# Carbon Tetrachloride: Symbol, Structure, Uses, Formula (2023)

• Written By Umesh_K

Carbon Tetrachloride: Carbon Tetrachloride is a synthetic chemical and does not occur naturally in the environment. It is produced by chlorinating low molecular weight hydrocarbons such as carbon disulfide, methane, ethane, propane, or ethylene dichloride, and by thermally chlorinating methyl chloride. Carbon tetrachloride is a precursor to chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases in aerosol propellants.

## What is Carbon Tetrachloride?

Carbon tetrachloride is the most important tetrahalogen derivative of alkanes. Carbon tetrachloride is an organic compound with a chemical formula $${\text{CC}} {\text{l}}_ {\text{4}}$$. The IUPAC name of carbon tetrachloride is tetrachloromethane. Carbon tetrachloride is a colorless oily liquid with a sticky smell.

Previously, carbon tetrachloride was widely used in fire extinguishers, as a refrigerant precursor, and as a cleaning agent but has since been phased out because of toxicity and safety concerns. Carbon tetrachloride, including its vapour, is toxic to the nervous system and can degenerate the liver and kidneys. Prolonged exposure can be fatal.

### Formula of Carbon Tetrachloride

The atomic number of Carbon is $$6$$, and its configuration is $${\text{1}} { {\text{s}}^ {\text{2}}} {\text{2}} { {\text{s}}^ {\text{2}}} {\text{2}} { {\text{p}}^ {\text{2}}}$$ and its valency is $$4$$.

Chlorine with atomic number $$17$$ has the configuration of $${\text{1}} { {\text{s}}^ {\text{2}}} {\text{2}} { {\text{s}}^ {\text{2}}} {\text{2}} { {\text{p}}^ {\text{6}}} {\text{3}} { {\text{s}}^ {\text{2}}} {\text{3}} { {\text{p}}^ {\text{5}}}$$ with valency $$1$$.

To acquire the electronic configuration of noble gas, Carbon needs $$4$$ electrons, whereas chlorine needs $$1$$ electron. Thus, Carbon requires four chlorine atoms for both carbon and chlorine atoms to have a stable octet configuration. Each chlorine atom shares one electron with Carbon. As a result, the formula for carbon tetrachloride is $${\text{CC}} { {\text{l}}_ {\text{4}}}$$.
The structural formula is

### Molar Mass of Carbon Tetrachloride

The mass of a molecule is equal to the sum of the masses of all the atoms that make up the molecule is known as molecular mass. For example, we know that carbon tetrachloride is a molecule. It is made up of $$1$$ carbon atom and $$4$$ chlorine atoms.

Hence the molecular mass of carbon tetrachloride is.

The molar mass of Carbon is $${\text{12}}\, {\text{g/mol}}$$.

The molar mass of chlorine is $${\text{35.45}}\, {\text{g/mol}}$$.

Hence molar mass of the whole molecule is

$$({1 \times 12}\, {\text{g/mol}}) + ({4 \times 35.45}\, {\text{g/mol}})$$

$${\text{=153}} {\text{.8}}\, {\text{g/mol}}$$.

### Carbon Tetrachloride is Polar or Non-polar

Four chlorine atoms are symmetrically positioned as corners in a tetrahedral arrangement in the carbon tetrachloride molecule, connected to a central carbon atom by single covalent bonds. Because of this symmetric geometry, $${\text{CC}} { {\text{l}}_ {\text{4}}}$$ is non-polar.

### Preparation of Carbon Tetrachloride

Carbon tetrachloride can be prepared on an industrial scale by the following methods.
1. From methane: The chlorination of methane prepares carbon tetrachloride in the presence of sunlight.

2. From carbon disulfide: The action of chlorine can obtain carbon tetrachloride on carbon disulfide in the presence of aluminum chloride as a catalyst.

### Properties of Carbon Tetrachloride

The properties of carbon tetrachloride are given below:

#### Physical Properties

1. Carbon tetrachloride is a heavy colourless liquid.
2. $${\text{CC}} { {\text{l}}_ {\text{4}}}$$ is not very soluble in water. The solubility of carbon tetrachloride in water at $$25$$ degrees Celsius is only $$1$$ gram per litre. However, it should be noted that this compound is soluble in a wide range of organic solvents, including chloroform, benzene, alcohols, ethers, and formic acid.
3. It is a common laboratory and industrial solvent for non-polar materials such as oils, fats, and resins.
4. This organic compound has a standard molar entropy of $$214.42$$ Joules per mole Kelvin.
5. It is non-combustible.
6. The density of this compound is $$1.5867$$ grams per cubic centimetre.
7. Carbon tetrachloride forms a monoclinic crystal lattice.
8. This chemical has a tetrahedral coordination geometry. This chemical also has a tetrahedral molecular structure. In this scenario, the carbon atom is the most important.

