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Colorless, chlorinated hydrocarbon with an ether-like odor. Tetrachloroethylene (TCE) was first prepared by Faraday in 1921. It is currently used as a dry-cleaning solvent and as a vapor-degreaser for metals. TCE is a suspected carcinogen.

Synonyms and Related Terms

TCE; tetrachloroethene; ethylene tetrachloride; perchloroethylene; Perclene; Vaclene [DuPont]

Chemical structure


Physical and Chemical Properties

Miscible in ethanol, ether, chloroform, benzene. Insoluble in water.

Composition Cl2C:CCl2
CAS 127-18-4
Melting Point 22 C
Density 1.6230 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt.= 165.83 .
Refractive Index 1.5055
Boiling Point 121 C


  • Irritating to eyes and skin.
  • Potential carcinogen.
  • Dangerous to the environment.
  • Nonflammable, but may decompose in the presence of flames or UV light to form toxic fumes (phosgene, hydrogen chloride).
  • ThermoFisher: SDS

Resources and Citations

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Hermann Kuhn, Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art and Antiquities, Butterworths, London, 1986
  • Rosalie Rosso King, Textile Identification, Conservation, and Preservation, Noyes Publications, Park Ridge, NJ, 1985
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • 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 9332; ref. index=1.5055
  • 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=1.504