Trichloroethylene - C2HCl3

What is Trichloroethylene?

Trichloroethylene is a clear, colorless mobile liquid with an odour similar to ether with the chemical formula C2HCl3.

Trichloroethylene was first prepared in 1864. It is man-made and does not occur naturally in the environment. Trichloroethylene emissions can occur principally from three sources, production, transportation and consumption. It can also be released to the environment through evaporation from adhesive glues, paints, coatings and other chemicals and during their production.

IUPAC Name – Trichloroethene

ClCH=CCl2 Trichloroethylene
Density 1.46 g/cm³
Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass 131.4 g/mol
Boiling Point 87.2 °C
Melting point -73 °C
Chemical Formula C2HCl3

Trichloroethylene Structure – C2HCl3


Trichloroethylene Structure – C2HCl3

Physical Properties of Trichloroethylene – C2HCl3

Odour Chloroform-like odour
Appearance volatile, colourless liquid
Viscosity‎ 0.53 mPa·s at 25 °C
Surface tension ‎28.7 dyn/cm
Solubility Insoluble in water, Soluble in most organic solvents.

Chemical Properties of Trichloroethylene – C2HCl3

    • Trichloroethylene undergoes combustion reaction forming carbon dioxide, water and chlorine.

4 C2HCl3 + 9 O2 → 8 CO2 + 2 H2O + 6 Cl2

Uses of Trichloroethylene – C2HCl3

  • Used in anaesthesia for its analgesic properties, which are effective at low concentrations of the drug.
  • Used as a solvent to remove grease from fabricated metal parts and some textiles.
  • It is also used as an ingredient in adhesives, paint removers, typewriter correction fluids and spot removers.
  • Used as a supplementary agent during nitrous oxide and oxygen anaesthesia.

Frequently Asked Questions

What products have Trichloroethylene?

Often used in some household products is trichloroethylene, such as cleaning wipes, aerosol cleaning products, vacuum cleaners, paint removers, spray adhesives, and carpet cleaners and stain removers. Additionally, industrial dry cleaners use trichloroethylene as a stain remover.

How dangerous is Trichloroethylene?

People who are over-exposed to moderate amounts of trichloroethylene can experience headache, dizziness and sleepiness; large amounts of trichloroethylene can cause coma and even death. Some people who breathe high trichloroethylene levels can cause damage to some of the facial nerves.

What is Trichloroethylene commonly known as?

Trichloroethylene the chemical compound is a halocarbon widely used as an industrial solvent. It is a transparent non-flammable, sweet smelling oil. This should not be confused for the related 1,1,1-trichloroethane, generally known as chlorothene. Trichloroethene is called IUPAC.

What is Tetrachloroethylene used for?

Tetrachloroethylene is used as a dry cleaning agent and a solvent to degrease metals. It is also used for producing other chemicals as starting material (building block) and is used in some consumer goods.

What is TCE found in?

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is used as a solvent in the manufacture of a number of products to degrease metal components. In consumer products, it can be found like some wood finishes, adhesives, paint removers and stain removers. TCE can also be used in other chemical manufacturing.

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