Tetrachloroethylene - C2Cl4

What is Tetrachloroethylene?

Tetrachloroethylene is a volatile chlorinated organic hydrocarbon that is widely used as a solvent with the chemical formula C2Cl4. It is non-flammable liquid at room temperature, evaporates easily into the air and has a sharp sweet odour. Tetrachloroethylene, introduced in 1925, replaced the more toxic carbon tetrachloride as the standard drug for the treatment of infection with chlorine. Tetrachloroethylene is used as the displacement liquid because of its desirable rate of evaporation, which allows excellent control of the evaporation step.

Other names – Tetrachloroethene, Perchloroethylene, Perchlorethylene




1.62 g/cm³

Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass

165.83 g/mol

Boiling Point

121.1 °C

Melting Point

-19 °C

Chemical Formula


Tetrachloroethylene Structure – C2Cl4

Tetrachloroethylene Structure

Physical Properties of Tetrachloroethylene – C2Cl4


Ethereal odour


Clear colourless volatile liquid

Covalently-Bonded Unit


Heat capacity

146 J/(mol K) at 25°C




Soluble in water

Chemical Properties of Tetrachloroethylene – C2Cl4

  • Tetrachloroethylene dissolves in water forms dichloromethane and oxygen. The chemical equation is given below.
  • C2Cl4 + 2H2O → 2CH2Cl2 + O2

  • Tetrachloroethylene reacts with base like sodium hydroxide resulting in the formation of formic acid and sodium chloride.
  • 4NaOH + C2Cl4 → 2HCO2H + 4NaCl

Uses of Tetrachloroethylene – C2Cl4

  • Tetrachloroethylene is used primarily as a cleaning solvent and as a chemical precursor for fluorocarbons.
  • It is an anthelmintic used chiefly in the treatment of hookworm infestation.
  • Used in transformers, paint removers, inks, adhesive formulations, paper coatings and leather treatments as an insulating fluid and cooling gas in aerosol formulations.
  • Used commercially important chlorinated hydrocarbon solvent and chemical intermediate in the production of chlorofluorocarbons.

Practise This Question

Which of these occur due to condensation?

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