today I witnessed the reaction of dbu and bromotrichloromethane. It was not expected for the reaction to proceed the way it did and I need some help figuring out what happened. After the dbu was added the color changed slightly to a yellow then with a little more swirling of the flask turned to a darker red. Then, something happened within the compound and black and grey smoke started emitting violently and the entire compound turned to a thick black sludge.  Also, the reaction proceeded slowly at first and then the rate increased significantly and was done within probably 30 seconds. This was all done at 25°C. The reaction was exothermic and the vial was very warm to the touch. 

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