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A nonmetallic halogen element. Chlorine has an abundance of 0.031% in the earth's crust (Halite, sylvite, Carnallite) and 1.9% in seawater (chloride salts). It was discovered in 1774 by Carl Wilhelm Scheele and recognized as an element by Sir Humphrey Davy in 1810. Chlorine exists at room temperature as a greenish-yellow gas with a suffocating odor. It was used as a poisonous gas in World War I called Bertholite. Chlorine is used for bleaching paper pulp, as a germicide in water, and for the synthesis of numerous organic compounds.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Cl; dephlogisticated marine gas; oxygenized muriatic acid gas; Bertholite; Chloor (Ned.); chlore (Fr.); Chlor (Deut.); cloro (It., Port., Esp.); Klor (Sven.)


  • Noncombustible.
  • Corrosive.
  • Toxic by inhalation.
  • Contact will burn skin and tissues.
  • Strong oxidizing agent. Dangerous with organic compounds.
  • Airgas: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in water, chlorides and alcohols.

Composition Cl (atomic no. 17)
CAS 7782-50-5
Melting Point -101.00 C
Molecular Weight atomic wt = 35.453
Boiling Point -34.05 C

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 188
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 2145
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Susan E. Schur, Conservation Terminology: A review of Past & Current Nomenclature of Materials, Technology and Conservation, Spring (p.34-39); Summer (p.35-38); Fall (p.25-36), 1985
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979

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