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Tetrachloroethylene (CAS Number: 127-18-4)is a chlorocarbon with the chemical formulaC2Cl4. It is a colorless, nonflammable, volatile liquid with a sweet odor. Tetrachloroethylene is also known as tetrachloroetheneor perchloroethylene. Its vapors are heavier as compared to air. Industries buy tetrachloroethylene for dry cleaning, degreasing and drying processes as well as synthesis of other chemicals.



Tetrachloroethylene can be synthesized through the thermal decomposition of hexachloroethane.

C2Cl6 → C2Cl4 + Cl2

Tetrachloroethylene is synthesized by chlorinolysis of light hydrocarbons at high temperature. The other products from this reaction are hydrogen chloride, carbon tetrachloride and hexachlorobutadiene. It can also be produced by heating 1,2-dichloroethaneto 400 °C with chlorine.

ClCH2CH2Cl + 3 Cl2 → Cl2C=CCl2 + 4 HCl

The reaction is catalyzed by activated carbon or by a mixture of aluminium chloride and potassium chloride. One of the other major products obtained i.e. trichloroethylene is separated through distillation.



Industries buy tetrachloroethylene for use as a solvent in organic materials. Tetrachloroethylene suppliers supply the chemical to the dry-cleaning industry. Industries such as automotive and other metal working industries buy tetrachloroethylene to degrease metal parts. Consumer product industries buy tetrachloroethylene for use in paint, spot removers and aerosols. Tetrachloroethylene suppliers supply the chemical for textile processing andmanufacture of fluorocarbons.



Tetrachloroethylene has low to moderate toxicity. It is a central nervous system depressant, which can enter the body through dermal or respiratory exposure. Tetrachloroethylene can dissolvefats from the skin and result in skin irritation. There is a high risk of developing Parkinson's disease from prolonged or repeated exposure. At higher temperaturestetrachloroethylene can get oxidizedto phosgene, which is a highly poisonous gas. Industries that buy tetrachloroethylene must be aware of the toxic effects of it. Tetrachloroethylene suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and factory employees must adhere to the material safety data sheet of the chemical.


Environmental Effects 

This chemical compound is a soil contaminant in the form of a dense non-aqueous phase liquid, owing to its greater specific gravity. It contaminates ground water due to its mobility in groundwater and greater density, which eventually makes it sink below the water table level. The clean up process is more tedious as compared with oil spills. It primarily contaminates the atmosphere with its degradation products such as phosgene, hydrogen chloride and carbon monoxide. Tetrachloroethylene suppliers, consumers and end users must safely handle and dispose the compound.


Handling and Storage

Personal protective equipment must be worn by the manufacturing plant employees. The chemical must not come in contact with skin, eyes or clothing. Adequate ventilation should be provided for the chemical. Ingestion and inhalation should be avoided. Storage containers should be tightly closed in a dry and cool place away from sunlight. Tetrachloroethylene suppliers, distributors, manufacturers, wholesalers and end users must handle this chemical with caution.


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