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Carbon Tetrachloride

Carbon tetrachloride is an organic chemical that is commonly used as a solvent. It is also called tetra chloromethane and is composed of molecules that have one carbon atom and four chlorine atoms bonded together in the shape of a tetrahedron. It is made by combining elemental chlorine with simple carbon compounds like methane or carbon disulfide. It is a liquid at room temperature, with a freezing point of -9.4°F (-23°C) and a boiling point of 170.6°F (77°C). Carbon tetrachloride dissolves other organic materials such as oils, fats, and grease very well. This property makes carbon tetrachloride very useful for cleaning manufactured parts. Carbon tetrachloride was once used heavily in the dry-cleaning industry. Use in that industry has declined because it is toxic when inhaled or absorbed through the skin, and it is no longer used in products for the home. Since carbon tetrachloride is a good solvent, it is used to dissolve things like oils, fragrances, and colors from flowers and seeds. Carbon tetrachloride is not flammable, so it can be used in fire extinguishers or as an additive to make other chemicals nonflammable. It is also very useful as a raw material in synthesizing larger, more complicated organic compounds. Because of the health hazards of long-term exposure to carbon tetrachloride, it should only be used where there is adequate ventilation present.

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