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CN gas

Phenacyl chloride
Identifiers
CAS number 532-27-4 YesY
PubChem 10757
ChemSpider 10303 N
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Properties
Molecular formula C8H7ClO
Molar mass 154.59 g mol−1
Density 1.324 g/cm3
Melting point

54-56 °C, 327-329 K, 129-133 °F

Boiling point

244.5 °C, 518 K, 472 °F

Solubility in water insoluble
Hazards
MSDS Oxford MSDS
EU classification T
NFPA 704
1
3
0
Flash point 88 °C
 N (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Phenacyl chloride is a substituted acetophenone. It is a useful building block in organic chemistry. Apart from that, it has been historically used as a riot control agent, where it is designated CN.

Preparation

Phenacyl chloride is readily available commercially. It may be synthesized by the Friedel-Crafts acylation of benzene using chloroacetyl chloride, with an aluminium chloride catalyst:[1]

Riot control agent

It was investigated, but not used, during the First and Second World Wars.

Because of its significantly greater toxicity,[2] it has largely been supplanted by CS gas. Even though CN is still supplied to paramilitary and police forces in a small pressurized aerosol known as “Mace” or tear gas, its use is falling as pepper spray both works and disperses more quickly than CN.

The term "Mace" came into being because it was the brand-name invented by one of the first American manufacturers of CN aerosol sprays. Subsequently, Mace became synonymous with tear-gas sprays in the same way that Kleenex has become strongly associated with tissue papers (a phenomenon known as a genericized trademark).

Like CS gas, this compound irritates the mucous membranes (oral, nasal, conjunctival and tracheobronchial). Sometimes it can give rise to more generalized reactions such as syncope, temporary loss of balance and orientation.[2] More rarely, cutaneous irritating outbreaks have been observed and allergic contact permanent dermatitis.[3]

At high concentrations CN has caused corneal epithelial damage and chemosis. It has also accounted for at least five deaths, which have resulted from pulmonary injury and/or asphyxia.[4]

References

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