Carbon Tetrachloride

Carbon tetrachloride, also known by various names such as carbon-Tet and tetrachloromethane, is a non-flammable, colourless liquid with a "sweet" chloroform-like smell. It was once widely used in fire extinguishers, as a precursor to refrigerants, and as a cleaning agent but has since been phased out due to environmental and safety concerns. Exposure to high concentrations of carbon tetrachloride can affect the central nervous system and degenerate the liver and kidneys. Prolonged exposure can be fatal.

The carbon tetrachloride molecule has four chlorine atoms positioned symmetrically as corners in a tetrahedral configuration joined to a central carbon atom by single covalent bonds. This symmetric geometry makes it non-polar, making it suitable for dissolving other non-polar compounds such as fats and oils. It can also dissolve iodine and is volatile, giving off vapors with a smell characteristic of other chlorinated solvents.

Solid tetrachloromethane has two polymorphs: crystalline II below −47.5 °C (225.6 K) and crystalline I above −47.5 °C. At −47.3 °C, it has a monoclinic crystal structure with space group C2/c and lattice constants a = 20.3, b = 11.6, c = 19.9 (.10−1 nm), β = 111°. With a specific gravity greater than 1, carbon tetrachloride will be present as a dense nonaqueous phase liquid if sufficient quantities are spilled in the environment.


Despite being generally inert, carbon tetrachloride can undergo various reactions. Hydrogen or an acid in the presence of an iron catalyst can reduce carbon tetrachloride to chloroform, dichloromethane, chloromethane, and even methane. When its vapours passed through a red-hot tube, carbon tetrachloride dechlorinates to Tetrachloroethylene and hexachloroethane. When treated with hydrogen or an acid in the presence of an iron catalyst, carbon tetrachloride dechlorinates to Tetrachloroethylene and hexachloroethane.

When a mixture of carbon tetrachloride and carbon dioxide is heated to 350 degrees C, it gives phosgene. A similar reaction with carbon monoxide instead gives phosgene and tetrachloroethylene. Reaction with sulfur trioxide gives phosgene and pyrosulfuryl chloride. Reaction with phosphoric anhydride gives phosgene and phosphoryl chloride.

Carbon tetrachloride reacts with dry zinc oxide at 200 degrees Celsius to yield zinc chloride, phosgene, and carbon dioxide. The history and synthesis of carbon tetrachloride date back to 1820 when Michael Faraday synthesized it using the protochloride of carbon method. Henri Victor Regnault developed another method to synthesise carbon tetrachloride from chloroform, chloroethane, or methanol with excess chlorine in 1839. Kolbe made carbon tetrachloride in 1845 by passing chlorine over carbon disulfide through a porcelain tube. Prior to the 1950s, carbon tetrachloride was manufactured by the chlorination of carbon disulfide at 105 to 130 °C before being mainly produced from methane.

What is the CAS Number of Carbon Tetrachloride?

The CAS Number of Carbon Tetrachloride is 56-23-5

What is the Molecular Formula of Carbon Tetrachloride?

The Molecular Formula of Carbon Tetrachloride is CCl4

What is the Molecular Mass of Carbon Tetrachloride?

The Molecular Mass of Carbon Tetrachloride is 153.82

What is the SMILES Notation of Carbon Tetrachloride?

The SMILES Notation of Carbon Tetrachloride is ClC(Cl)(Cl)Cl

What is the InChI Notation of Carbon Tetrachloride?

The InChI Notation of Carbon Tetrachloride is InChI=1S/CCl4/c2-1(3,4)5

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