Methylene Chloride - A sweet sinister solvent

May 08, 2020

Are you worried that your decaf coffee is contaminated? Or how are you supposed to remove the grease from the plant equipments without spillage?  The answer is here. Methylene Chloride is a colourless, non flammable, volatile, heavy liquid with a pleasant ethereal odour. Its outstanding solvent properties are the basis of its principal industrial interest. It is produced almost exclusively by the chlorination of lesser chlorinated methane’s along with co-products chloroform and carbon tetrachloride.

It has many industrial applications because of its high volatility and ability to dissolve solvents.

AEROSOL PRODUCTS: It is commonly used in aerosol products like spray paints because of the following properties:

  • Strong Solvent

  • Flammability Suppressants

  • Vapour Pressure Depressants

  • Viscosity Thinner

Since METHYLENE CHLORIDE is non-flammable and is a rapid drying time solvent, it’s superlative in aerosols because its low boiling point (40 degrees C) gives it fast drying properties and its ability to vaporise at room temperature are immense for adhesive aerosols. There are still dangers associated with aerosol products as Methylene Chloride is considered a highly toxic substance and carcinogen, when used in large quantities. Inhalation is the most common form of exposure and can cause a variety of health risks, from dizziness to carbon monoxide poisoning. In extreme circumstances Methylene Chloride exposure is fatal. 

PAINT STRIPPING: METHYLENE CHLORIDE’s high volatility allows it to dissolve a wide range of organic compounds. Its aggressive solvency allows it to penetrate the layers of the paint, which causes them to swell. This increases volume and creates internal strains. 

DEGREASING: METHYLENE CHLORIDE is also proficient at removing oil, grease and other contaminants from most surfaces & equipments. Because of its low boiling point (104. 2 degrees F) and an excellent dissolving property it is ideal for degreasing temperature sensitive parts and stripping equipments from contaminants. Methylene Chloride is also used in vapour degreasing.

DECAFFEINATION: METHYLENE CHLORIDE’s powerful solvent action and stability is used in the extraction of naturally occurring heat sensitive substances such as fats, butter, caffeine and cocoa because the solubility of caffeine in Methylene Chloride is 140 mg/ml which is six times greater than compared to water.

PHARMACEUTICAL: Methylene Chloride is used in the production of many antibiotics and vitamins. It is also used in the extraction of several pharmaceutical compounds. The chemical also has been used as a carrier for pharmaceutical tablet coating for which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established residue tolerances.

ELECTRONICS: METHYLENE CHLORIDE is used for the production of printed Circuit boards in the electronics industry.

PHOTOGRAPHIC FILMS: METHYLENE CHLORIDE is used as solvent in production of CTA, [Cellulose Triacetate] which is created when cellulose reacts with acetic acid. The Cellulose acetate in then dissolved in METHYLENE CHLORIDE, which eventually begins to evaporate. 

BLOWING AGENT: METHYLENE CHLOIRDE is used as an auxiliary blowing agent in the production of polyurethane foams for furniture and bedding industry. It expands the foam, reducing its density without making it stiff or rigid. 

From the Aerosol Products to Caffeine Extraction to Blowing Agent and to every chemical process in between, METHYLENE CHLORIDE is perhaps the most widely used organic solvent. It is also the most sweet – smelling: a disguise for its sinister undertones.

Other Related Blogs