#### Chemical Properties of Carbon Tetrachloride

1. Reduction: Carbon tetrachloride on reduction with moist iron fillings gives chloroform.
$${\text{CC}} { {\text{l}}_ {\text{4}}} {\text{ + 2H}}\xrightarrow[{{\text{Moisture}}}]{ { {\text{Fe}}}} {\text{CHC}} { {\text{l}}_ {\text{3}}}$$
2. Hydrolysis: In the presence of steam, carbon tetrachloride gives phosgene.

3. Carbon tetrachloride reacts with hydrogen fluoride in the presence of catalyst $${\text{SbFC}} { {\text{l}}_ {\text{4}}}$$ as follows:

### Uses of Carbon Tetrachloride

It was mostly used to make chlorofluorocarbons, which were used in refrigeration before the 1980s. Additionally, it was used as a cleaning agent and a component of fire extinguishers. However, because of the health risks associated with this molecule as well as the considerable environmental harm caused by chlorofluorocarbons, various nations have phased out its use. On the other hand, this chemical is known to have a variety of different applications, some of which are described below.

1. It is used to show watermarks on stamps without causing any damage to the stamp.
2. In a named process known as the Appel reaction, carbon tetrachloride is employed as a chlorine source.
3. $${\text{CC}} { {\text{l}}_{\text{4}}}$$ has been utilized in proton NMR spectroscopy in the past.
4. The chemical carbon tetrachloride was also utilized in the production of lava lamps.
5. The chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants $${\text{R-11}}$$ (trichlorofluoromethane) and $${\text{R-12}}$$ (trichlorofluoromethane) were made with huge amounts of carbon tetrachloride (dichlorodifluoromethane).

### Carbon Tetrachloride Poisoning

Carbon tetrachloride is a highly toxic hepatotoxin that can harm the liver severely. This chemical can also damage the central nervous system in high enough quantities (CNS). Exposure to $${\text{CC}} { {\text{l}}_{\text{4}}}$$ for long periods frequently results in death or unconsciousness. This substance has also been related to cancer and renal impairment in people who have been exposed to it.

A carbon tetrachloride vapour exposure can induce irregular heartbeats or can cause heart attack. Bringing it into contact with the eyes may cause irritation. Bringing it into contact with the environment may also be detrimental. Whenever carbon tetrachloride is released into the atmosphere, it rises to the top and destroys the ozone layer. The ozone layer’s depletion increases human exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which may lead to an increase in skin cancer, eye diseases and disorders, and immune system disruption.

### Summary

From this article, we can conclude that Carbon tetrachloride is a synthetic chemical and does not occur naturally in the environment. Nevertheless, it has many industrial applications. Also, excess use of this chemical causes a hazardous effect on health.

### FAQs on Carbon Tetrachloride

Let’s look at some of the commonly asked questions about Carbon Tetrachloride:

Q.1. What is the shape of carbon tetrachloride?
Ans: The shape of the carbon tetrachloride is Tetrahedral.

Q.2. What is the molar mass of carbon tetrachloride?
Ans: The molar mass of carbon tetrachloride is $${\text{153}} {\text{.8}}\, {\text{g/mol}}$$.

Q.3. What is carbon tetrachloride used for?
Ans:

a. It is used in large quantities in the manufacture of refrigerants and propellant.
b. It is used as a feedstock in the synthesis of chlorofluorocarbons (freons).
c. It is utilized as a solvent in the pharmaceutical industry.
d. It is used as a solvent for oils, fats, waxes, etc.
e. It is used as a fire extinguisher under the name pyrene.

Q.4. How dangerous is carbon tetrachloride?
Ans:
The reasons as to why carbon tetrachloride is harmful is:
1. Exposure to carbon tetrachloride vapours can make the heartbeat irregularly or even may stop it. When brought in contact with the eyes, it may irritate the eyes.
2. It also has damaging effects on the environment. When carbon tetrachloride is discharged into the atmosphere, it rises to the top of the atmosphere, destroying the ozone layer. The ozone layer’s depletion increases human exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which may lead to an increase in skin cancer, eye diseases and disorders, and immune system disruption.

Q.5. What is the common name of carbon tetrachloride?
Ans: The common name for carbon tetrachloride is tetrachloromethane.

Q.6. What type of compound is carbon tetrachloride?
Ans: Carbon tetrachloride is an organic compound.

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Last Updated: 04/24/2023

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