F. Sherwood Rowland discoverer of CFC propellants

F. Sherwood Rowland – discoverer of CFC propellants

Article on F. Sherwood Rowland

Biography & contributions

F. Sherwood Rowland, an American chemist and Nobel laureate was born on June 28, 1927 – died on March 10, 2012. Rowland best known for his research works on atmospheric chemistry, chemical kinetics and chlorofluorocarbons.

Rowland received many awards and medals in his life time like Tolman medal in the year of 1976, Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement in the year of 1983, Japan prize in the year of 1989, Peter debye award in the year of 1993, Albert Einstein world award of science in the year of 1994, Roger revelle medal in the year of 1994, and prestigious Nobel Prize in chemistry field in the year of 1995.

Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)

Chlorofluorocarbon is an organic compound that contains carbon, chlorine, and fluorine, produced as a volatile derivative of methane and ethane. Commercial names of these chlorofluorocarbons around the world are Algofrene, Arcton, Asahiflon, Daiflon, Eskimo, FCC, Flon, Flugene, Forane, Fridohna, Frigen, Frigedohn, Genetron, Isceon, Isotron, Kaiser, Kaltron, Khladon, Ledon, Racon, Ucon, and dichlorodifluoromethane (R-12 or Freon-12).

The 5 main CFCs include CFC-11 (trichlorofluoromethan), CFC-12 (dichloro-difluoromethan), CFC-113 (trichloro-trifluoroethane), CFC-114 (dichloro-tetrfluoroethane), and CFC-115 (chloropentafluoroethane).

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are a family of chemical compounds developed back in the 1930's as safe, non-toxic, non-flammable alternative to dangerous substances like ammonia for purposes of refrigeration and spray can propellants.

History of chlorofluorocarbons

The invention of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the late 1920s and early 1930s stemmed from the call for safer alternatives to the sulfur dioxide and ammonia refrigerants used at the time, CFCs found wide application after World War II.

In 1928, Thomas Midgley, Jr. aided by Charles Franklin Kettering invented a "miracle compound" called Freon.

Chloroflourocarbons were first created in 1928 as non-toxic, non-flamable refrigerants, and were first produced commercially in the 1930's by DuPont. The first Chlorofluorocarbon was CFC-12, a single carbon with two chlorines and two Fluorines attached to it.


Trichlorofluoromethane is a chemical that has industrial uses such as refrigeration. The chemical is a chlorofluorocarbon and is detrimental to the ozone layer. Therefore, the uses and production of trichlorofluoromethane is restricted in many countries. It is also known by such names as Freon-11, Refrigerant-11, and Arcton 9.

All trichlorofluoromethane in use eventually makes its way into the atmosphere as a gas and thereby affects the ozone layer. It is also soluble in water up to a concentration of 0.145 percent.

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