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




1.46 g/cm³

Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass

131.4 g/mol

Boiling Point

87.2 °C

Melting point

-73 °C

Chemical Formula


Trichloroethylene Structure – C2HCl3


Physical Properties of Trichloroethylene – C2HCl3


Chloroform-like odour


volatile, colourless liquid


0.53 mPa·s at 25 °C

Surface tension

‎28.7 dyn/cm


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.

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