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ClF3 - Chlorine Trifluoride

What is Chlorine Trifluoride?

Chlorine trifluoride is an interhalogen compound with the chemical formula ClF3. A severe irritant to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes is chlorine trifluoride. Lung damage can be caused by exposure to this gas. A 30-minute exposure to 400 ppm was lethal to rats. The mechanism whereby metals resist the attack of elemental fluorine or of chlorine trifluoride is not completely understood. It is a powerful oxidiser and if most combustible material comes in contact with chlorine trifluoride it ignites spontaneously.

Other names – Chlorine fluoride, trifluoro – λ3 – chlorane

Table of Contents

Structure of Chlorine trifluoride  – ClF3

Chlorine Trifluoride Structure

Chemical data of Chlorine trifluoride – ClF3

ClF3 Chlorine Trifluoride
Density 1.77 g/cm³
Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass 92.448 g/mol
Boiling Point 11.75 °C
Melting Point −76.34 °C
Chemical Formula ClF3

Physical Properties of Chlorine Trifluoride – ClF3

Odour Pungent odour
Appearance Pale green-yellow color solid
Covalently-Bonded Unit 1
Heavy Atom Count 4
Complexity 8
Solubility Soluble in water

Preparations of Chlorine Trifluoride – ClF3

Chlorine trifluoride prepares the direct actions of chlorine and fluorine gases. It may also be prepared by the reaction of ClF and Chlorine gases.  

Cl2 + 3F2  →  2ClF3

ClF + F →  ClF3

ClF3 is one of the most reactive and aggressive compounds. It catches fire spontaneously with wood and must building materials- even asbestos. It was used in incendiary bombs in World War II

Chemical Properties of Chlorine Trifluoride – ClF3

    • Chlorine Trifluoride dissolves in water forms hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen chloride and oxygen. The chemical equation is given below.

ClF3 + 2H2O → 3HF + HCl + O2

    • Chlorine Trifluoride reacts with uranium forms Uranium hexafluoride and an interhalogen compound chlorine fluoride. The chemical equation is given below.

U + 3ClF3 → UF6 + 3ClF

Uses of Chlorine Trifluoride – ClF3

  • Chlorine trifluoride is used as a fluorinating agent. It may be used as an igniter and propellant in rockets.
  • Used in nuclear fuel processing.
  • Used as a fluorinating agent, incendiary, igniter and propellant for rockets, in nuclear reactor fuel processing, pyrolysis inhibitor for fluoro carbon polymers.
  • Used in nuclear fuel processing to convert uranium into gaseous hexafluoride uranium.

Frequently Asked Questions-FAQs

1. Is chlorine trifluoride illegal?

Chlorine trifluoride is a highly reactive compound. It was used in incendiary bombs in World War II so that the compound has been banned under the chemical weapons convention.

2. How do you store chlorine trifluoride?

Chlorine trifluoride can be stored in metals like steel, copper, aluminum, etc. It forms a thin film of insoluble metal fluoride that protects the bulk of the metal, just as the invisible coat of oxide on aluminum keeps it from burning up in the atmosphere.

3. What is the geometry of chlorine trifluoride?

Chlorine Trifluoride (ClF3) represents a Trigonal bipyramidal geometry. In this compound there are three bond pairs of electrons and two lone pairs of electrons. So a total of five pairs of electrons represent trigonal bipyramidal geometry.

4. Can chlorine trifluoride burn water?

The larger amounts of chlorine trifluoride undergo hydrolysis in presence of water which results in violent and exposure in a thermal burn. Exposure of chlorine trifluoride liquid or gas, ignites living tissue.

5. What Colour is chlorine trifluoride?

Chlorine trifluoride in gaseous form appears colorless and in liquid form appears green with a pungent odour.

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