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Title: Hexachloroethane  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Pyrotechnic composition, AN M8, R-110, Molybdenum tetrachloride, United States hand grenades
Collection: Iarc Group 2B Carcinogens, Organochlorides
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


IUPAC name
Other names
Carbon hexachloride, Ethane hexachloride, Perchloroethane
ChemSpider  Y
EC number 200-666-4
Jmol-3D images Image
Molar mass 236.74 g/mol
Appearance colorless crystals[1]
Odor camphor-like[1]
Density 2.091 g/mL at 25 °C
Melting point 183 to 185 °C (361 to 365 °F; 456 to 458 K) sublimes
0.005% (22.2 °C)[1]
Vapor pressure 0.2 mmHg (20 °C)[1]
Main hazards carcinogen
Flash point noncombustible[1]
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
LD50 (Median dose)
4460 mg/kg (rat, oral)
4970 mg/kg (guinea pig, oral)[2]
US health exposure limits (NIOSH):
PEL (Permissible)
TWA 1 ppm (10 mg/m3) [skin][1]
REL (Recommended)
Ca TWA 1 ppm (10 mg/m3) [skin][1]
Ca [300 ppm][1]
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
 N  (: Y/N?)

Hexachloroethane, also known as perchloroethane (PCA), C2Cl6, is a white crystalline solid at room temperature with a camphor-like odor.[3] It has been used by the military in smoke compositions, such as base-eject smoke munitions (smoke grenades).


  • Manufacture 1
  • Applications 2
  • Toxicity 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Hexachloroethane is a byproduct of many industrial chlorination processes.[3] It is currently being manufactured directly in India.[4] The overall reaction is shown below. This reaction occurs stepwise.

C2H6 + 6 Cl2 → C2Cl6 + 6 HCl


Hexachloroethane has been used in the formulation of extreme pressure lubricants. It has also been used as a chain transfer agent in the emulsion polymerization of propylene tetrafluoroethylene copolymer. Hexachloroethane has been used as an anthelmintic in veterinary medicine, a rubber accelerator, a component of fungicidal and insecticidal formulations as well as a moth repellant and a plasticizer for cellulose esters.[3]

Smoke grenades, called hexachloroethane (HCE) smoke or HC smoke, utilize a mixture containing roughly equal parts of HCE and zinc oxide and approximately 6% granular aluminium. These smokes are toxic, which is attributed to the production of zinc chloride (ZnCl2).[5]

Hexachloroethane has been used manufacture degassing pellets to remove hydrogen gas bubbles from molten aluminum in aluminum foundries. This use, as well as similar uses in magnesium, is being phased out in the European Union. It was phased out as early as 1999 in the United States.[4]


Hexachlorethane is not particularly toxic when taken orally,[6] but is considered to be quite toxic by skin adsorption. The primary effect is depression of the central nervous system.[3] The IDLH is given as 300 ppm and the OSHA PEL is 1 ppm (skin).[6] It is reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards #0316".  
  2. ^ "Hexachloroethane". Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health.  
  3. ^ a b c d Snedecor, Gayle (1999). "Hexachloroethane". In Kroschwitz, Jacqueline I. Kirk-Othmer Concise Encylclopedia of Chemical Technology (4th ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 428.  
  4. ^ a b c "Report on Carcinogens, Twelfth Edition, Hexachloroethane" (PDF). NIH. 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  5. ^ "Appendix E: Smoke And Masking Agents" (PDF). Australian Department of Veteran Affairs. December 2003. p. E-3. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  6. ^ a b "Documentation for Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentrations (IDLHs) Hexachloroethane". NIOSH. May 1994. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 

External links

  • US Government Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry ToxFAQs for Hexachloroethane
  • US CDC NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards
  • chemical profile
  • US EPA Hexachloroethane fact sheet
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