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A volatile liquid with a characteristic odor. Chloroform was synthesized in 1831 by Liebig and Soubeiran. It was first used as a general anesthetic in 1847 by Sir James Simpson, a physician in Edinburgh. Chloroform is a good Solvent for fats, oils, Rubber, waxes, and resins. It has been used as a cleaning fluid, refrigerant, degreaser, Insecticide, and Fumigant.

Synonyms and Related Terms

trichloromethane; trichlormethane (sp); methane trichloride; formyl chloride


  • Carcinogen.
  • Toxic by inhalation, ingestion and skin absorption.
  • Nonflammable.
  • Chloroform can decompose when exposed to heat, moisture and UV light forming highly toxic fumes (phosgene, chlorine gas and hydrogen chloride).
  • Reacts violently with bases, oxidants and some metals (e.g.,aluminium, lithium, magnesium, potassium, sodium), causing fire and explosion hazard. Attacks plastic, rubber and coatings.
  • ThermoFisher: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Miscible in ethanol, ether, benzene, carbon disulfide. Slightly soluble in water.

Composition CHCl3
CAS 67-66-3
Melting Point -63.5 C
Density 1.485 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 119.4
Refractive Index 1.4422
Boiling Point 61.2 C


Properties of Common Solvents

Resources and Citations

  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 186
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993 Comment: bp=61.2C, mp=-63.5C
  • 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 2193; bp=61-62C, mp=-63.5C; ref. index= 1.4422
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: ref. index= 1.444

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