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The chlorination of methane
proceeds through a radical mechanism. Like most radical mechanisms there
are three steps: initiation, propagation and termination.
The chlorination of methane does
not necessarily stop after one chlorination. It may actually be very
hard to get a monosubstituted chloromethane. Instead di-, tri- and even
tetra-chloromethanes are formed.
Methylene dichloride ,
chloroform , and carbon tetrachloride are three basic products of
methane chlorination and are produced by high temperature gas phase
chlorination of methane or methyl chloride.
Chloroform is also known as
trichloromethane or methyltrichloride. It is a colorless liquid with a
pleasant, nonirritating odor and a slightly sweet taste. Most of the
chloroform found in the environment comes from industry.
Chloromethane is used almost
entirely as a chemical intermediate to make other chloromethanes,
silicone intermediates, pesticides, quaternary amines and surfactants,
and as a methylation reactant for various other processes. It is also
used as a solvent for production of butyl rubber.
Methane chlorination reactions
proceed by a multi-step series of exothermic reactions which are
stabilized in a con ned jet con guration where reactants are typically
introduced at temperatures well below the minimum activation
The Conventional method of
producing chlorinated methanes involves the reaction of methane with
chlorine gas. For each substitution of a chlorine atom into the methane
molecule, one molecule of hydrogen chloride is produced.
dichloromethane (CH2C12), tricloromethane (CHC13), and
tetrachloromethane (CC14) are produced on a scale of approximately 2
million tons per year and used as intermediates in chemical synthesis
and as industrial solvents.
Chloromethanes can be divided
into two categories; either the lower- or higher chlorinated methanes,
based on the distinct behaviour patterns in their biodegradability.
Demand for methylene chloride on
the export market had been steadily increasing since January, producers
said, which had pushed prices to levels some had not previously
Globally, about 90-95% of the
chloroform is used as a precursor for HCFC-22, which is used in
refrigerants and fluoropolymers such as polytetrafluoro-ethylene (PTFE).
Carbon tetrachloride is used as
a chemical intermediate and as a feedstock in the production of
chlorofluorocarbons, such as the Freons dichlorodifluoromethane and
trichlorofluromethane , which are used primarily as refrigerants.
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