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Colorless liquid with a chloroform odor. Trichloroethylene has been used as a solvent for fats, oils, waxes, resins, Rubber, plastics, paints, and varnishes. It was widely used for degreasing and dry-cleaning, but by 1990 its usage was banned in many states.

Chemical structure


Synonyms and Related Terms

trichloroethene; 1,1,2-trichloroethylene; ethylene trichloride; westrosol; Tri-Clene [DuPont]; Trethylene; Chlorylene;


  • Nonflammable but decomposes with heat to produce toxic fumes.
  • Potential carcinogen.
  • Toxic by inhalation.
  • Usage prohibited in some states.
  • Skin contact causes irritation.
  • Millipore Sigma: MSDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Miscible with organic solvents. Insoluble in water.

Composition CHCl:CCl2
CAS 79-01-6
Melting Point -73 C
Density 1.456-1.462 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt.= 131.4
Refractive Index 1.4735
Boiling Point 86.7 C

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 303
  • Reed Kay, The Painter's Guide To Studio Methods and Materials, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1983
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 9769; ref. index=1.4735
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: ref. index=1.475

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